My 5 skincare tips
I never had skin issues growing up. Yes, the occasional embarrassing pimple during high school and college but - other than needing some concealer coverage here and there – I never had troubled skin. Then I hit my late 20s and I developed bad acne, mostly on my forehead. I paid attention to washing my face, using various products and even to what I was using for hair products since my forehead was mainly the breakout zone. I didn’t know what to do. Welcome late night infomercials and ProActiv. I decided to try it and it worked.
My intention isn’t to rave about ProActiv and sell you on it. But I was troubled and didn’t know where to go. I tried facials at an Aveda salon and walked out with hundreds of dollars of face products that didn’t help at all. So I took things into my own hands and tried something that actresses and models swore by. And it worked. Yay!
One thing I didn’t have was someone who got to know my skin and to help me with it. So for years I paid attention to products, got to know my skin, and which products worked and which didn’t. But most of all, I began to take care of it. I left ProActiv behind for Beauty Control, where I learned a lot about skincare – like the need for exfoliation, moisturizers and under eye help (because now I was in my late 30's and kids messed up my sleep schedule!). The thing about Beauty Control was, while my skin seemed to like it, it seemed like I needed a whole lot of products. It was expensive (when compared to the products I was using) so I chose to be a consultant and get my product at a great discount. The selling part was not for me, so I quit. But I left knowing some things I needed to pay attention to and keep in my skincare routine.
A few years later, I found a place where I got to know some skincare experts. I found people who got to know my skin, listened to what my worries were and weren’t afraid to tell me what I needed or needed to be worried about as my skin ages. I never felt like I was pushed on products or procedures. I finally was getting advice so I could decide what I needed and what I wanted.
Hydrafacials, dermalinfusion, peels, BBL, injections – those are all terms you’re hearing when you enter a certain level of skincare. And it’s confusing and intimidating unless you find someone who can explain it all to you, someone who is an expert in this field and, finally, someone you trust.
So here’s what I’ve learned.
Drink plenty of water. It makes a difference and on most days I find myself not drinking enough. But when I do, I can tell the difference in my skin and in how I feel. Water has so many benefits, but staying hydrated gets reflected in your skin. Probably the best way to keep track of how much you drink is to have a designated water bottle so you know the ounces it holds and then how many times you fill it up and finish it during the day. If its handy, you will find yourself drinking more water until it becomes a habit. I also find that I have less headaches when I drink more water, not to mention that it fills me up so I don't grab a snack because I'm hungry. The water fills you up.
Protect yourself against the sun. This one I didn't think about when I was younger. Now the one thing I always put on my face - whether I’m planning to be outside during the day or not - is sun protection. Summer, winter, always. I like to use a SPF tinted moisturizer like Obagi or Revision Intellishade.
But I love the glow of a summer tan. I was the girl in high school who was tanning on one of those foil mats hoping to get a tan but it was never as dark or golden as I wanted. So find a good sunless tanner. There are some made especially for your face. I like to use Coola's Tan Anti-Aging Serum on my face. Just a little pump or two mixed in with my moisturizer and it builds up a nice subtle tan. I also use a powder bronzer like Bobbi Brown's Illuminating Bronzer in Aruba to give me a little more color.
For my body, I like a sunless tanner in a mousse form. I find that it’s a lot easier to apply evenly and doesn’t stay as sticky as a lotion or spray. I have been using St. Tropez Gradual Tanning Mousse. This mousse gives a gradual tan, so I use it a couple of times a week and it gives me a subtle color. If you can't wait for a gradual tan, St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse will get you there faster.
As part of my skincare process, I use a mild 2 minute facial mask by DefenAge that has little crystals in it to exfoliate. I use it before I shower and then rinse it off in the shower. I use it once every 3-4 days. Exfoliating helps make your skin look better because it removes both the dry and dead skin cells. The result is that your skin will look better and also that, if you you wear it, makeup will look better.
Another form of exfoliation I use is dermaplaning. I know some people know all about it, some nothing about it, and some that think shaving your face will result in growing facial hair faster and coarser. I've been having my face dermaplaned for years and it makes my skin look good, the hair doesn't grow back faster or darker or coarser, and my makeup looks so much better. It doesn't hurt (kind of feels like a cat's tongue licking you) and you will be addicted. You can do it yourself, but I highly recommend going to someone who knows how to do it. I only have it done once a month so its not a procedure you need to do every day or week.
Finally, peels. I’ve had some mild peels at the skincare clinic I go to, and they never gave me a red face or much peeling. They were pretty uneventful (no downtime required as they say) which I didn’t mind at all. This past spring I got a stronger peel, and …..OH MY. I did the peel on a Wednesday. My skin glowed for two days. Like I would love to have that glow every day and I’d die happy. Then Friday hit. I started to peel around my nose. Saturday, more peeling. Like I can’t talk to you for more than two minutes without you seeing the skin start peeling in different places. By Sunday I gave up. I couldn’t keep my face from looking like I was a snake shedding its skin everywhere. But guess what? A huge snowstorm hit that weekend and we didn’t go ANYWHERE. Other than my husband and kids NO ONE SAW ME. I was still peeling a little on Monday but was starting to feel like myself again. After the peeling, my skin looked so good and continues to look healthy. My esthetician, Kylie, recommends doing another one this fall. But I don’t think I can be so lucky to have the same blizzard weekend again.
Find products you need, love, and fit into your budget. You need to know your skin, what you think you need, and whether your products address that need. If you don’t love them and see results, and if your skin isn’t happy with them, it’s money down the drain. Thus the comment about your budget. Make sure that you are comfortable with the price and – if they work for you - that you feel comfortable replenishing. The last thing you want is to find something that’s too expensive and you can’t afford to buy more. Because professional strength and medical grade products you find at a reputable medispa or dermatologist’s office can be expensive. As I mentioned above, I’ve used ProActiv and BeautyControl products, as well as drugstore products. Since finding someone I trust with my skin, I’ve turned to SkinMedica and most recently, DefenAge. I'm loving the DefenAge products because they address what my skin needs, my skin is happy with the product, and it's a simple 3 product routine. For eyes, I have been using the Obagi line and love it. It really does make my under eye area more firm and is keeping those lines away.
The products I’ve been referring to have all been external, but I’m going to add one more product I use - Great Lakes Gelatin - Collagen Hydrolysate Kosher - Unflavored Protein. My Pilates instructor and friends are swearing by this product that you can add to your morning coffee, smoothie or water. Once we are taking it on a regular basis, our skin and hair look better. When we stop taking it, we notice something is not the same. Does it work? I’m sure there are nay sayers out there, but I have a group of women who say they can see the difference. Just consider this a bonus tip from me to you.
Products are a very personal choice, as your skin is different from your mother's, friend's or the beauty store consultant's skin. And if your skin isn't loving it, don't be afraid to return it and try something else. Which leads me to my final point.
Find someone you trust to guide you. Because #3 and #4 above are their expertise. They will know what your skin needs and what it will need as you age or experience different issues. I believe I should be happy in my own skin, but that doesn’t mean I can’t age gracefully and get help along the way. An expert in skincare will help you do this. Find someone you’re comfortable talking to and who knows their stuff. This may be the Rodan Fields Consultant, your dermatologist, or your Medispa esthetician. So many factors go into who you turn to, but find someone to help advise you on your trouble areas as well as helping you protect and/or improve your skin's health and condition.
I live in the Twin Cities suburbs of Minneapolis/St.Paul and I go to the Refinery Skin Clinic. If you’re local and need someone to see about your skin and your skincare needs, I highly recommend them. They aren’t paying me to say this. I want to tell you about them because I want you to know that they are the kind of people who make me feel welcome every time I walk in, and feeling beautiful and refreshed when I leave. Rebecca, Tracey, Kylie, Michele and their whole staff are wonderful to work with - even better? They know their stuff. Like really know their stuff. I trust them completely and I know they and I have the same goal. They’ve added some great new services as well that I would love to try out. Anyone ever had lash extensions? They just added that as a new service. Massages, skin care, lashes. I could spend the whole day there! But seriously, try them out or find someone that makes you feel like they make me feel every time.
So that’s my advice. Five things. But five important things. Take care of yourself and your skin. And above all else, know that you are beautiful!