What I Wish I Had Known About My Skin

June 30, 2015 • Look Good / Skincare

goldie hawn and kate hudson

Mom knows best – not just when it comes to managing the family finances and getting kids from school to soccer to saxophone lessons.

The ancient Greeks soaked in mud baths of crocodile dung to tone their skin. Queen Elizabeth applied white lead to her face for porcelain skin. And our mothers and grandmothers held aluminum foil under their chins to get that “perfect tan.”

It’s easy to look back and laugh (or cringe), but since others have already made mistakes in the pursuit of beauty, we ought to learn from them how to pursue the healthiest course for skincare.

Mom knows best – not just when it comes to managing the family finances and getting kids from school to soccer to saxophone lessons – but also when it comes to the wisdom you should have applied to your youthful skin (instead of all that damage and neglect). Wisen up and see what moms and grand-moms have to advise.

“My beautiful mother-in-law had a beauty regimen that was unwavering in its exact routine… She always removed her make up (which no one other than immediate family EVER saw her without…) In the morning, she sat down at the breakfast bar with her arsenal beside her…and began the hour-long process of applying her makeup. She still has the most beautiful skin. At 88 she has very few wrinkles.”

Penny, 59

Stop tanning

Just about every woman agrees that tanning simply isn’t worth the damage sun does to your skin. Apply sunblock faithfully, every day. Don’t go by the clouds in the sky – check the UV index (you can download an app, Sunwise). Wear an SPF 15 every day, but especially for the super white among you: if the UV index creeps over 3, consider upping to SPF 30.

Every shade of skin is beautiful, but if you really want to achieve the bronzed look, switch to self tanner. St. Tropez’s line of products are a reliable option. If you’ve never applied self-tanner before, consult their how-to video for proper technique. For best results, exfoliate beforehand – use the LUNA™ face brush to achieve a more even and natural-looking color.

“I can remember mixing iodine with baby oil, slathering it all over and then laying in the sun for hours…hoping for a beautiful tan but ending up looking like a roast beef.  Back in the late 50s and early 60s that was a tanning method used by so many and totally before the days of sunscreen!”

Nancy, 66

Moisturize daily

This might seem like straight-forward advice, but the reality is a bit more confusing. Many of us in our twenties are still battling with acne, or perhaps struggling for the first time with adult-onset acne. It’s a false logic, though, that dictates acne means oily skin, and oily skin means avoiding “greasy” moisturizers.

Acne skin still needs moisturizing! If your skin is acne-prone, continue moisturizing both in the morning and before bed as part of your skincare routine – just be cognizant of which moisturizers you’re using. Make sure to stick to oil-free products only.

“I covered my face with a white mask of Noxzema cream, every night, for 45 minutes…It would dry out, crack, and flake. I thought this was helping my skin, but in retrospect it only created blackheads around my nose area.”

Gigi, 60

Wash your makeup off before bed – and use proper makeup remover

Many people find that wearing makeup too often and not giving your skin more time to “breathe” can lead to more breakouts. Certainly falling into bed without a good facial cleansing is a recipe for acne disaster.

Matters become worse when you consider all the makeup that is left behind on your pillowcases – even if you wash your pillowcases weekly, you could be exposing your face to all the dirt, oils and old makeup put there by your unwashed face.

If you’re removing eye makeup, guard against future wrinkles and invest in a good makeup remover. Don’t rub your eyes – every time you use your hand to smear off some eyeliner or mascara, you’re contributing to future fine lines and dark circles. Afterwards, use the LUNA™anti-aging mode to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Don’t pick zits

Remember when your mother would bat your hand away from your face every time you tried to pick? She had good reason. Picking leads to scars, which, unlike pimples, may never go away. Not to mention, constantly touching your face, whether to pick or otherwise, is a surefire way to cause even more acne.

“In the 1970’s, when I was an acned teenager willing to try anything, the fad was to use a cotton ball and put milk of magnesia on the acne. You should have seen me when I went to bed. What a mess.”

JoAnn, 64

Your chest and neck deserve love, too

Remember those parts of your body? They’re not your face but you’ll be happy you took good care of them, applying moisturizer and sunblock so they maintain their health as the years go on.

Don’t smoke

Are you really shocked? Nothing ages your skin as quickly as regularly inhaling nicotine. If developing a “smoker’s face” isn’t enough reason to deter you from cigarettes, you might also consider lung disease, gum and tooth disease, and cancers of all kinds.

Drink water

Healthy, radiant skin is well-hydrated skin, and although your daily skincare routine is so important, healthy skin really begins from the inside out. Dehydrated skin is prone to flaking, dryness, tightness and wrinkling, but you can avoid it simply by drinking more water every day.

“Having oily skin was the ‘shine’ of my life – I hated it. But now that I’m in my 60’s I’m pleased that my skin looks so young due to the oils present.”

Diana, 66

What you eat matters – a lot

Remember that beautiful skin begins from the inside out. So if you needed one more reason to avoid junk food, remember that eating poorly affects way more than your waistline. Avoid processed foods and eat more low-fat, whole foods to maintain a healthy complexion.

Avoid: dairy and simple sugars (high glycemic index foods)
Eat more: fish oil, salmon, carrots, spinach, broccoli, almonds, walnuts, garlic

Work up a sweat

Regularly sweating does wonders for both mind and body – including your complexion. Just make sure to shower up immediately after exercising, and avoid scrubbing too hard to avoid irritation.

Stay positive

Maybe the best advice of all was this:

“I give advice to my daughter. Wear sunscreen religiously. Start using a really good moisturizer now. Sleep on your back. And on a silk pillow. Drink lots of water. Eat a good diet – lots of veggies and fruits.

But I also tell her this. Smile a lot. Laugh a lot. Be strong. Be confident. Take care of your body, mind and soul. Be a beautiful person. Yup, you will eventually get wrinkles. (Hopefully, you WILL get wrinkles!)  But ‘beauty’ is so subjective.  The most beautiful person in any room, at any age is the person with the most beautiful soul. And they can’t put that in jar to slather on – yet!”

Penny, 59


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