It’s never too late to start taking care of your skin.
When we were little kids we never thought about skin health. I never wore sunblock (nobody ever thought about that). When we became teens, we were more worried about hanging out with friends on the sand and frying in the sun. We used to mix baby oil with iodine and I would turn the most beautiful walnut brown color! We all tried to get as dark as we could be thinking it was the healthy thing to do.
Even in college, we didn’t care. Then one day, I got the message. I was on a friend’s sailboat to Catalina. And, in my typical youthful careless attitude, I wore a swimsuit and little else. I even turned down my friend’s offer for sunblock. “Sunblock??” I thought. “Heck, what a great time for tanning!” You know, the reflection of all that sun off the water? Fabulous! Or so I thought.
By the time we arrived at Avalon harbor, I was as red as one of those lobsters they serve at The Palm restaurant. Exposed areas – especially my shoulders – were so red that they were purple! It was so painful that I’m wincing right now as I write these words. I ended up in the emergency room that day with sun poisoning and for two weeks had to stay completely covered up to protect the blisters and what was left of my skin.
Any sunburn is a clear sign that your skin has sustained damage from too much ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Doctors say that just getting a sunburn once every 2 years can triple your risk of melanoma (skin cancer). And here’s the thing – as you get older, the risk goes way up. Nobody needs that. Even if you haven’t been in the sun in years, if you’ve ever been under a black light you will immediately see the damage that your skin has suffered – ears, knees, elbows, odd spots – nothing is safe.
I ALWAYS use sunscreen – 365 days a year – it’s part of my daily morning routine before I ever leave the house. It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny or cloudy those sneaky ultraviolet rays are still there– I use sunscreen with some of the highest SPF I can find and I can’t remember the last time I had a sunburn. Nowadays, I’m the one pushing my friends to use sunscreen.
You think that you’re protected by your car windows? Think again. Unless you have UV coatings on all your car windows, the same sunburn causing rays will hit you as though you were standing outside. Worse yet, the windows even magnify your exposure! No matter where you drive, remember to put extra sunscreen on your left cheek and left arm and hand.
I use Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid (SPF 70) or Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch (SPF 85+) on my body and Thibiant Antioxidant Moisturizing Sunscreen (SPF 50+) from Thibiant Beverly Hills for my face. Can you tell I don’t mess around with the possibility of ever burning again? Even if you use a tinted moisturizer with SPF or your makeup has SPF – it does not mean that you don’t need a separate sunscreen – YOU DO. So, go ahead, layer it up and protect yourself as much as possible.
Sunscreen is only part of my daily routine; the rest (and equally important) is skin maintenance. People are always complimenting me on my skin and asking what I do to keep it this way. It’s not as hard as it sounds. I use a very mild, very fine grain exfoliating facial scrub regularly – about 2 to 3 times a week. Gently exfoliating (GENTLY) scrubs away tired, dead cells and speeds up the skin renewal process allowing fresh new cells to take the place of the old ones you’ve scrubbed away. It can help brighten and smooth your skin.
Find a scrub that has small round particles – like little beads – not jagged particles – the jagged ones can really irritate your skin. If you’re unsure about the shape – rub a small amount on the back of your hand – you’ll be able to tell the difference right away. Do not rub your face really hard with a scrub – that will only irritate your skin. “Gently and regularly” is the rule for exfoliating. Don’t forget to moisturize after you’ve cleaned your face. Leaving it dry with no moisture will only encourage your oil glands to produce excess oils – not great for clear skin. Then, once a quarter (if you can), get a professional spa facial for a really deep clean.
There you have it. My simple and easy skin lifestyle routine. It’s never too late to start. And, don’t forget your sunscreen!