• arielprag

low-spoon skin care

skincare + hygiene guide

Skincare is an important aspect of personal hygiene and self-care. It’s also especially important to those with chronic illnesses like Ehlers-Danlos. Spending days in bed or dragging yourself between medical appointments grinds you down mentally and physically. I’ve found that improving my skincare has in turn improved my mental health.

Growing up in a low-income, abusive household, I didn’t learn about how to take care of my skin. Depression and lack of knowledge got the best of me: I regularly slept with makeup on, rarely (if ever) moisturized, almost never used sunscreen. Skincare beyond soap seemed like something reserved for the rich and frivolous. I was so wrong. I’m still learning - I just added toner to my routine!

Of course, I frequently have days where my spoons are so low that I do almost nothing. For that reason I’m starting with a section on how to care for your skin when you’re on 5% battery.

Take my product suggestions with a grain of salt, especially if you have dysautonomia or MCAS! I don't have ultra-sensitive skin like some EDSers/spoonies do, so look at ingredients before buying any product.

Low-Spoon Skincare: Morning
  1. Rise, stretch, and cleanse. A recent purchase that has helped me a lot is getting a facial cleansing brush. I bought the EcoTools pack ($6 at Ulta). This way I can just put some face wash on the wet brush and sit on my bathroom stool while cleansing! Then just rinse. If I really can’t stand, I use a wet cotton round or washcloth to wash off the soap. If you have more cash to spare, the classic Clarisonic or any new iterations are great tools for easy skincare. Some newer products include makeup cleansing brushes – so you just swap out brushes for your entire cleansing routine!

  2. Sun, sun, sun, here it comes. I like to use a moisturizing sunscreen so that I can combine two steps. It’s simple but saves energy (and money!) My go-to is Up&Up 30SPF Morning Moisturizing Lotion ($9.39 at Target). It’s a dupe for CerAve AM moisturizer, which is a whole $13.00.

Dark stone background with white lighting. A collection of 6 skincare items of varying sizes, from left to right: ClariSEA SeaSalt solutions cleanser; up&up (target brand) morning moisturizer; a bright pink handheld facial cleansing brush by EcoTools; a small tube of LAB For You moisturizing cream; a small tube of Vitamin C eye serum by CONTEXT; and Aveeno calming daily facial cleanser.
Left to right: nighttime cleanser, morning moisturizer, night cream, facial cleansing brush, vitamin C eye cream, and my morning face cleanser. Clearing cleanser for before bed, and a gentle hydrating cleanser for mornings.

Low-Spoon Skincare: Night
  1. Are you wearing any makeup? If so, keep some makeup remover wipes by your bed or next to your nighttime medications. If you have a bit more energy for bedtime routines, or prefer a lower-cost solution, store-brand micellar water and cotton rounds will last much longer! Higher initial investment, though. Exfoliating cotton rounds are even better, but be gentler when scrubbing to prevent trauma to the skin. If you have absolutely no spoons, stop here! If you have a bit of energy, keep going. Stop wherever you run out of steam:

  2. Time to brush with the cleansing brush from Morning step 1! If you don’t have one, a washcloth or cotton rounds again are great. I use them because the sink is a bit too high to wash my face while sitting, and using my hands/arms that much when tired isn’t an option.

  3. Option A: Apply a 3-in-1 toner, serum, and moisturizer. I haven't used one yet but I was looking for a combination product to cut down on time and energy expended, and LeeAnnie Eco's ($29) has rave reviews. One of those slightly higher-energy days?

  4. Option B: Dry face and apply serum or toner. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, choose toner to balance pH and gently remove dead skin. You could use higher-end products like a Mario Badescu ($14) or opt for something from simpler ($3.59). If you have drier skin, skip the toner and go for a light moisturizing serum. I have combination skin so I use both on different areas. My favorite serums have Vitamin C, like this $16 one from E.L.F. or this option from Trader Joe's ($10 in-store, more online); if you're willing to splurge a bit, try this one from CONTEXT.

  5. Moisturize. Use whatever moisturizer works for you! It's best to use a more lightweight moisturizer for nighttime so that the pores can breathe. I started using the Lab For You cream that came in my monthly beauty box and it has calmed my skin tremendously! But any moisturizer works when you're low on spoons.

  6. G o t o b e d

I hope this skincare guide helps you achieve a routine and feel worthy of self-care!

If you have any comments or questions, post below or send me a DM on instagram.

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