How to Ride Off Into the Sunset With Your Skin

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

skin in your thirties
photo: Joshua Franzos
I turned 37 years old in February and I have to admit that "aging gracefully" has been on my mind a lot. Things have been slowly changing since I've turned thirty. When I say things, I'm talking about my skin. My skin is changing. When I look at my bare naked skin, aside from its tendency to be dry, extremely sensitive, and annoyingly freckled, it's still pretty great. But I remember that day I noticed it was different. It was no longer the twenty year old skin that I took for granted. I was about thirty-thirty-one and I'd put on the same go-to foundation I'd been using for the past five years and I noticed that it had settled into all the fine lines and creases I thought I didn't have. I suddenly didn't look like the person I'd seen in the mirror all my life. So I changed up the foundation and made a few other lifestyle tweaks that have significantly slowed down the visual aging process for me. So gather round and listen up.
  1.  No more sun exposure without protection- I ignored my mother's advice and tanned until I was 23. I now wish I hadn't. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I thought my own skin color was too pale and olive and that the sun helped it looked better. So not true. If I could tell my teenage self anything it would be to knock the tanning off! So how did I get comfortable in my own pale skin? My husband. He calls me his fair maiden, isn't that sweet? Also,he's a photographer and I watch him light and digitally adjust tonal values on people's skin a lot. All skin colors look great when they're lit well, so don't compare your skin to skin tones you see in a magazine! And further, it  may or may not have helped that tv vampires with beautiful porcelain skin became de rigueur and it suddenly dawned on me that ALL skin colors are beautiful and to be appreciated. SO, stop baking! It only looks like damaged and stressed skin anyway. Be cool with and work with your natural skin color, cuz it's unique and beautiful! Ok? Now protect yourself from sun damage with hats and sun screen. Your future self will thank you up and down. PROMISE. (I wish I had a great sunscreen to recommend, but I'm still searching for a good, non-chemical one. It remains elusive so far).
  2.  RBF  - stop it. stop it right now. My then BF, now husband pointed it out to me...and I noticed at age thirty, that I was on the cusp of getting a line where my eyebrows scrunch together from thinking too hard. I started to recognize when I was doing it and I STOPPED...and so did the formation of the crease for many years. I instead became a "resting Blank facer." Unfortunately, the first draft of my book was emotional and tortuously intense in the last six months of writing it, so I think my "thinker" line and my left eyebrow raising wrinkle is finally settled back in on my face for keeps. So to all my fellow young RBFers, it's your choice and all, I'm not telling you to smile, cuz I know how annoying that is, but a little self RBF facial awareness and censure can do wonders for prolonging a face without the tortured soul lines.
  3.  You're probably not going to like this one, but EXERCISE - Maintaining a healthy weight is great. But gaining muscle is better because it is the foundation for your skin to rest upon. Think about it. Clothes lie better over a toned body, and so does your skin. So build some muscle. Also, when you work out, you sweat out all those toxins in your largest organ, yo skin. Workout=instant skin detox.
  4. You'll like this one. Wine and Chocolate - There's medical evidence that Reservatrol, a substance found in wine and chocolate, has life-enhancing/extending properties. So go coo-coo for cocoa and Chateaunuef du papes.  
  5.  Healthy fats and whole milk - Let's talk about milk. I did this test once. I ate a bowl of rice chex with a cup of whole milk and was sated. The next day, I ate four bowls of rice chex with 2-3- cups of skim milk before I felt sated. The calories were more than double that of the first day. Fat isn't the bad guy, especially the kind that comes from wild caught fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, coconut cream/oils. I find that when I increase my fat consumption, I am satisfied quicker, hungry less, and eat less over all. And also, my skin and hair reap the benefits of fat, especially omega fatty acids.
  6. I'm not good at this one, but WATER - The more water you drink, the more beautiful you become. Your skin plumps (in a good way) and smooths out fine lines I should take my own advice and drink more water. I struggle with this one, but you know. I get knocked down and I get up again. 
  7. Gluten free - I tried a Gluten free diet for two weeks, just to prove to my know-it-all sister that I was fine on wheat. Bum-Bum-Bum...turns out, when I eliminated the gluten from my diet. Everything in my life got bettter. Skin problems, stomach issues, and asthma- gone. I was able to get off of nine different prescription medications for asthma and allergies and rashes. It was so momentous that I was completely fine telling my sister she had been totally right all along. My diet is so much more diverse and healthy without wheat. I eat all kinds of vegetables and other grains and legumes to make up for those missing carbs, and to top it all off, more vitamins and minerals from veggies equals better looking skin. Win-win-win.
  8. Skin Care - Here's the product dump, but I should start with the caveat that I have DRY and EXTREMELY sensitive skin, but, I occasionally break out like a teenager. (so what works for me, may not work for you if your skin doesn't fall into that annoying category). I have very few choices for skincare because I'm pretty much allergic to anything from the common drugstore. So, the more natural the product is, and fewer ingredients it has, the better. I try my best to avoid: parabens, phthlates, sulfates, fillers, petrochemicals, TEA, DEA, PEGs, glycols, perfumes, and colorants as much as possible. Some of my favorite products that I found that fit this 'Princess and the Pea' bill are below:

Micellar Water: I start by cleaning the day grime and make-up off my face with micellar water on a cotton ball. Garnier Miceller Water All-in-1 Waterproof  (available at drug stores or, here)- since I added this to my routine, I breakout about once a year (as opposed to monthly), though I might trade up to Caudelie Micellar Cleansing Water, (here) because it's much more natural.  

Facial Brush: the Clarisonic Mia 2, here. For a squeaky clean face.
Cleanser: Acure sensitive skin facial cleanser; it smells like banana beer to me, yum! (at Whole Foods or here) or Jonathan Masters Organics Rose Foaming Face Wash, here.  
Masks: Andalou Instant Age Defying 8 Berry Fruit Enzyme Face Mask. This mask exfoliates with enzymes, making my skin clear and so soft. It's cheap and available in a sample size at Whole Foods or here
If my skin is pissed off, and I need an extra moisturizing and calming mask, Jonathan Masters Calendula Hydrating and Toning Mask is a life saver. At some Giant Eagles or here. 

Serum: Caudelie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum. This one kills me because it's $79 and I hate that, but it really works. I never wanted to be someone who spends more than $60 on face care, but my skin is clearer, brighter, prettier, so uugghh, I reluctantly suck it up. Here.

Moisturizer: Dr. Roebucks Anti-Aging FACE. -You guys. This moisturizer has BLOWN me away. I first put this on at night, when I had flaky, dry eczema patches on my face. I woke up to dewy skin. DEWY skin. I've never freaking had DEWY skin! I use it morning and night. It's surprisingly great under makeup because it's incredibly moisturizing, but not greasy; I could write a whole blog post about how much I love this product, but I won't. I found it at my local Sephora or, here

Misty Waters: I like to keep a bottle of Jason Wu for Caudalie Beauty Elixir at my desk so I can mist it on through out the day. I find the all natural scent energizing too. At night, right before I hit the pillow, a little ritual of mine is mist my face and neck with rosewater. Rosewater was part of Cleopatra's beauty ritual btw. Rose oils do all sorts of glorious things for all types of skin, but the real truth is, my skin loves the extra boost of moisture and I love the smell of roses right before I fall asleep.

*Farsali  Unicorn Essence: I just started using this product a week ago. It's a combined serum and makeup primer and I love it. I've used makeup primers in the past (I'm looking at you Smashbox and Benefit) and I've never liked them. They felt to slippery and my make up felt like it was going to glide right off my face...and I also became too aware of the way primers felt on my face...heavy and that's not good. This is not the case with the Unicorn essence. It moisturizes and has an invisibly tacky feel, if that makes any sense...Farsali unicorn essence feels like it grips onto my makeup, and then when it's on, it feels like I'm not wearing makeup or just feels like my skin isn't dry. And if my skin isn't dry, my makeup isn't sinking into my fine lines and creases. Again, it's not a cheap product, so I'm still evaluating if it is truly worth the $54.(It will help if it lasts awhile.) But so far I'm really loving the way this serum/primer helps my skin to look younger and great all day long. You can nab Farsali Unicorn Essence here, or get a sample from Sephora and try it out for yourself. 

         9. Foundation Polygamy -  Sometimes your skin matures out of products (or sometimes product formulations are changed). So what worked for you for years, may no longer work for you and it's not your fault. You just need to find one that works for you in the present, and...I'm still looking. It's hard to find a foundation that isn't drying to my skin (and accentuating of fine lines) but has medium to full coverage (I like to downplay my freckles). So I bounce around a lot. I have my two foundation wives, Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish SPF15 Foundation in Natural. Nordstrom keeps it in stock, here. I also really love Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation, especially for photo shoots, here. I want to wear it all the time, but I tend to put it up on a pedestal. I don't want to ruin a good thing. So instead, I have a wandering foundation eye. I'm always looking for something better. I keep having booty calls with Sephora 10 hr Wear Perfection foundation because one of my favorite bloggers recommended it, but I don't love the way it feels on my skin..too heavy...but I'm also reluctant to throw it out because that's's so annoying to be me sometimes(!) I'm also having a tryst with YSL Touche Eclat Le Teint foundation(here) mixed with a drop of Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid foundation (here), but it's really only because I bought one too light and one too dark and lost the receipts to both ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Just call me Dona Juanita.

         10. Sleep - Not getting enough is the thing that seems to age you the most. So do your best to get enough. But I know. I know. I have a new puppy. I know. It's serious. It could beThe Smiths song,I know.

EXTRA CREDIT: Did you know there's an extra credit element to riding off into the sunset with your skin? Well there is. You too can happily ride off into the sunset with you skin just like the Marlboro man, so long as you don't actually smoke cigarettes like the Marlboro man. I won't go into all the other reasons you shouldn't smoke, You know em. If you want ageless skin to an indeterminate age, don't ever start and/or quit while you're ahead. And that's all folks. That's all the non-invasive skin secrets I have to date. 

Do you have dry, sensitive, aging skin? Do you have any economical beauty secrets or products you swear by? Tell me in the comments below! Thanks.

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh,

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