SKINCARE: THE SKINNY

I’m going to preface this by saying I’m not a scientist, a dietician, or a beautician. The only claim I have here is personal experience, though of that I have plenty: I’ve tried many lotions and potions in my quest for good skin, and if you missed my previous post, you can read about what I’m currently using here. However,  determining the ideal products for topical application to your skin is only the beginning. Good skin isn’t something that can easily be achieved by treating the surface: you have to tackle it from the inside out, too. Remember, the skin is an organ of the body, the largest organ, and it’s as affected by our overall health as much as any other organ.

Today, I’m going to be sharing the five tips I’ve found have made a huge difference to the overall condition and health of my skin and which have left me feeling and looking better, both on the outside and on the inside.

1. Find the skincare products that work for you.
This is pretty much going to be a trial and error scenario, but if you read around blogs and websites and look at the kind of skin type and skin problems people had before starting and which products they eventually ended up settling with, you’ll have a good basis on which found your search.

2. Remember that nutrition is terribly important.
I’m not saying you can’t eat a slew of sweets and burgers and have the skin of a goddess, I’m just saying it’s going to be easier to keep your skin in good condition if your diet is in good order. Eating lots of candy won’t cause breakouts, but it’s rare that someone eats a lot of candy and eats a lot of “good” foods, too. If you’re trying to keep your weight in a particular bracket, you can only eat so many calories per day, and if you’re spending a large proportion of them on sweets and chocolate, there’s no room left for things like carrots, avocado, pine nuts, and other nutrient-rich but high-calorie foods.

You don’t have to ditch the sweets, but you do have to make sure you’re eating and drinking the right things, too. Lots of water is good for you, and green tea –if you can stomach it– is a great detoxifier, too. My top faves include Carrots, Spinach, Avocados, Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts: packed with vitamin E (for antioxidizing protection), Iron (for blood quality and circulation), and Vitamin C (for collagen) these foods are pretty tasty and are full of the right stuff to make you glow from the inside out. (Add a few Spring Onions and a sprinkling of low-fat cheese to all of the above for excellent, tasty salad.)

3. Beauty sleep is honestly a thing: get some.
I hate sleeping. I’ve had chronic insomnia since early childhood. I remember my mother falling asleep as she read to me when I was about four, and taking the book from her to do the reading myself when she became too tired to continue… At about one or two in the morning. Sleep isn’t something that comes readily to me, and I feel like it’s a stupid waste of time, anyway– who wants to be unconscious when there are books to read, programs to watch, and people to chat with? Not me, that’s for damn sure.

But in recent years, I’ve noticed something: mornings where I wake up having had at least seven hours of sleep (as opposed to four, five, or six), I looked a lot better. My eyes were brighter, eye bags were reduced, and my skin looked plumper and firmer and just generally better than nights where I’d only glanced my head against the pillows before leaping out again. The old adage about “beauty sleep” isn’t just bunk; sleep allows the body to repair itself– and that includes skin, too. Getting a good night’s sleep will help the quality and appearance of your skin, so even if it is annoying, it’s not a complete waste of time.

4. It’s not that you can’t cleanse too much, it’s just that you can also cleanse too little.
It’s tough finding the balance between cleansing too much (which sends your skin into oil-production overdrive) and too little (which allows bacteria to build around the skin and promotes spots). It is important to do this, though, and once you do determine the optimal regime for cleaning your skin, that you don’t allow yourself to fall out of it.

For me, this means cleansing morning and night, regardless of how exhausted I am at any given time. If I skip even one cleansing session, I can see the difference in my skin, and believe me, it’s not a positive change. Figure out what works for you, and don’t let laziness, business, or anything short of nuclear apocalypse keep you from it.

5. Strive for balance, always.
Sunshine and fresh air are important, but you need to use good sunscreen. Exercise is super for your skin, but you should always cleanse as soon as possible afterwards. Touching your skin can spread bacteria, but lymphatic massage can work wonders. I try to get one long walk a day, but I wear sunscreen if it’s sunny or I’m going to be out for longer than a half hour. I always perform a little massage on my neck area, particularly around the jaw and ears, when I’m cleansing my face– but I always make sure my hands are clean first, and I try (but mostly fail) not to touch my face otherwise. The massage has actually really helped my skin, I think, and it’s something others might want to look into if they struggle with the same kind of deep-rooted acne troubles that I have in the past.

I don’t think there’s anything new or surprising in this list. I wish I had magic cures that would allow for late nights and junk food and generally being a lazy butt, but I don’t. The trouble is, good skin is like any other achievement in life: unless you’ve been naturally blessed, achieving it takes damn hard work, and requires it daily.

It is, however, achievable, and that’s something I really want to stress. My skin was in ribbons a year ago: a hot mess of deep spots, blackheads, flaky patches and general dullness. I won’t pretend that I could grace the pages of Vogue without requiring the application of a ton of foundation and hours of Photoshop, but I no longer feel like I have to cover up my skin at all times to avoid looking terrible. Most days, I don’t even bother with foundation, and my use of concealer has reduced dramatically over the last year, and isn’t round-the-clock beauty what everyone’s aiming for?

Do you have any tips to share about what you’ve done to improve your skin? Was all of this old hat to you, or did you pick up anything new or useful? Do you even consider skincare to be an important part of your beauty routine? Drop me a line and let me know!
-A-

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: