I’m reaching into the mail bag today to answer one of most frequently asked questions I get from readers and it has nothing to do with food or weight it’s…SKIN! The No. 1 question by far is asked by those with a phobia for getting loose skin if they achieve a big weight loss. This one always puzzles me because I was so excited about being on a healthy path, disconnecting from the destruction of binge-eating, and getting lighter by the month that well, it must have slipped my mind to obsess on something as superfluous as loose skin. Isn’t that kind of like winning the lottery and complaining about getting the goods in 10’s and 20’s instead of $100 dollar bills? But the loose skin topic isn’t what we’re discussing today.
Instead, I direct you to the skin you own from the neck up…the calling card presented to the world in person and in photographs. I get compliments on skin whose glow is equal parts genetics and well-tended care. I’ve always cared about my skin. Back in my eating days when my weight was out of control it was one of the few things in my life I felt I had a handle on. From the age of 14, I delved with abandon into the proper nourishment and maintenance of skin. Over the years it has morphed from oily to normal to a little dry with age and menopause. My aim isn’t to stop the clock, but to simply have it run on time with no malfunctions.
A short list of do’s and don’ts might be useful. I live by them, keeping in mind that healthy skin, like staying in shape, is a discipline and a certain amount of time is required for it. However, it’s not realistic for most of us to put in inordinate amounts of time or procedures. I do facials a few times a year when I’m in the mood for pampering but other than that, it’s daily upkeep:
- I use a variety of products ranging from baby shampoo (because it cleans without stripping oils) and Dr. Murad’s AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser for washing away the day’s residue
- I love Ayurvedic principles and respect the philosophy that one should never put something one’s skin that one would not eat. Not always do-able, but I aspire to do it as often as I can. As in the case with:
- Removing make up with olive oil or almond oil. The skin loves it!
- Exfoliating with coffee grounds. I know it sounds wacky, but the oils and acid in the coffee gently eat away at the dead surface cells and leave skin soft and moist unlike anything I’ve tried. It is very messy, but worth it. And my pale skin is left with a much needed burnished glow.
- Never ever EVER go to bed with make up on. Night time is when skin needs to breath and restore itself. Make up and/or the day’s grime impedes the process.
- I don’t bake in the sun or indoor tan. When I’m outdoors I wear a visor and sunscreen. All I can say is…it pays off.
- Think good thoughts whenever possible. Be grateful. Release resentments in whatever ways work best for you. Stress and unhappiness are eventually worn in one way or another
- Exercise! Walk, hike, stretch, pedal, unfurl your yoga mat. It’s all good.
- Alcohol and sugar age skin. I get a pass with the alcohol ‘cause I don’t like it and never have. But sugar’s a different story and I’ve had to tame that urge for a variety of reasons and feel much better for it.
- Never underestimate the power of oil. I’ve tried moisturizers in every compound combination and price range possible and nothing feels or looks as good on my skin as oil. Stay FAR away from mineral oil because it clogs pores but embrace natural oils such as almond, coconut, rosehip seed, and Ayurvedic oils. My favorite is Sarada and is imbued with minerals from clay banks in India. Love this stuff! Put it on every morning.
- At night, I let my skin do its thing and regenerate with the help of White Astringent from Janet Sartin and oil around the eyes and on the upper lip, areas which are both prone to wrinkles.
- And the best most plumping and nourishing stuff for lips I’ve ever tried: Blistex Medicated Lip Ointmet in a tube. It looks like Elmer’s Glue and it’s billed as a remedy for cold sores and fever blisters. That’s OK! It’s out of this world and saves my lips from shriveling with age every single day! I owe it a lot.
So that’s it….my cache of secrets and practices. I’m not on the payroll for any of the above, I just like their stuff. Try some or all of my advice and let me know how you like it. Sundays are perfect for a little self care, so go get your coffee grounds and start scrubbing! But gently…you don’t want to rupture any capillaries.