On Saturdays, when I have nothing particularly better to do, I find myself watching horrible, guilty-pleasure shows. You know the ones--found on every cable station not showing edited, feel-good films.
Flipping through the channels this weekend, I see a syringe heading towards some lady's face and I know I can set the remote down. It's a show talking about the lengths celebrities go to look their very best and how we average folks can look the same if we spend thousands of dollars having botulism injected into our faces several times a year for the rest of our lives.
And I'm traumatized because I realize this is my future. Because of my actions, I am either guaranteed a lifetime of a face frozen without emotion (not much different than the lack of expression I try to display now, but at a high cost financially) or a saggy, wrinkly face.
See, a few months ago I received a gift certificate for a facial for my birthday. I enjoyed every moment of it, except for the part when I found out what my face (under a microscope or whatever that contraption was) looked like as an old lady. And not for lack of care I tell you, but from using the wrong products on my face. And since I don't want to ever look old and don't think I can handle the Botox, I decided I needed some skin 101 knowledge.
Even if I am going about it the wrong way, I'm at least putting in some energy. The people in my generation, as well as the generation before me and following me, are of the smoking, drinking, eating unhealthy and sleeping less and less variety. Even if nothing changes in that respect, we should at least prevent our wilting away insides from reflecting on our faces. Skincare is invaluable and the harsh winter weather indicates a good time to start caring for yourself, no matter your age or sex.
Winterize Your Hide
Winter is the season for ravaging our skin, head to toe. While summer leaves you sunburned, sweaty and chlorined, the moisture-free winter winds and high indoor heaters do a number on your epidermis. Nothing too extreme for our skin, but a delicate balance--nothing too hot or too cold, not too acidic or not enough. It's as simple as creating a morning and night regimen, with a few shower steps thrown in for good measure once or twice a week, that will keep you looking smooth throughout the winter and get you in the proper routine to keep throughout a lifetime.
Although it seems a bit absurd, before you slather your face and body in lotion, you have to be clean. Take whatever means necessary to suds your limbs and torso. I've no doubt there is probably hard-earned evidence that make liquid or bar soap better than the other, but I just don't have the statistics. Just clean yourself and call it a day.
Sadly, our smiling faces don't have it so easy. It's time to take a good hard look in the mirror and determine what kind of skin you have.
It will boil down to having oily, dry, combination (areas of oil and dry) or sensitive skin. And apparently you can have "normal" skin, but that seems pretty abnormal to me. Sensitive skin is determined by being overly red. Self-diagnosis is splendid, but if the data you are gathering doesn't fit into one of these categories or if you want to be completely sure, consult a dermatologist.
Based off your personal analysis, you'll want to find a cleanser to correspond. This is a night and day step. Whether you're a lady needing to get rid of the day's make up or a dude needing to wash off city grime, you certainly need the nighttime cleaning. The morning clean is easy- just take your bottle to the shower. Cleansers can come in gels, foams, bars and more, but whatever form you buy, just lather, rinse and don't repeat. Too much soap, like anything else your skin comes into contact with, is overdrying.
If you tend to have breakouts, find a product aimed at helping clean your pores. If you have overly oily skin, use a light toner. I used to believe that the burning sensation on my face and the tightness from the salicylic acid meant that my face was super clean. That tightness is actually your face screaming from lack of moisture, so use sparingly and no more than twice a day.
What you can do typically once or twice a week is use an exfoliant. Typically, an exfoliant is a scrub with some type of grain--salt, sugar, thinly ground nutshells and more--that assists in removing dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin. Removing this dead skin from your face helps unclog pores. On your body it helps reduce dry skin build up that causes itching. Also, it's wonderful to exfoliate before shaving because it allows for a smoother shave.
If you have sensitive skin, it's best to not use a grain-based exfoliant, but to find a chemical exfoliant, which works in the same fashion without the roughness of the grain. For your body, be weary of salt-based exfoliants because shaving plus salt equals ouch. In addition, some exfoliants are oil-based, which is not only going to increase the possibility of dry skin, but clogs razors if you use them pre-shave. Completing this step is important to obtaining smooth winter skin.
But it's not the only important step. Your cleanser is not alone in its repeated dosage in your day. Cleanser should be followed by moisturizer both day and night. Before you start slathering that Island Mango Tropical Passion Fruit lotion all over your face, realize that you can't. Face moisturizers should be oil free and fragrance free, two things that the typical body lotion are not. What a facial moisturizer can have is an impact.
You can go simple or go crazy. Whatever special effects you want your facial moisturizer to have, you should have a formula complimentary to your skin type and it should have an SPF. I know that this will get jeers from a society that idolizes bronze tans year round, but the winter sun's UV rays can assist in filling your face full of sun spots, wrinkles and overall damaged skin and put you next in line for Botox City. Once you have these two essentials in your moisturizer, you decide what else you're expecting out of it.
Preparing for Your Skin's Future
You can start early in life preparing for the effects that come with age or use these potions to combat what the years have given you, but you'll find products for anti-aging, anti-wrinkle and blemish control. You'll find tinted moisturizers that work like a light foundation. There are creams that are intended for night purposes only and lotions meant for under your eyes. This area gets its own special sauce because this area of skin is very thin. There are fancy products infused with diamond and gold elements and things you wouldn't typically think of rubbing on your face. Take the additions with a grain of salt; there is no miracle serum.
Realize, however, that diamond infused lotions come at a high cost, but skincare doesn't have to. One such brand, Crème de la Mer, sells a 16.5 oz. jar of crème for $1,350. Does it work any better than what you can find at a drug store? At $81 an ounce, I hope so, but what's great about skin care is that there are wonderful, working products at any price range. The only difference I can see in department store products versus drug store options is the ability to test it out before you take it home. A staff behind a fancy counter can give you input, whereas the drug store is a crapshoot. No matter where you shop, look around until you find what works best for your skin. Once you've latched on to what is working for you, stick with it.
That is also true for a body lotion. Those come in creams and in butters in every smell known to man. Put your lotion choice on not too long after exiting the shower to allow for maximum absorbing. And don't forget your feet. While winter's closed-toed shoes may hide them, they are like the Sahara of your body. Lotion them up and toss on some socks for a while or buy the lotions created for feet specifically, but men and women alike should care for the things that carry them around.
And finally, pamper yourself. Put on one of those thick masks at home and toss cucumbers on your eyes (if you're willing to look like a fool should someone see you) or throw down some cash to have a professional give you a facial or body massage. Make it a reward for the winter routine you establish and continue into the future to keep you from being a walking bag of Botox.
Share this article: