Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Living Well: Taking Care of Your Skin

In this survey I posted a few months ago, several of you responded asking for more beauty posts, so today's living well post is all about skincare.

I see so many women spending a great deal of time and money carefully selecting a new lipstick, mascara or various shades of eyeshadow but don't spend nearly the same amount of time and effort when it comes to actual skin care. What's interesting is in France, the focus is the opposite. At the age of 18 a young lady's mother will share many details about all of the necessary skin care regimens and the importance of facials and proper skincare products that will take them through their womanhood. Although I'm not French, I was thankful enough to have a mother who took the time to share similar things with me. For her the key was moisturizing and I never forgot it.

Here are 10 Essential Tips for Beautiful Skin

1. Hydrate-To have a beautiful glow on the outside and supple skin, moisture is essential and there is no greater way to ensure that our skin stays hydrated than by drinking water and lots of it. I remember watching an interview with Eva Mendes where she shared that she drinks 2 gallons of water a day! Purified water flushes out toxins, helps regulate your body's temperature and keeps skin looking youthful and vibrant vs. dull and dry, so aim to down at least 64oz per day (8 cups) and even more if you're working out. Invest in a Brita filter or another filtration system to ensure the water you're drinking not only tastes good but is most beneficial for your body-it's also far cheaper than buying bottled water and better for the environment too, grab a stainless steel water bottle and you're good to go!

2. Moisturize-If I had to choose one product I could use every day it would be a great moisturizer to keep skin fresh, soft and hydrated. I'm very selective with skin creams being careful to avoid fragrances and anything with artificial colors. Unfortunately most drug store brands in America contain a lot of chemicals which can often do more harm than good in the toxin department. I highly recommend using natural or organic skin creams that use natural essential oils vs. synthetic ones like mineral oil or petrolatum which comes from petroleum. There are a lot of excellent products available but I am a huge fan of Origins and Avalon Organics because they work and are reasonably priced and pretty easily accessible. After anytime you've washed you face, always moisturize afterwards.

3. Sunscreen- Unfortunately we live in a time when the ozone layer had a huge hole inviting ultra violet rays down onto our delicate skin. It is essential to wear sunscreen when we know we'll be in the sun and even on cloudy, overcast days. Nothing will age you faster than skin that has been damaged by the sun, leaving lines, dark spots and in some cases skin cancer. As with other products, mainstream sunscreens contain a lot of chemicals and ingredients like avobenzone and octymethylcinnamate to name a few which are proving to actually speed up cancer rates long term. What's the alternative? Natural sunblocks are available in the form of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide and yes they do make you skin a bit 'whiter', so what I do when it comes to my face is I mix it with a bit of moisturizer and it works perfectly. The brands I currently use are Badger and Mercola. Also, avoid tanning, opt for a mineral-based bronzer for a hint of color or a natural skin tinting lotion instead.

4. Cleanse Before Bed- When I was a teen, I heard an interesting finding that sleeping with your makeup on at night ages you 7 days for every one day you don't wash it off-yikes! Cleansing before bed is one of the things I've always done religiously even though I don't wear a lot of makeup. First thing in the morning or after a shower I cleanse and moisturize and I repeat this again before bed. If you think about it, you're trapping sunscreen, chemicals, pollution and bacteria on and under your skin as you skin cannot breathe, causing acne and other skin irritations. Did you know that skin does all of it's regenerating and restoration at night while you're sleeping? This is a great time to use an eye cream and let moisturizer soak in.

5. Exfoliating- In order to have smooth, glowing skin, we have to exfoliate a couple times per week. If we don't, dead skin cells built up and can cause skin problems or at the very least, cause our skin to look dull and lack the glow that it could have. Make a habit of exfoliating with a gentle face scrub a couple times per week and then wash off and follow up with a bit of cleanser and moisturizer. Your neck and decollete area should be included as it should when moisturizing too. My current favorite is Avalon Organics Lavender facial scrub.

6. Facials- While I'm not a once-a-month professional facial kind of gal, I do make a point of getting a professional facial each season and doing my own at home facial every month. You can fill up your bathroom sink with boiling water, with a towel over your head opening all of your pores for about 10-15 minutes, this increases circulation also. Once the time is up, it's the best time to exfoliate lightly and then cleanse and moisturize. During this time you may opt for a moisture mask or even straight extra virgin olive oils or another natural oil such as jojoba oil which is what I use, it is the closest in composition to our own skin and hair oils. Professional facials are relaxing and provide a much needed element which is extractions. This is where they remove any dirt under your skin and help blemishes heal. Some offer very light peels which help with exfoliation and your skin will feel baby smooth after. If you haven't had one before, I highly recommend it!

7. The Whole Picture-While we tend to focus mainly on our face, it is important to treat the rest of our body with the same loving care. It is just as essential to not only use sunscreen but exfoliate, cleanse and moisturize these areas for beautiful skin.  If you notice any unusual moles or spots on your skin, be sure to visit a Dermatologist as soon as you can. My hubby was just diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma in 3 places which should not spread elsewhere thankfully but was the direct result of many years in the Florida sun without proper skin protection.

8. Be Gentle- Our skin might be our largest organ but our facial skin is some of the most delicate, especially the area around our eyes. I cringe when I see people furiously rubbing their eyes with their hand thinking of all the pulling and stretching they're doing to their skin. Mama always taught me to use my ring finger and gently glide or dab creams across my skin, always working upward never pulling down or tugging at the eye area. When drying your face, it's best to blog or dab it dry. Years of pulling at skin can cause it to sag, as can extreme fluxes of weight loss and gain. So, be good to your skin and it will be thanking you.

9. Healthy Lifestyle- The old saying of 'you are what you eat' is so true. I have heard of numerous people that have gone raw for a month or have cut meat and poultry out of their diet entirely (animal products are cancer-causing as well as an excess of sugar) and claimed to have the most glowing skin. Likewise, I myself have experienced similar benefits and opt for 5 days per week of clean, vegetarian eating and 2 days of fish and a little organic meat. Regular junk food consumption will only prove to dull skin, cause breakouts and will zap your energy. Exercise increases the oxygen levels throughout your whole body and gives you an energy boost. The very best time is to exercise first thing in the morning, but any time vs. none at all is still better. It will also help you sleep sounder at night which brings me to my final point.

10. Sound Sleep- We all know that a lack of sleep can cause bags or dark circles under our eyes which doesn't look pleasant but beyond that, our skin repairs itself while we sleep and if you are not getting enough zzz's than you are missing out one of sleep's greatest benefits! They don't call it beauty rest for nothing! If you have trouble sleeping, try disconnecting from electronic gadgets: PDA's, your computer, tv, etc., and engage in some reading followed by a soothing bubble bath or use Epsom salts and lavender to ease your muscle pains away. The warm temperature always makes me sleepy, hot non-caffeinated herbal tea can also work wonders. Stay away from anything caffeinated including soda and chocolate after 3pm as it can keep you awake.

Do you have a special beauty tip or a favorite product that has worked wonders for you skin?

* I am not compensated for the mention of any brands or products in this post, they are my personal favorites.*images: (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8)


  1. hydrate hydrate hydrate.....lots of people forget, it's the last organ who gets some water from the amount we drink but it's the first organ who let's the water go!!!
    Healthy "diet" and enough sleep(open window;))) that makes 10!!!;))) (don't want to be a "know it all"though)!


  2. Yes, Lynda, sleep is essential, I love to get 7-8 hrs, how could I forget that point!

    You caught me, I tried to keep the post shorter by adding exercise and healthy eating into #7 since I'm notorious for long posts. ;) Thanks for your suggestion, I think I'm going to go for the longer post and incorporate those as two more points since it was just posted.


  3. It's so true what you say about the French. I remember my Dad's Accountants girlfriend was French, and she had the most incredible skin I had ever seen ( for me at age 16!). I remember she said that the French buy most of their skincare products from the Pharmacy. Living in Spain I am lucky enough to be able to buy most French ranges from the pharmacies here such as Darphin, Vichy etc.
    I also love facial oils. Despite what some think, they don't actually make your skin more greasy but really feeds the skin. My fav at the moment? Has to be a good Spanish olive oil (just a few drops once or twice a week) or Vit E oil or Argan oil.

  4. Great tips... I never thought about #6, but will keep it in mind. I knew some of the points you mention here, but despite this, I do not apply them rigorously... I must be stronger ;-)

  5. Make sure to go for products that contain an all natural product to keep up with beautiful and healthy skin. thorough genf20 plus website


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