Published on June 12th, 2013 | by Karin Jenkins0
Take it Off…Take it All Off
As the weather gets warmer, we are showing more and more of our skin. Most of us had the biggest share of our skin covered up with warm clothing for several months. Now it is time to inspect the winter damage and prepare to expose our skin to the summer season. For me, putting on a swimsuit for the first time of the year is a horrifying thought. There is so much whiteness that I need dark glasses to look at myself. Actually, the older I get, the less I really look. I like to go to my “happy place” of swimsuit seasons from the late 1900’s.
Thankfully, there are several ways to make people, like me, feel better about “taking it off.”
For the entire body, I suggest a warm bath twice a week. Prepare enough time to truly soak your entire body in the water. Wash with a gentle cleansing soap and then take a loofah sponge and slough off the dry, dead skin before you get out of the tub. Pat your skin dry with a clean towel (never rub and irritate your skin) and then apply a body lotion. I like to add a few drops of essential oil to my lotion to feel extra soft and moisturized. I may still be white, but at least I won’t feel like I have the skin of an albino alligator! Let your body air dry a bit before dressing.
The skin is the largest organ of the human body. (For some of us, it may be larger than others!) You have a great deal of control over the texture, clarity, suppleness and long-term health of your skin just based on how you cleanse and how often you cleanse. Cleansing is without a doubt the most important part of your basic skin care routine. In other words, if you don’t keep your skin clean – your skin will eventually stink and no one will want to be your friend. Keep reading…
What I really want to bring extra attention to today is our facial cleansing. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman, young or old – you need to take certain steps in properly cleaning and caring for your skin.
First, choose a cleanser that is suitable to your particular skin care needs. No soap for the face and throat area. I may be mistaken, but I believe it is against the law… somewhere.
Wash your hands thoroughly before you wash your face or you will be working more dirt and germs into your delicate facial skin. Secure your hair with a headband, clips, or towel to keep it away from your face.
Moisten your face with water, then apply a small amount of cleanser to the palms of your hands. Work up a slight lather, and then gently massage your face and throat area with your finger tips. Rinse and repeat if you had a lot of makeup on or are just really dirty. This is not the time to save on water. Be sure to rinse your entire facial area like there is no tomorrow.
Next, exfoliate your skin while it is still wet. Why, you might ask? Well, there are several reasons… Exfoliating your skin makes your skin really soft. It brightens your complexion, and can help fight hyperpigmentation by sloughing off the brown spots and diminishing them over time.
Exfoliating can help prevent acne, but a chemical exfoliant for acne prone skin acts like your natural enzymes that assist in dissolving the dead skin cells that build up and clog pores. Pores are tiny openings on the surface of the skin. You can develop acne-causing blocked pores if they are not kept clean.
Exfoliating the dull, dead layer of skin can smooth things out and can actually stimulate new skin cells when you exfoliate regularly. I gently exfoliate once a day, but as long as you remember three or four times a week, your skin will still reap the benefits.
Last week, my husband and I went swimming with the dolphins in the Bahamas. One thing our instructor said really perked up my pointy little ears. While we were hugging and petting these ever-so-soft, beautiful creatures, we were told that a dolphin’s skin exfoliates itself up to six times a day! So there you have it. If you want to feel as soft as a dolphin – Exfoliate!
Last, but not least – Exfoliating helps prep your skin to better absorb skin care treatments. Dead, dry skin cells can prevent all the goodness of your serums and moisturizers and targeted treatments from penetrating to their maximum potential. In other words, if you are not going to go to the effort of properly prepping your skin, then you might as well just dump your products down the drain because they aren’t going to do the work or make the “magic” happen on their own!
Now here comes the extra effort I really need you to pay attention to. About once a week – after you have cleansed and exfoliated your skin, I would like you to do a deep clean by using steam on your facial area. This can be as simple as covering the back of your head and neck with a bath towel and standing over a steaming bowl of water, or you can purchase a facial steamer at most discount stores for about $25.00 (or less) for those times in between your scheduled facial visits with your professional Esthetician. You can also stay in a nice, steaming shower a little longer with the warm water on your face. Enjoy the steam for five or ten minutes and really let it open your pores and get to the “gunk” that has been stuck down in your pores; whether it is makeup, excess oils, sweat, dirt, dust, suntan lotions, or dead skin cells. You need to get it cleaned out or you will continue to fight those unattractive blackheads and whiteheads with a potential “snow-ball” effect of full-blown acne. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Before your face can cool down and your pores snap closed like tiny little mouse traps, use an astringent on a cotton pad and clean your face and throat. After you have gently patted your face dry with a clean, soft towel, of course, you will be shocked at what you see after you thought you really cleaned your face!
You are now in the homestretch!
Follow up this process with a good moisturizer and then, depending on which direction you are going, jump into bed and get your beauty sleep, or continue on with your makeup and start your day. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Keep the supplies you need ready for easy access. I have two sets of cleanser and exfoliant at our house, so whether I take a bath or shower – I have it when and where I need it.
I have one quick tip to help you get a jump on acne break-outs or development of blackheads as we head into our warmest time of the year. If you are very active outdoors where you will get sweaty and possibly dirty – keep something with you such as medicated cleansing pads or a small bottle of astringent and cotton pads, and clean your facial area before you get into your cool air-conditioned house or car and allow those dirty little pores to slam shut. Your face will thank you by looking awesome every time you look at yourself in the mirror!
* Special thank you to my husband David and daughter Tara Schile for being my models.