Today, I’m obliging another reader request: a few of you have asked about my skin care routine, so I’ll go into it. First, let me state that as far as products go, there’s no one product that works for everyone – except – and this is a HUGE except – SUNSCREEN.
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. I cannot emphasize the importance of sunscreen enough.
After my recent mole-mapping (skin cancer check), the dermatologist remarked that my skin “looks at least 20 years younger than it is, and it’s entirely because of your use of sunscreen.”
Contrary to popular belief, if my skin looks young, it’s not because I’m half-Asian. According to the dermatologist, I didn’t inherit Asian skin. I inherited English skin, which is from my biological father’s side. The key is SUNSCREEN, and also certain behaviors, which I’ll get into in a minute.
First, I’ll continue on about sunscreen, because I’m absolutely fanatical about it, and I believe that all of you should be fanatical about it, too.
(I know I’ve talked about this before. I’m happy to talk about it again. It’s really that important.)
Sunscreen (plus covering up in direct sunlight, but SUNSCREEN SUNSCREEN SUNSCREEN) could save your life. I did “tan” and unwittingly sunburn myself on ski slopes and beaches when I was younger, so I’m already at high risk for skin cancer. There’s nothing I can do about that. It’s like quitting smoking… I quit when I was 23, but the fact is that I’m an ex-smoker, and that puts me at higher risk for lung cancer (than the general non-smoking population). Point being, the damage has been done.
But it’s never too late. We can turn our behaviors around to prevent high-risk from becoming higher-risk and then hope for the best, right? Right.
Moving on to what I do:
- Wear lots of sunscreen and avoid direct sunlight. I put on sunscreen even if it’s overcast outside, and even if I’m not leaving the house that day at all.
- Drink a lot of water (for hydration).
- Avoid alcohol (to prevent dehydration, which leads to loss of skin elasticity and subsequent formation of wrinkles and sagging).
- Greatly limit consumption of sugar and other simple carbs such as white bread, white rice, white potatoes, and white pasta (simple sugars age your skin from the inside by breaking down skin elasticity and causing inflammation via insulin level spiking, which also breaks down skin elasticity).
- Avoid smoking.
- Take certain supplements (I list mine below).
- I eat more processed food than I should, but I do try to balance my diet with fresh fruit and veggies (for veggies, I mostly prefer greens, cruciferous vegetable, and salads).
I take supplements every day. These include the following, which are good for your skin:
- Vitamin A (collagen production)
- Collagen (I primarily take it for my joints, but it has the same positive effect on skin)
- Flax seed oil capsules (omega-3 fatty acids)
- Green tea capsules (antioxidants)
Now for topical skin-care. I like to layer products. As with most everything, you’ll see experts advising this, and you’ll also see experts advising against this. Do what works for you!
Here’s what I do, in order:
- Eye cream
- Mist with water
- Gentle cleanser
- Vitamin E facial oil (with serum)
- Eye cream
- Mist with water
- Night cream
(I mist my face with water before putting on moisturizer because moisturizer works by locking in moisture. If there’s no moisture on your skin to begin with, the moisturizer is out of a job, and you’re wasting time and money.)
Once a week: Facial mask
- I never rub my face dry. Instead, I press the towel onto my skin in different places, just to absorb the water. Skin hates it when you rub it with a towel. Skin also hates to be bone-dry.
- I never go to bed with make-up on.
- I use those white, non-latex triangle sponges for make-up application. I’ll take one and run it under water and then lightly squeeze a tissue around it, so it’s a little damp. I never wash and re-use them… I use a fresh one every time.
- In sunscreens, I look for a broad-spectrum formula with SPF 30 and the highest concentration of zinc oxide I can find. Every single day. Rain or shine. Going out or not.
- Any “anti-aging” products I use are from the drugstore. I haven’t ventured into the realm of prescription anti-aging products yet. The drugstore has some good products that aren’t tested on animals, and they’re much more affordable than high-end products, of course. While I have tried some high-end products, I always go back to drugstore products.
- I keep my face make-up very light; I don’t like to feel my skin suffocating beneath heavy foundation. (<– I’m not sure how valid this concern is, but it’s my feeling for myself.)
Things I should be doing
- I should be getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night (still working on it).
- I should eat less processed food (at least I get in some fresh foods every day, too, as mentioned above).
Now to return to SUNSCREEN.
Here’s the scary thing: I’ve seen people on YouTube sharing their skin care routines, and I’m shocked by how many of them – pretty much all of them – omit sunscreen completely. They go from moisturizer straight to make-up. So while it’s never too late to start using sunscreen daily, I’m especially looking at you, younger people: Start now with the sunscreen. It could SAVE YOUR LIFE, and you’ll preserve your skin in the process.
Have I used enough repetition, caps, and italics regarding sunscreen? Good. My work here is done!