Let’s face it, “How to get good skin?” must be one of googles top searches! Our skin causes endless amounts of stress whether you’re 14 or 40 and the startling fact is skin care is not cheap! On average, the American woman will spend nearly a quarter of a million dollars on skin care in her lifetime. And while a lot of it might be out of vanity, the truth is, taking care of our skin is vitally important to our overall health. – as my mother always says “your skin is our first line of defense against disease and bacteria.” So spending the money to take care of it doesn’t seem like such a waste when we consider the hard work skin does to protect us. But what if spending all that money on skin products actually begins to effect our overall skin balance?
Like many women, something happened when I turned 25. My skin and I began our endless battle for staying balanced. I’m blessed to say, I’ve never suffered from skin problems or acne, but like all women, I have the occasional breakout and the stubborn spots of skin that never seem to stay clear. In college, my skin was good, which is a miracle considering I slept very little and was in a constant state of panic about school work and class schedules. Fast forward four years….something changed. My skin got off track and periodic breakouts seemed to be happening all the time! Stress wrinkles and dark spots seemed to be popping up over night! But what changed? Was it the dreaded adult acne I always seem to hear about on commercials? The researcher in me, decided to get to the facts, so for the next 3 weeks I studied what changed in my skincare routine since college? What habits had I picked up that actually weren’t benefiting my skin at all? and to get to the bottom of why my skin might not be the easy walk in the park I had imagined my late 20’s and 30’s to be!
- Makeup- Since the age of 13, makeup is something I have always worn in some capacity, but it wasn’t till post college that I decided that wearing makeup to my 9 to 5 job was essential to looking professional. The truth is, wearing considerably more make up (still less that many people, but more for me) made me look older. I suffer from people continually saying that I’m the teenage Brooke Shields from Blue Lagoon and that I look like I’m 16. Which is both irritating and creepy considering shes naked 100% of the movie, but lets not dwell on that. I think like many women my age, wearing makeup is a way to heighten our seemingly small amount of control over peoples perceptions about us- especially in the workplace. What used to be a dab of mascara and blush turned into using ACTUAL foundation and eyeliner!
- “Grown up” products – Is it just me or do some women use WAY to many cleansers, masks, toners… the list goes on? After following many great women on the internet, I felt that I too needed the endless list of night routine products that so many women apparently use! I tried new products that were RIDICULOUSLY expensive in order to “maintain” good skin. What I found– If it ain’t broke, don’t be fooled into thinking it needs fixing. Sure, add a moisturizer, or a light toner, but if your skin is working as is, don’t think that a laundry list of products are necessary. I say this with a grain of salt because I DO in fact love trying new products, but if a product isn’t working or actually reversing the quality of your skin then don’t feel like avoiding too many products is bad for you.
Which brings me to my conclusion….
What do I do now?
After this informal evaluation of my skin, I think I can say without a doubt that the best thing for my skin is to GIVE IT A REST. When we think about it, the skin works 24/7 protecting us so even it needs a day off every now and then. By providing my skin time to be alone, it was happy again. I went one week make up free (other than mascara) and I felt my skin take a huge sigh of relief. No more night serums, tinted moisturizers, toners, blushes, or bronzers… just good ol’ water. The results were pretty startling and I felt like I got in my groove again and, honestly, made me reevaluate how I felt about myself and beauty.
I think as women, we often feel pressure to stay abreast with all latest trends in beauty or fashion. We treat our skin much like we treat our houses- Instagram ready. For myself, I went from feeling super confident in my skin and wearing makeup as a source of joy to feeling that NOT having it on was like standing naked in front of a crowd. Wearing makeup began as a fun way to express myself to ending with feeling secure about my identity and who I am! I am sure I’m not the only one who feels this way, but my encouragement to get better skin is to first look at your lifestyle before jumping into the laundry list of products. They say beauty is only skin deep, but its often what is going on underneath it all that makes the skin beautiful. Below are some of my tips on how to maintain good skin without buying any products.
Here is what I do to get better skin without buying anything!
- Implement Make-up free week- once a month, give yourself a week (or even just a series of days) make-up free. It will be truly illuminating.
- Drink LOTS of water- Water is my favorite beverage. I rarely drink alcohol (other than weddings, which explains my insatiable need to humiliate myself on the dance floor) and I only drink pop at Christmas or on planes – (Cranberry Ginger Ale and Dr. Pepper respectively).
- Sweat it out- I notice a considerable difference in my skin when I exercise. (I guess not living like a couch potato watching Netflix does have its benefits!) side note: also taking a shower relatively soon after really keeps skin clear. Don’t sit around in your sweaty clothes all day, your skin will not thank you.
- Clean your sheets- This sounds strange, but it’s an often neglected necessity in improving skin health. My advice, at the very least, wash you pillow case once a week.
- Cut Sugar- Probably the one I fail at the most… what’s the saying?… something about sugar being more addictive than cocaine?… yeah yeah… I can quit anytime I want…
- Find Joy- It sounds strange, but take an hour (of at the very least a few minutes) and spend it doing something you love. Not TV or phones, not chores or work. Find something you love to do simply because you love to do it. Finding a stress free moment really helps me relax and release tension I’ve bottled up.
Giving my skin a break from makeup, skin care “routine” , and all the unnecessary in-between was a cleanse from both the physical and emotional baggage I was carrying around! It gave me a renewed sense of self and pride in my imperfections. Skin cleanses aren’t for everyone and maybe they aren’t good for everyone, but there is something to be said for taking a cleaner, more simple, approach to life.
Simplicity, as Coco Chanel once said, “is the keynote of all true elegance.” And who doesn’t want to feel as elegant as Coco?…