Hello everyone, it’s been a while and I hope you all have been putting your best faces forward with good skin care practices.
Let’s restart our sessions by reminding ourselves habits you should consider in order to maintain good skin.
I cannot over emphasize this, without the habit of water drinking, your skin will not look good – even if you are blessed with perfect genes. You need to drink at least 3 litres of water daily, preferably at room temperature. It is not always easy to do, but start slowly and build up as you go.
Water is essential in flushing out the toxins and free radicals that can accumulate and contaminate our internal milieu; and as you know the skin mirrors exactly what is going on inside your body.
Take Off Your Make Up Before Bed Time
I know we are all living very hectic lives and sometimes one can be so tired in the evening that you drop off without cleansing your face. Please don’t make this a habit.
Sleep time is very important in skin rejuvenation; a lot of repair and rebuilding goes on while we are asleep. Having a layer of makeup on your face will make it even harder for essential repairs to be done.
Also, your face needs a chance to breathe, with open pores that are not clogged up by makeup; most importantly, without the dust and debris of daily living which is quite significant in our industrialised cities.
Use Facial Products Only on Your Face
Many of my clients confess to this habit of using body products on their faces. Please rest assured that there is a reason that the specialists formulated products specifically for the face. The rest of your body does not need the specialized care your face needs, especially around the tender eye area. We hardly get wrinkles or black heads on our bodies, do we?
Your face needs special care. More often than not, the products we use on our bodies are too harsh for the face.
Rule of thumb is, if the product stings your eyes if you open them while washing your face, then it is too harsh.
The kind of products you should use on your face should be gentle enough for you to be able to open your eyes. Most people use the same product all over, out of convenience; remember, a little effort goes a long way in the long run. So use specialised facial products on your face.
Anyone with this habit needs to stop or at the very least cut down. Smoking, in addition to all the other harmful stuff it does to our bodies, also damages your skin. It can reduce oxygen supply to the skin, and the free radicals produced makes the skin dull and tired looking.
Also, the very act of puckering up the lips gives premature lines and creases around the lip area, not to talk of the dark stains some people develop on their lips. Long story short…stop smoking!
Don’t Be a Product Junkie
Some people find it really difficult to commit to a skin care regimen with a specific product. You try one thing today, next day you are jumping to something else. The day after, someone tells you about some product they discovered and you’re off again to try yet another product. Using different brands of products on your skin in a short space of time can give rise to what we call a ‘product rash’ which is simply a mild irritation on the skin that presents as redness, itching or small papular lesions.
It is usually resolved when the product hopping ceases. It is very important to note that any good product must be used for a minimum of 12 weeks to see the beneficial results. You MUST commit to any product range of your choice for some time before you decide whether it works for you or not. Obviously, you discontinue use immediately and see your dermatologist if you have a serious reaction. Otherwise, give the product some time; good natural ingredients take time to work their magic.
Change Your Bed Linen Regularly
You should change your beddings, most especially your pillowcase, every week.
Sleeping on a soiled pillow case can only cause problems for your skin. You should also change your towel frequently. Note also, that it is not ideal to use the same towel on your face as the rest of your body, that’s why face towels were invented… 😉 You can inadvertently transfer bacteria from other parts of your body to your face where it can contribute to break outs.
Stop Popping Those Zits
Acne/pimple eruptions should be left alone to run its course and heal. Pressing these lesions causes the inflammation to be more pronounced which can then lead to scarring. Black/white heads are removed by squeezing, but do not do it yourself. Go for a facial where it is done hygienically and professionally.
This is particularly important especially around the danger area of the face (beneath the nose and around the upper lip) because there is a direct communication here with a sinus in your brain and a pressed pimple in this area can quickly become life threatening in some cases.
Generally, it is good to make the habit of keeping your hands off your face.
Sleep Well, Eat Right
A bad night immediately shows the next day, with dark rings under your eyes and general look of tiredness. If this lack of sleep becomes a habit imagine how your skin will look.
6 to 8 hours of sleep, daily, is the ideal for an adult.
Your diet is just as important; you are what you eat. Even if you have good genes and your diet is packed full of processed chemical foods, sugar, alcohol and hydrogenated fats etc. it will definitely show on your skin. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables gives rise to radiant healthy skin.
Vitamin C is particularly important for rejuvenation and youth as it is essential in the production of collagen which keeps ours skin supple and youthful.
Exercise gets the blood running all over your system very well. The increased blood flow to the skin of your face will nourish it, remove toxins and trapped dirt and make it glow. This is the same principle behind steaming. Heat causes the blood vessels on your face to dilate thus increasing blood flow to the face. Regular exercise and regular steam session will brighten your face, remove blemishes and make you look younger.
Minimise Exposure to Harsh Sunlight
The sun is the single most important factor in ageing and skin damage. The sun causes excessive production of damaging free radicals that attack and breakdown our skin cells.
People of colour have the protection of melanin, but it does not eliminate the damaging effects of sun rays. Using a daily protective moisturizer with SPF of at least 30, is a must. When under direct sunlight, especially in our tropical climate, SPF creams are not enough. Protective clothing, sunglasses, umbrellas, hats should also be employed.
Please note that even the sunlight coming from the window of your room or car is enough to cause damage. Most of the damage of sun exposure occurs in youth, but the effects won’t show up till much later. It’ never too early to start using sunscreen.
For people of colour, exfoliation is the single most important skin care routine. Most other resources will tell you to exfoliate once or twice a week, but this applies to Caucasian skin that is significantly thinner than coloured skin. The right exfoliator should be used daily.
There are many daily exfoliators available in the market today. Regular exfoliation for the thicker skin of coloured people promotes cell turnover, smoothes and refines facial surfaces, fades blemishes and discoloration, brightens and illuminates the skin.
As a person of colour, if you have not learned to exfoliate daily, your skin has not reached its full potential.
Stress shows up on your skin just as quickly as lack of sleep, except that you can add pimples and breakouts to the equation.
Again, we all know that life can be hectic, but if you let it get to you, your body and your skin will suffer.
Take things easy. Take out time for relaxation and rejuvenation. Learn to delegate, where possible. Become more organised to enhance efficiency. Set reasonable tasks and always be sure to put in your best effort. Let everything else go; you cannot add anything to your life by worrying and stressing about it.
It is not easy to do, but if you make a point of practising it after a while it becomes part of you. Try to think positively at all times. Always count your blessings and focus on the good things in your life. Don’t focus on what you don’t have. Remember the person without stress is the one who is 6 feet under. A truly joyful, happy person ages very slowly. Happiness is a state of mind and has nothing to do with our surroundings. Truly happy people release huge amounts of endorphins that in turn positively impacts on the appearance of their skin.
Your best face is a happy face. Till next time, keep putting your best faces forward!