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Skin Care and Hygiene


InnerMonk

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Hi I am genuinely wondering if monks and nuns are allowed to use skin care inside the monastery? 
 

I’m a person that is very passionate about skin health and hygiene. And I’m planning on entering the monastery as I have been feeling a calling for quite a while now. 
 

When I enter the monastery, would I still be allowed to use products such as cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and even body lotions?  

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I hope I do not sound flippant - ask them. There is no reason, in itself, why a religious cannot use such products, but I can imagine a possibility that, in austere communities, at best one might have to have family provide them. Some just might think that more than soap is a violation of poverty. 

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12 minutes ago, gloriana35 said:

I hope I do not sound flippant - ask them. There is no reason, in itself, why a religious cannot use such products, but I can imagine a possibility that, in austere communities, at best one might have to have family provide them. Some just might think that more than soap is a violation of poverty. 

You think they wouldn’t mind if I ask them? I’m afraid that they might see me as superficial and only caring about such things. 
 

And yes that’s why I’m asking, because I feel like some will think that more than soap is a violation of poverty. I do see some monks use hair products to keep their hair looking neat and clean though so isn’t that the same as skin care to some extent?

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The use of expensive products might well be seen as a violation of poverty. As for family paying for them, most gifts are also turned over to the community, and so being singled out with such gifts will likely also be a no-no.  Finally, depending on the community, the desire to have a distinctive regimen like this might be seen as a challenge to humility, and even a violation of obedience or chastity.

I would ask if you were willing to give up such things. Religious life involves sacrifice and, to some extent, "death to self." If you are not, that may be an indication that this is not your path.

On the other hand, many communities (though not usually enclosed ones) provide members with personal allowances. If you were to spend such funds on personal care items, that would probably be okay. However, these funds usually don't start until after profession.

 

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I doubt it in most orders., Only for a medical condition such as a very dry skin.  But asking for special skin care products for no good reason is not really in keeping with poverty. IMHO. 

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I would echo the advice just to ask them. Nuns and monks have heard all kinds of questions from discerners, so I doubt a question like this would shock them! 

That being said, it seems unlikely that a monastery would be open to its members having a fancy, expensive, time-consuming, or complicated skin care regimen. But I think something like a "drugstore" brand gentle facial cleanser (as opposed to normal soap) and a simple moisturizer would be a more realistic request, especially if you have issues with dry or oily skin. 

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2 hours ago, GraceUk said:

I doubt it in most orders., Only for a medical condition such as a very dry skin.  But asking for special skin care products for no good reason is not really in keeping with poverty. IMHO. 

I do have eczema though, so if I don’t moisturize regularly I will get bad flare-ups and scaliness. :( 

53 minutes ago, Sponsa-Christi said:

I would echo the advice just to ask them. Nuns and monks have heard all kinds of questions from discerners, so I doubt a question like this would shock them! 

That being said, it seems unlikely that a monastery would be open to its members having a fancy, expensive, time-consuming, or complicated skin care regimen. But I think something like a "drugstore" brand gentle facial cleanser (as opposed to normal soap) and a simple moisturizer would be a more realistic request, especially if you have issues with dry or oily skin. 

Yeah it would seem that it all depends on the community. So I guess the best course of action for me is to ask the vocation director where I am applying at. 

3 hours ago, Nunsuch said:

The use of expensive products might well be seen as a violation of poverty. As for family paying for them, most gifts are also turned over to the community, and so being singled out with such gifts will likely also be a no-no.  Finally, depending on the community, the desire to have a distinctive regimen like this might be seen as a challenge to humility, and even a violation of obedience or chastity.

I would ask if you were willing to give up such things. Religious life involves sacrifice and, to some extent, "death to self." If you are not, that may be an indication that this is not your path.

On the other hand, many communities (though not usually enclosed ones) provide members with personal allowances. If you were to spend such funds on personal care items, that would probably be okay. However, these funds usually don't start until after profession.

 

Yeah I guess I do need to ask about personal allowances too if they do give those.

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Now you've explained about your Eczema Im sure all communities would want to allow you the products to keep it at bay. It's a medical  skin condition. So it wouldn't be vanity. You have my permission!

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15 hours ago, InnerMonk said:

Hi I am genuinely wondering if monks and nuns are allowed to use skin care inside the monastery? 
 

I’m a person that is very passionate about skin health and hygiene. And I’m planning on entering the monastery as I have been feeling a calling for quite a while now. 
 

When I enter the monastery, would I still be allowed to use products such as cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and even body lotions?  

I was in a community that was, shall we say, "semi contemplative." Not cloistered but the apostolate was not external to the convent. Definitely a monastic setting. 

Sisters with acne were given the Proactiv regimen. As a postulant I was surprised as that wasn't something I could have afforded out in the world. However it could have been donated. And, truthfully, acne can be a painful and even disfiguring condition. That particular community spared no effort or expense in caring for its members' health. 

 

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19 hours ago, InnerMonk said:

When I enter the monastery, would I still be allowed to use products such as cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and even body lotions?  

The Olay Regenerist Whip with SPF25 is quite nice.

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15 hours ago, InnerMonk said:

Yeah it would seem that it all depends on the community. So I guess the best course of action for me is to ask the vocation director where I am applying at.

Sounds like a good idea. And as you may notice from the change of tone in this thread once you mentioned your eczema: You should tell them that you need this for health reasons. If a vocation director thinks you may have an obsession with your looks they may well raise an eyebrow and ask you about that. But to care for you body in order to keep it healthy is a different subject and likely to be less controversial.

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16 hours ago, GraceUk said:

Now you've explained about your Eczema Im sure all communities would want to allow you the products to keep it at bay. It's a medical  skin condition. So it wouldn't be vanity. You have my permission!

Yes it is because I’ve had eczema my entire life why I became so passionate about skin care. 
 

I do however use vitamin serums as well so that might raise some eyebrows.

13 hours ago, Lilllabettt said:

I was in a community that was, shall we say, "semi contemplative." Not cloistered but the apostolate was not external to the convent. Definitely a monastic setting. 

Sisters with acne were given the Proactiv regimen. As a postulant I was surprised as that wasn't something I could have afforded out in the world. However it could have been donated. And, truthfully, acne can be a painful and even disfiguring condition. That particular community spared no effort or expense in caring for its members' health. 

 

Oh wow a Proactiv regimen? That’s insanely expensive. Way expensive than what I use. That’s so cool that they take care of their members even to that extent. 

1 hour ago, Dymphna said:

Sounds like a good idea. And as you may notice from the change of tone in this thread once you mentioned your eczema: You should tell them that you need this for health reasons. If a vocation director thinks you may have an obsession with your looks they may well raise an eyebrow and ask you about that. But to care for you body in order to keep it healthy is a different subject and likely to be less controversial.

Yes I do agree it is a different subject. I don’t consider it as an obsession or vanity. I believe that we must take utmost care of the health of our body and skin because it is a gift from God. 

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:) It may be obvious that I'm used to a 'hand to mouth' existence. I didn't even realise I assumed you were referring to either cheap products or to dealing with a skin condition. 

By all means, ask (and be specific.) Vocation directors have heard it all. 

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