Skincare Lessons Learned In Silence

By Minji

  • In silence on my most recent retreat, I found myself relearning, and at times newly discovering, skincare lessons
  • Sleep, clean eating, peace of mind, maskitation sessions were all included
  • I came back from six days of silent retreat with a clear mind, shining heart and my best skin ever!

At the beginning of this year, I returned from another annual silent mediation retreat.  This time it was for six days – a tad bit shorter than what I would’ve ideally wanted but still divine and profound. 

Each retreat continues to surprise me with how differently I perceive the experience and the different lessons I bring back from each. This one was marked with lightness, freedom and delight. 

Instead of diving deep into life’s most complex questions or issues of ardent meaning and value, I found myself simply relishing in the peace, quiet, and light joy of each day. I even found myself relearning, and at times newly discovering, core skincare lessons.

First, I realized how important undisturbed quality sleep really is for your skin.  A typical silent meditation schedule looks like the above – for this one, I was going to bed around 9:30-10:00pm and arising at the ring of a bell around 6am each morning.  Basically, averaging eight to eight and a half hours of solid sleep each night uninterrupted by harsh alarm clocks, TV light or cell phones. My skin looked better with each night of rest.

Second, what a difference a week of clean eating can make!  The retreats that I go to include very humble vegetarian meals.  An example would be oatmeal with stewed fruit for breakfast, spinach salad and lentil soup with a wheat roll for lunch, then a Buddha bowl for dinner (brown rice, steamed veggies and grilled tofu topped with tahini-tamari sauce). 

No coffee is offered but a tea bar with all sorts of detoxifying and antioxidant teas like green tea, chamomile, ginger, mint tea is available 24/7.  On top of this, I try to stay away from simple sugar, carbs and dairy as much as possible.  A week of this shows you, we are what we eat!

Third, peace of mind and mediation can also do wonders for not just your mind and heart but also your skin.  As you can see in the schedule above, each day, besides meals and sleep time, you’re alternating between sitting and walking meditations and listening to a wisdom/dharma talk each night that feeds your soul.  After a while, you have moments where you feel as calm as you ever have, and your inner state is reflected in a relaxed face and radiant complexion.

Fourth, because stillness and mindful movement is encouraged, it’s easier to leave bad skincare habits behind such as scrunched up angry face, apologizing with your face, touching your face, leaning on your face, etc. You’re also constantly taking deep breaths and actively working on relaxing the muscles in your entire body, including your face, so RBF becomes a thing of the past.  The only thing is you want to make sure to stretch out your body and move it around once in a while for good circulation too since you're sitting so much.

Lastly, every night you have the time and leisure to engage in a blissful maskitation session!  I made sure to bring a facial sheet mask for each night I would be on retreat and had a 20-minute maskitation session after dinner and my nighttime ritual.  In the real world, it’s almost impossible to find time to do this every night but on retreat, the world is your skincare oyster!

I came back from six days of retreat with a clear mind, shining heart and my best skin ever.  Who knows, my next retreat could be very different, but with all these benefits, I’m already eagerly looking forward to the next journey. 

It’s a very personal decision, but if you ever decide to give yourself the gift of retreat, make sure you remember these tips and take some facial masks and skincare tools with you to maximize your inner and outer glow!