Blog #26- A-Z Skin Care Continued: Changing Skin Care as the Seasons Change (the age-related seasons this time)
A-Z Skin Care Continued: Changing Skin Care as the Seasons Change (the age-related seasons this time)
Hormones, pimples, and zits galore. Pizza face, crater face, or poxy. Late nights out partying, even later nights up studying in the library, and therefore a terrible lack of beauty sleep. A grimy smoky eye look that’s really just yesterday’s leftover makeup, stress-related breakouts, or an immediate concern about wrinkles past 22. Troubling thoughts like is it really the new 20, am I too young for plastic surgery or is it already too late, and insisting that you’re just 25 again each time your birthday rolls around. Retraining yourself to not sit with your legs crossed for fear of causing varicose veins, slathering your face with Vaseline to cure wrinkles, stressing out over gray hairs which you just know will multiply if you pluck one out, or desperately trying a variety of face exercises to prevent sagging.
No matter what age we are, ladies, there are aging and skin-related issues galore to constantly obsess over. Teens wish they were in their 20’s and past acne, those in their 40’s wish that “40 is the new 20” were true, not just the new 30 as though that will magically erase crow’s feet, and those 50 and older fear that no one will ever compliment their beauty again. But the bottom line is this: every decade of our lives comes with skin struggles. All hope is not lost though. Once you understand how to make your skin healthy at any age, then natural beauty, the best kind, will inevitably follow.
So today and the next time few times around, we’ll be looking at how our skin care routines should be changing as we age, for optimum skin health and natural beauty from sixteen all the way up to eighty-five.
Troubled Teen Years
School stress, lack of sleep, grab and go meals, crazy schedules- these are the woes of your teen years, the things that directly affect how healthy and clear your skin stays (or doesn’t). Hormonal surges equal enlarged oil glands, and the most common problems at this age are 1. Acne, 2. Blackheads, and 3. Oily skin. While there’s only so much we can do about things like teachers who assign too much homework (or any at all- isn’t schoolwork supposed to be done at school- am I right?), we can talk about some simple do’s and don’ts that will keep you looking clean, fresh, and gorg. Starting with always following this basic mantra: Cleanse, tone, exfoliate, moisturize, and SPF- always, every day, and in that order. But we can also break that down into a lot of other advice:
1. Do NOT try old wive’s tales solutions- toothpaste will NOT get rid of your pimples, girls. In fact, if you can’t verify a skin care suggestion with a doctor, even one that’s just reviewing articles online, then do NOT try this at home (I don’t care how many TikTok posts you saw about it).
(courtesy of Medical News Today)
2. Talk to your doctor- but it never hurts to consult your family practitioner or even a dermatologist when you hit puberty and the skincare issues that result from it to get some good, reliable advice that’s tailored just for you, especially if the acne you’re experiencing is red, pus-filled, painful lumps under the skin, or leaving behind scarring.
3. Understand YOUR acne and choose the right acne products- take what the doc says into consideration, but there are still countless issues that many dermatologists disagree on. For example, most consider plain, gentle, and “for sensitive skin” products to be a gold standard. But they vary on whether acne products such as benzoyl peroxide should be spread all over or just on targeted areas, whether or not to use salicylic acid in cleansers and whatnot, whether or not to use sonic cleaning brushes to help exfoliate. So through careful trial and error, choose what works for you. A basic best practice is wash + toner + medicated acne gel. You can’t really go wrong there.
(courtesy of Style Craze)
4. Be smart with your acne products- these are designed to be uber strong, so it’s easy to end up leaving skin more red and irritated than just plain acne is. Plus, it’s a vicious circle: you use it, your skin gets irritated, you no longer want to use it, but then suddenly you need it, and you’re back at square one. So let’s break this down:
- If you use prescription strength topicals- put your moisturizer on first to keep skin from getting irritated. Use products for skin barrier repair. And start out slow to let skin get accustomed to the harsher products. Try ⅛ teaspoon, wait 3 days, if you’re still okay then follow that practice for 2 weeks, and then increase to every night.
- If you use OTC retinols- start slowly, but this time, put your moisturizer on top of the acne product. These are good because they’re milder, anti-inflammatory, and they reduce zit redness and oil production, refining pores and banishing black/whiteheads.
- And if you use benzoyl peroxide- though this one kills the bacteria that causes zits, it can lead to really dry skin and even bleach your clothes. So get dressed and then apply. And moisturize first, then apply product.
5. Control oil + decrease shine but without being overly harsh (because no one looks good when they look like they’ve worked all night in a greasy pizza joint, even if you do part-time)- try using a salicylic acid cleanser, an oil-free primer, and blot oil throughout the day with specialized tissues or cloths.
6. Do not sleep on acne bacteria- washing your face once per day is not enough because existing bacteria spawns new baby bacteria every 12 hours (like bunnies), so use your big guns at night, and then the next day around mid-morning, try a milder OTC treatment such as a salicylic acid with colloidal silver spray which lowers the PH of your skin, making it less hospitable to bacteria.
7. Wash off makeup before bed- every night- at the very least, use a pre-moistened cleansing wipe to remove makeup, dirt, and oil. Even if you don’t wear makeup, there’s still plenty of bacteria on your face that needs off BEFORE bed.
(courtesy of NBC News)
8. Cleanse carefully and thoroughly- if you have oily skin, make sure you use a foaming cleanser or gel, whereas if you suffer from dry skin, try a milky product instead. Twice per day is your best practice regardless of skin type. Take your makeup off and THEN cleanse (those are two SEPARATE chores). Use your fingertips to gently rub in and then rinse off the product. And make sure that you cleanse both before AND after PE and sports (or at the very least, use facial tissues to blot away sweat and oil).
Pair cleansing up with a good toner. Use a hydrating choice for dry skin or a purifying one for acne-prone skin.
9. Exfoliate- this might be the step that dermatologists argue over the most. Should you exfoliate once per week? Twice? Always? Never? More because you have acne? Here’s my answer after perusing many, many, many sources: try once per week. If that solves your skin woes, then stop, and if it doesn’t, then try increasing to twice per week, and so on up the line, keeping your eyes peeled for red, irritated, dry, flaky, peeling skin. They do all agree that you should NOT scrub- don’t overdo it. And use milder products that exfoliate with gentle chemicals as opposed to small, hard particles.
(courtesy of Allure)
10. Keep your hands to yourself- touching acne, or even worse, “popping” something does NOT help- in fact, it hurts… A LOT. Instead, try pimple patches (they even have cute ones now, like those below from Target). It’s a lot harder to minimize a scar after the fact than it is to treat a zit right now.
11. Keep your hands clean- though none of us should be touching our faces throughout the day, you know we all do. So keep your hands clean to prevent spreading even more oil, dirt, bacteria and germs, and clean other things that touch your face regularly, such as your sparkly new pink iPhone.
(courtesy of NBC News)
12. Use spray hair products- these are less likely to break you out (especially if you’re prone to this on your hairline and forehead), and it’s a good practice to wash conditioner out of your hair and THEN cleanse your face in the shower.
13. Never share makeup- girls, I don’t care how best your bestie is, you use your eyeshadow palette and let her use her lip gloss- no switching.
(courtesy of Beautylish)
14. Moisturize no matter your skin type- skipping this step will not magically eliminate your acne. In fact, that could make it even worse. The more moisturizer you give skin, the less it will make all on its own, meaning it can balance your oily skin. So choose a light, comfortable, oil-free moisturizer, something with ceramides and niacinamides, and use it daily, no matter how greasy you feel.
15. Wear sunscreen- everyone. All the time. Even if you naturally have darker skin. Even black (and that’s coming straight from a Black dermatologist). Go for SPF 30 or higher, choose a mineral base like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, go for an oil-free version, and make it part of your regular morning routine. It also keeps acne from turning darker and therefore more noticeable. It couldn’t hurt to choose makeup that contains an SPF as well. And girls, NO TANNING BEDS… EVER! It doesn’t matter what you want to look like for prom or an important date. Be you, be your natural skin tone, not someone else’s. But if you must, use a self-tanner instead.
(courtesy of Cruelty-Free Kitty)
Remember- healthy habits start now. After all, you want to be the woman whose friends all hate her someday because she looks 20 years younger than them, not the other way around.
Sources: Dr. Geetika Mittal Gupta, Dr. Satish Bhatia, Jessica Wu MD, Peterson Pierre MD, Deanne Mraz Robinson MD, Debra Jaliman MD, Leslie Baumann MD, Seventeen magazine, Everyday Health.com, and Vogue magazine