Thursday, April 19, 2012

And In My Heart You'll Always Stay Forever Young

Isn't it the goal of most women to age gracefully and look younger than we are?  Well it's definitely mine.  We have lots of options today. I joke about plastic surgery with my friends but frankly, it scares me and Botox really scares me. It's everyone's right to choose what they want for themselves but I don't think those things are for me. I prefer to work on prevention so that as I  get older people will always be guessing my age. I don't mind telling people how old I am.  I've earned every bit of these 44 years.  I used to think a tan made me look young and healthy.  Boy was I wrong.  Healthy skin makes me look young and healthy.  Some of you have asked what I do to take care of my skin and about the products I use.  Here are the details.

Lucky for me, I was given good genes. My mom has beautiful skin.  She has never worn much makeup and she's not one for sunning herself.  I made some bad choices in my teens and twenties and when I was growing up, we thought SPF 4 was mega sunscreen.  Because of that I've started to get some brown spots on my nose.  Those show up in your 30s and 40s because of the sunburns you got in your earlier years.  Those long days at the beach and the pool have caught up with me. I go to the dermatologist and am using products to even out those spots. Now I work constantly on prevention.  For the past 20 years, I've stuck to a simple philosophy,  wear sunscreen every day, take my make up off every night, moisturize and protect my skin when I'm in the sun.  Good genes are great but they don't replace taking care of your skin.

Wear Sunscreen
Every day before I apply my make-up (which also contains SPF), I apply moisturizer or a combo of moisturizer and foundation with an SPF of at least 25.  I sit in an office all day but I go out at lunch and drive in my car.  You'd be surprised at how much sun exposure you get on an average day.

Wash My Face Before Bed (Take off my make up)
Cleansing your skin is so important to it's health.  Even if you aren't a make-up junky like I am, your face collects dirt and oil during the day.  Washing your face nightly helps new cells to grow and your skin to look fresh.  Exfoliating every few days is also important. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, allowing your moisturizer to reach your dryer skin plump those cells. When I teach skin care classes, I use a jar just like this to demonstrate skin growth.

This jar is like the layers of your skin

Your firm new skin cells are like grapes. They are full of moisture and they are plump.  As they get older and more dry they start to look like raisins. When they die completely they become like cornflakes. If you apply moisturizer on top of the corn flake layer it may soak down a little between the flakes but it won't get to the dry skin cells (raisins) to help moisturize them. They will dry out faster and become like cornflakes.  When you exfoliate, the moisturizer goes directly on those dry skin cells. There are amazing products available like the Clarisonic Mia but you can also use something as simple as a regular wash cloth.  Using your regular cleanser, just scrub lightly in a circular motion.  You only need to exfoliate every few days.  If your skin is sensitive, doing it more often can cause irritation.

Now that you've washed your face and exfoliated, apply moisturizer.  I moisturize morning and evening.  If you're prone to breakouts, choose an oil free option.  For those with sensitive skin, you can select a moisturizer that is fragrance free and made for sensitive skin.  I use a moisturizer with SPF during the day and one without SPF at night.  I also moisturize my neck and décolleté (upper chest) area. These areas get a great deal of sun and they are often neglected.  Because of this your neck area can also show creases and wrinkles and lose elasticity early.

Protect My Skin
Even though I'm careful with my skin I still love the beach and being outdoors and we have a pool in our back yard. I take extra steps during these sun filled times. I wear a hat, either a ball cap or sun hat when I'm going to be outside without shade.  I wear higher SPF lotion on my face.  At the beach and pool I wear an SPF of  70+.  I also wear full body sunscreen.  If possible I stay in a shaded area like under an umbrella, awning or tree.  Reapplying sunscreen is key when you are in the water or being active. Sweat and water reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen.  You should also reapply every every 2 hours regardless of activity.  This ensures that you have the maximum protection.  I've had several friends that have had skin cancer scares and one even had to have surgery.  My blogger friend Alison (Long Distance Loving) and her friend Danielle started a group called Sun Savvy.  They both had skin cancer scares and are on a mission to educate others. They have some great information on their site.

There are so many great products available now for skin care, SPF and moisturizing.  I couldn't possibly name them all but I'm going to give you the lowdown on what I use daily.

Cleanse - Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser: Recently, my skin has been easily irritated.  I've used Cetaphil on and off for many years and now I'm back on.  I think this time for good. It has cleared up my skin and still removes my make up thoroughly  without drying.  I use it along with Mary Kay Oil Free Eye Make-Up remover (an Allure magazine beauty winner).

SPF - Neutrogena:  I love Neutrogena SPF lotions.  They work like a charm and don't irritate my skin.  I've been using the sensitive skin formula recently (along with my SPF foundation) for day.  Usually, I swear by the Healthy Defense Liquid Moisturizer.  It's light as a feather and isn't greasy.  Neutrogena has SPF lotions is a wide range of levels and for all types of skin.

Exfolliate - TimeWise® Microdermabrasion Set: This two step process removes all of the dead skin cells and makes my skin feel fresh and smooth without stripping it.  Step one uses dermatologist quality exfoliating particles and step two replenishes and soothes my skin. When my skin is irritated I just use a wash cloth and some Cetaphil cleanser to exfoliate. 

Moisturize - Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream (Fragrance Free):  I love the way this cream has started to smooth some of my deeper facial lines (like the ones on my forehead).  It's gentle but effective. I wear it at night to get the maximum benefit. This product has gotten raves from Allure magazine readers for quite a few years.

Protect - Sun Hats: My favorite hat is from the San Diego Hat company.  I bought it in Key West many years ago and I take it on every beach vacation.  It's flexible and easy to pack. I can fold it or stuff it with clothes. It doesn't take up much room in my suitcase. I've spotted similar San Diego Hat company hats at Marshalls and Loehmann's. My fedora is from Target (a few seasons ago). They have a great selection this year.  I'm always tempted to add to my collection. 

Doing right by your skin may seem like it takes a ton of time but really it doesn't.  It's a habit for me after all of these years and when someone is shocked at my age, I'm really glad I took that time.  Those 15 or 20 minutes you spend now will pay off in the future. 

The title of today's post is a line from the song, "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart.

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