Do you ever feel like you're reading article after article, trying product after product, and not getting the glowing skin of your dreams? How about a few simple changes that result in happier skin over time? Training your skin is a bit like training a puppy: If you can stay calm and very consistent, your skin will learn how to behave itself.
Treat your skin like part of your whole system, rather than a separate layer.
So many companies tell you their products will cure acne, banish dark spots, and make your wrinkles disappear. Well, I'm a doctor who owns a skin care company, and I'm here to say that NO product will do those things if you are not supporting your skin from the inside. You can pay loads of money for miracle products, but if you're eating poorly, not getting enough sleep, and letting your stress level go unchecked, your dark circles are going nowhere, no matter what kind of seaweed or snail extract you put on your face. You simply have to eat good food and take care of your whole system if you want your skin to glow.
Wash your face before bed every night—no exceptions.
This seems like it's been said a million times, but you wouldn't believe the number of people who still don't do it. You don't have to double cleanse, mask, and post a selfie every night, but you should at least get the makeup, sunscreen, and general grime off your skin before your head hits the pillow (and the pillowcase). Start with a warm washcloth over your face for 30 seconds to open your pores, and then wash gently with a mild cleanser that removes makeup effectively. If you prefer using something extra to remove your eye makeup, use a drop of olive oil or coconut oil, massage it into your lids and lashes, then wipe away with a damp, warm cotton ball.
Go at least one day a week with zero makeup.
First, your skin deserves a break from makeup—let it dance naked for a day! Even clean makeup brands have ingredients that your skin doesn't need every day, plus going bare is like a micro-cleanse for your skin. Second, it will remind you to feel beautiful in your own skin, even if it takes some training on your part. While you go without makeup, tune into yourself and those around you—smile more, make better eye contact, and let your beauty radiate freely. It's the practice of being a beautiful person—not just looking pretty—that will make the world a better place, and your no-makeup day is a symbolic tool in that practice.
Clean your phone and your keyboard with a natural antibacterial wipe a few times per week.
You know those blue lights they use on Dexter or CSI to find blood and body fluids and germs? If you put your phone under one of those lights, you'd drop it like it was a burning ember. It's INSANE how dirty our phones and keyboards get, and we rarely clean them. Even if you're good about washing your hands, the minute you use your phone, your fingers become a petri dish again. And then you touch your face, covering it with bacteria and dirty oils, which leads to clogged pores and inflammation.
Put away the magnifying mirror.
Tell me you haven't spent WAY too much time agonizing over your skin's appearance in a magnifying mirror. It's time to stop—people don't look at you with a magnifying glass! If you need it for putting on your mascara or an occasional inspection, OK. But please, more often than not, step away from the magnifying mirror. You can do this.
There's a lot of talk about what you should and shouldn't use on your skin, and some of it stems from marketing, fearmongering, and poorly researched journalism. Make a decision to learn about what you're putting on your skin from reliable sources, and become your own advocate. Because your skin absorbs about 60 percent of what you put on it, you should be thinking of your skin the same way you think of your dinner plate. Learn why you might consider avoiding chemical nasties in your products—when you understand the science behind your decisions, you will make them from a place of confidence and certainty rather than doubt and fear. Organizations like the EWG and Silent Spring Institute are good places to start digging.
Support the brands that care about your health and that of the planet.
While some of the larger skin care brands are starting (Hallelujah!) to change their ways, many have not—despite evidence that their ingredients and practices may be harming your health and that of our common resource, Mother Earth. With a little homework, you'll find brands that do the following:
- List (or willingly provide) ALL their ingredients
- Have an accessible founder and/or staff who are willing to answer your questions
- Employ a passionate team committed to the brand and its mission
- Insist on creating extraordinary products, from ethical and sustainable sourcing of ingredients to environmentally thoughtful packaging and shipping practices
- Inspire you to be healthier, happier, and more fully alive!
Here's to a wonderful, healthy, happy 2017, in which you close your eyes and remember where your beauty really lives—that's the only kind of beauty you can share in any way that matters.