The student-generated news site of Mount Saint Joseph Academy

The Campanile

The student-generated news site of Mount Saint Joseph Academy

The Campanile

The student-generated news site of Mount Saint Joseph Academy

The Campanile

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The Beauty Industry Exploits Mental Health

How the media is preying on your insecurities
The+Beauty+Industry+Exploits+Mental+Health
Annika Bhadra

During COVID 19, everyone’s mental health was in turmoil. Isolation and the general state of the world deeply affected those who lived in it. But now that the pandemic has ended, people are looking for solutions to improve their lives. So people turned to what was claiming to help us: big companies and influencers that claimed a miracle product would cure the state of our mental health. 

So we scrolled through Tik Toks giving us tips on how to be happier people, watched YouTube videos on how to do skincare, and downloaded countless apps and spent ridiculous amounts of money on products just because we thought doing all of these rituals was “self care.”

However, today we are so focused on doing our “self care” that we never stop to ask ourselves whether or not all of these routines are actually helping us, or worse, actually harming our mental health. 

Today, so many corporations know that people want to take care of their mental health, so they market countless products as “self care” items. They convince consumers that they need to pay fifty dollars for some beauty product in order to feel relaxed in the morning, or that they need to pay $8.99 a month premium for some hypnosis app that they have been convinced helps their mental health. 

The truth is, that is not the case at all. These companies just want to make a profit. When I visited my dermatologist, she brought up multiple companies like Philosophy that actually use toxic ingredients that do not have the intention of improving your skin. They do not care about how you view yourself or the state of your mental health, they just want your money. 

But if all of these methods and scams aren’t actually helping us and our mental health, then what does? 

In all honesty, taking care of yourself can be as simple as spending time with people who make you happy, as well as making sure you go outside. 

“I like hanging out with those I feel good around or reading a book, going on a walk, talking to my brother, and being around my family and friends,” said Ally Demeter ‘26 truly reminding us that we are products of our environments, so we must be careful in selecting who we spend our time with and how we spend our time, because it can alter our mood. Spending time with those who make us happy can really brighten our day.

Ally Demeter ‘26 with her family in Walt Disney World.

Another industry that has been branded as “self care” these past few years is the beauty industry. Hundreds of influencers are constantly posting about how you need a new cleanser for perfect skin because it is built off of this idea that having perfect skin will make you happy. But this could not be further from the truth. 

In a Campanile article published in 2023 by Karli Cottom ‘23, she reminds us that having skin that is not perfect is completely normal. 

She states: “I have found that nearly 80% of acne’s victims are teenagers.. This 80% is not made up of millions of strangers- they are your friends, family, and human beings who have suffered silently. Today, myself and some of my friends want to break this silence around skin insecurity, emphasizing that beauty is truly more than skin deep.” 

Karli’s article shows that there are a rare few who have perfect skin, and it goes on to prove that in an attempt to achieve perfect skin, some actually made their skin worse. We are so focused on staring at celebrities on Vogue Beauty Secrets flashing their perfect skin, but that is just not reality.

The people around you in the real world don’t have bucket loads of money like celebrities, so they have normal skin with acne and blemishes and scars. And normal is not a bad thing. If anything, perfect skin does more harm than good to people’s self esteem. 

As Ally Demeter ‘26 states, “One person’s acne doesn’t define them.” Needless to say, the process of achieving perfect skin is described as “self care” but it is really an exhausting attempt that only makes us feel worse about ourselves.

Many of these retailers only want to make money, so products aren’t as shiny as they present themselves to be online. 

Kelly McDonald ‘26 recalls wasting money on a product she thought would improve her skin: “When I was younger I tried this product in an orange bottle that I saw on Tik Tok and it was horribly damaging to my skin and made me break out a lot. It said it would clear my skin, but it definitely did not.” 

This truly goes to show that skincare products seen online don’t always work. Even if it works temporarily, there is so much wear and tear on your skin that some skincare products do more damage in the end. The process of experimenting and trying all of these harsh products only worsen your skin and self esteem at the end of the day.

However, even though these methods of taking care of yourself aren’t always successful, there are plenty of natural and free ways you can care for yourself. A great way to take care of yourself is by exercising and eating the right foods. 

Exercise naturally releases endorphins into your body and reduces anxiety and stress. And eating the right foods or just making sure to eat in moderation is taking care of your body, and therefore taking care of your mind. Any doctor will tell you that not only will this improve your mental health, but your physical health as well, as the whole human body is connected. 

“Hands down, exercise improves your mental health. I didn’t feel great and I went into the pool two days ago and when I came out I felt great,” shares Ava Downey ‘26, who is a dedicated member of the Mount’s swim team. She reminds us that exercising can improve your mental health. 

Ava Downey ‘26 at a swim meet with the Mount swim team.

Exercise can change your whole day. She also shared that staying off of social media also really helps her maintain her mental health, saying, “I always make sure to spend time with myself.” She reminds us that spending time with ourselves is more important than spending time with a filter.

Yet, many have found that social media and people constantly posting their journeys about what “what I eat in a day” or “my daily workout” only makes people feel bad about themselves and their bodies. 

On Instagram, everyone is using filters and editing their abs. Real bodies do not look like that, and it is important to remember that what we see on Instagram is not actually real. 

Kelly McDonald ‘26, also a dedicated member of the Mount swim team like Downey ‘26, reminds us that we have to fuel our bodies and ignore what we see on Instagram. 

“It can make you feel like you’re not getting anywhere. When I was younger I had eating problems and I swam a lot but wasn’t eating enough. Just make sure you’re eating right, going to the gym, and having everything in moderation.” Kelly shares that now she is more aware that she needs protein and energy as a student athlete. 

Kelly McDonald ‘26 making scrambled eggs.

She ensures to eat grilled chicken, eggs, apples, and other foods that fuel her, but she also reminds everyone  to treat themselves. “Sometimes I make myself a sweet little treat. Treat yourself right and hype yourself up.” 

It is important to remember that “self care” literally means taking care of yourself. This means going outside, exercising and moving your body, eating the right foods, and surrounding yourself with people who make you happy. Self care does not have to be an expensive waste of money. Self care can be putting down your screen and trying to tune out all of these companies and influencers that think you need perfect skin to be happy. As Kelly McDonald ‘26 says, “try to better yourself in every way.” 

 

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About the Contributor
Violet Binczewski
Violet Binczewski, Junior Features Editor

Violet Binczewski is a sophomore at the Mount and is so excited to be a part of the Campanile for a second year. She is a published author, with her book “The Ocean and her Shadows” published by Pegasus Publishers. She is a co-founder of the Mount Poet Society, and is also on the staff of The Muse, Mount’s literary magazine. 

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    adviserOct 19, 2023 at 9:55 am

    Such a great piece, Violet. I took a walk after I read it. 🙂

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