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Can Mercury retrograde affect your skin too?

An increasing number of people believe that the movements of the planet and other astrological phenomena can impact your complexion

There are a lot of things that can be blamed on Mercury retrograde: technology going haywire, misunderstandings with friends, run-ins with exes – basically anything to do with travel, tech or communication is supposedly scrambled when the messenger planet goes into retrograde. But what about your skin? Is it possible that the movements of the planet can have an impact on your complexion as well?

Kristian Morrison believes that they do. The 31-year-old, who works as cabin crew for British Airways, has always been interested in astrology but became particularly so when he realised the effects Mercury retrograde was having on his skin. “I’ve experienced the stresses of Mercury retrograde many times over the years,” says Morrison.

“I’m usually very upbeat and take good care of my skin, but I was breaking out, feeling tired with prominent dark under eye circles and kept forgetting things. It was only when I realised that all of these periods were in Mercury retrograde that I realised what was going on.” Morrison now books spa days and facials during Mercury retrograde to keep his skin in check, alongside a diligent skincare routine.

It’s not just Mercury retrograde that people are keeping track of when it comes to their beauty regimens. Angie Chalmers is a mindfulness expert who incorporates the cycles of the moon into her skincare routine, especially the new moon. “The new moon signifies new beginnings and will supercharge the results that you would like to see with your skincare,” she says. “Anything that exfoliates and renews the skin is perfect; so cleansers, scrubs, peels and masks are a great choice.”

In the two weeks leading up to the full moon, Chalmers turns focus to facial oils. “This phase is all about manifestation, so from this I have seen plumper, softer, more youthful skin,” she explains. Then when the moon is full, it’s time to amplify your skincare with serums and hydrating masks. Since syncing her routine to the lunar cycle, Chalmers says she has seen an improvement. “My skin is clearer and feels fresher. I suffer from a sluggish thyroid and skin dryness, but I have seen a dramatic improvement in my moisture levels.”

As well as Mercury and the moon, Katey Nicosia, astrologist at Stellia Astrology, warns of the impact Pluto can have on your skin. “Pluto in your birth chart rules toxicity, and can point to deep tissue impurities that are well below the surface of the skin, which will eventually need to be exposed,” she says. “Pluto rules the depths, but it also wants to bring the depths to the light.” So if a spot or blemish is especially bothering you, she suggests it could be a case of Pluto being present in your birth chart. 

Some believe that Venus could also be having an effect. Astrologist Ruth Nahmias says Venus is the planet of beauty and thus influences factors such as skin clarity, radiance and texture. “When it comes to physical beauty, Venus is the most important indicator, albeit not the only one that can imply attractiveness; the moon, the sun, Mars (particularly for men); and Neptune are also significant,” she says.

When Venus goes into retrograde, Nahmias says you should watch out. “Venus can wreak havoc on beauty treatments in its retrograde (the next one begins in July 2023), and I would advise against beauty treatments too during the Mars retrograde (October 30 to January 12, 2023), given that the planet rules over surgical procedures,” Nahmias says.

Aesthetic nurse Dawn Attewell, however, disagrees and recommends speaking with a qualified skin specialist if you have any concerns with treatments or procedures. “They will be able to answer all your questions and create a treatment plan for your concerns.” She says there is no evidence linking skin concerns to astrology, and advises against switching up your skincare routine to fit with the movements of the moon and stars.

Emma Coleman, aesthetic and dermatology RGN and clinic director of Emma Coleman Skin, also says that she doesn’t believe good skincare results come from the planets. “I don’t follow astrology, but whether you do or not, it’s always important to maintain a good skincare routine, including cleansing twice daily, avoiding UVA and UVB light unless you’re wearing SPF and a hat, and applying a day and night time moisturiser, as well as facial massage.” 

While the majority of medical experts would probably agree with Coleman, there are some who have combined science with astrology. Dr Mariano Spiezia is a doctor of medicine, homeopath and founder of skincare brand Inlight Beauty. He believes that by re-tuning yourself with nature, you re-tune yourself to your own inner beauty and manifest youth.

“Using the lunar cycle reminds us that our skin cells too have a cycle, and that we need to focus on regenerating and replenishing” – Angie Chalmers

The Supreme Face Serum Treatment from Inlight Beauty includes four vials of serum that work to detox, replenish, nourish and impart a lasting glow to the skin over the course of a moon cycle. It’s recommended to begin using the serum the day after a full moon and to continue use through a full lunar cycle, as Dr Spiezia believes that there is an other-worldly connection between the 28 day lunar cycle and the 28 day skin cell cycle.

“In the past, the link between women and nature was a sound part of our culture,” says Dr Spiezia. “Just as the moon takes 28 days to go around the earth, a woman’s menstrual cycle is approximately 28 days too. This also reflects on our skin with its 28 day renewal cycle, during which the epithelial cells regenerate from the epidermis’ deepest layer, to replace those that form the skin surface. During this time you can expect to see ongoing changes in skin tone, hydration and absorption, as new skin cells are born, age and die.”

It’s this idea of a cycle, and the connection between the lunar cycle and the skin cycle, that Chalmers finds particularly profound as well. She finds it helps not only with the health of her skin but also with staying present. Almost like a meditation. “Using the lunar cycle reminds us that our skin cells too have a cycle, and that we need to focus on regenerating and replenishing,” says Chalmers. “It serves as a boost not only to what I do to my actual skin, but also for my mindset, and helps me to feel more connected to myself, to the products and to my skincare routine.”