I’m lucky to have good genes. Without getting real scientific or technical, I think good genes are the foundation or blueprint for what goes on in your life as you age. Now how you handle your life, as in choices you make in regards to living, yes, and that includes your emotional/psychological constitution, all weigh in on how we age and our quality of life. Having lived a while, these are just my 10 ways to better skin.
More than once I’ve been told that I have great skin. I even once won a contest at the age of 44, wow, that was really young, sponsored by Oil of Olay, called “I Keep Getting Better”—sent in a photo, wrote a brief essay on why I thought I was ‘getting better’, then boom, I was in New York City doing a photo shoot for Ladies Home Journal magazine on two occasions! I’m sure my skin had something to do with that because I look at that photo today that I submitted, and I even see some really healthy skin.
It’s never too late to start taking better care of your skin and focusing on keeping it healthy. I mean your skin is the largest organ in your body, so it’s important to pay attention to it. I’m really happy to give you some of my tips—maybe you already do some of these things, maybe not. I do believe these things work—it’s a slow steady ‘working’—you won’t see it overnight or instantly, but, in time, I believe you’ll notice subtle changes. None of this seems to work individually—it’s a collective effort. So here you go~
1. Sun. Since about my early 20s, way before the damaging effects of the sun, those nasty UVA and UVB rays, was documented and advertised, I decided that my sun worshipping days were over. Yes, I had been one of those 16 year old teens that baked in the sun, got nasty sunburns and blistered and peeled, and even slathered baby oil with iodine in it on myself and laid on aluminum foil ‘beds’ to get more baked and ‘gloriously’ tanned. Disgusting, huh? Thanks goodness, I saw the light!
I wear sun block 365 days year. Yes, even on cloudy and rainy days. I put on a ball cap or wide brimmed hat when outdoors biking, walking, gardening and things like that. I’m a shade seeker—if we’re at an outdoor café put the umbrella up and give me some shade. If the umbrella’s up, I want the chair in the shady part of the table.
2. Smoking. Yep, a huge culprit in prematurely aging the skin. For some reason, a stroke of luck in my life, I never had an urge to smoke. Oh, yes, I tried, but it just felt awkward—I mean I looked at others with smoke coming from their nostrils and thought that just doesn’t look appealing and even holding a cigarette made me feel like some kind of imposter. And, keep in mind that I grew up during the era when smoking was cool—cigarette ads peppered the media and all the ‘beautiful’ people were puffing. Thank goodness to me it was totally unattractive and just looked like dragons blowing smoke from their nostrils! Plus, the smell~oh, not groovy.
I don’t think it’s ever too late to stop or cut back. Smoking takes its toll on your skin (and so many other things in your body). There’s plenty of science behind this—no need to go into it here—I suppose I’m vain—healthy vibrant beautiful skin is more important to me than the allure of the cigarette.
3. Water. Flushing toxins out of your body with water also helps everything run better inside—from circulation to hydration—gulp, gulp gulp. I even keep bubbly water beside my bed—yes, even during the night I’ll turn over, grab that bottle of bubbly (I prefer over ‘flat’ water.) and guzzle a few swigs. Then throughout the day, I’ve got my bottled bubbly by my desk, in the kitchen, on my bike, when I’m walking—basically, most all the time ‘reminding’ me to drink drink drink.
4. Exfoliate. We’re always shedding skin cells. Our face, neck and decollate are areas that benefit from a little buffing on a regular basis. Not only does it get rid of those dead cells but it stimulates the collagen production, which is a good thing. I use over-the-counter hand held battery operated facial buffers. I have one made by Neutrogena and another made by Oil of Olay. They’re kept in my shower and about four or more times a week, I’ll put a squeeze of some facial cleansing soap (very important because your facial/neck skin is delicate and body soaps aren’t the best) on them and give myself about a 3 minute or more facial—it’s gentle, only subtly ‘abrasive’ and my skin’s glowing when I step out of the shower!
5. Exercise. It seems like a given that you should know the immense benefits of exercise—everything from blood pressure, heart health to cholesterol levels. But, if you aren’t aware, exercise is fabulous for your skin! I especially notice pretty dramatic effects after yoga classes where I’ve done inversions, getting more blood to my brain and head, and, yes, my skin.
6. Sleep. When I don’t get a good restful at least 7-8 hours sleep, boy it shows on my face! And, it’s reflected in my skin. It just doesn’t have that ‘glow’—there’s almost a ‘grey’ish’ haze. Sleep is so important for the skin’s time to repair itself, so don’t burn that midnight oil—next day, you could very well show your age!
7. Food. OK, this is another one that’s a big ‘given’ because of today’s media—you put junk and processed foods in your body on a regular basis, and your skin’s going to show the effects as much as your tush and waistline. The vitamins and minerals that come from fresh vegetables, fruits and unprocessed foods directly impact the health of your body’s largest organ—your skin. You can have your breads, pastas and sweets. You can have your meats. Just make sure you have double or triple the fruits, veggies and seafood.
8. Skincare Products. Many of today’s products, those found in drugstores and at the cosmetics counters at retail stores, are really good. Then there are the specialty skincare products that you might find at a dermotologist’s office or through a spa. Do your research. Learn about the products and what the certain ingredients, like retinol, are designed to do for your skin and its health. Then make your decision and stick to a dedicated regime. Don’t go to bed unless you’ve cleansed and treated your face/neck and chest area. Now, I’m not going to name brands I use because these work for me, and they might not be best for you—I do use a combination of brands both over-the-counter and specialty. And, oh, yes, I do use a very good Vitamin C serum on my face.
9. Facials. Pamper Yourself. Start putting spare change in a jar and save for a twice a year professional facial. It’s worth the pampering. Plus, it really is like a simonizing car wax/detailing for your facial areas. Professionally trained estoticians know their craft and they can be of huge value to you.
10. Medical Treatments. We live in an age now that safe laser treatments and other things have been developed to improve the skin, its elasticity, collagen production and more. Then there are other procedures including fillers and botox—all of these things are personal decisions that you make based upon your needs and what you can afford and want to do. Finding the best facilities, well-trained and experienced medical professionals is paramount. Don’t go to a witch doctor just because they’re cheap. And, all of these type decisions are totally yours and your medical support team to make.