January 1st is the time of year when many renew their commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Popular resolutions include losing weight, eating healthier, increasing one’s spiritual practice and/or practicing more patience with that family member or friend who can really work our nerves (we all have one!) but, what about being more intentional about loving our skin? After all, our skin is our largest organ, our first line of defense against bad bacteria and infections and is often a direct reflection of our internal health.
For years, I had a victim mentality when it came to my skin. I believed people were either blessed with good skin or cursed with bad skin. Furthermore, I thought good skin was perfect skin and perfect skin to me was defined as having 100% even skin tone that was totally free from acne and scarring. In my thirties, I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycycstic ovary syndrome). PCOS skin side effects include an overproduction of oil, acne and excess hair growth on your face. And while I wasn’t on the far end of the “bad skin” spectrum, I did my best to cover up every scar and blemish with the heaviest foundation I could find. Instead of being intentional about loving my skin, I was chasing the elusive goal of “perfect good skin”. Instead of achieving perfect skin by covering it up, I have since realized that the better and more loving and empowering way is to be intentional about having healthier skin. So, if you are ready to add loving your skin to your 2020 goals, here are 4 effective action steps to help kick-start your 2020 healthy skin journey.
1. Eat (or drink) Your Veggies! I am probably giving your flashback of your mom saying that to you as a child. Well, she was right. There are many studies that prove a healthy diet results in healthy skin. Most of us know this. The challenge is putting it into practice. I am still learning how to incorporate more vegetables in my diet. In general, I don’t find eating veggies that exciting. But, I have found that I love drinking my veggies! On any given day you can find me blending up a smoothie that includes a base of kale and spinach. The difference in my skin is amazing! It only took a couple of weeks for me to notice that my skin was looking better, brighter and healthier. And that difference on the outside meant that on the inside, my skin cells were high-fiving each other, operating at their best and screaming THANK YOU!
2. Reevaluate Your Skincare Products. Here is an easy tip; the simpler the ingredients list and easier to pronounce, the healthier it is for your skin. A long and complex ingredient list means that the product is full of synthetic chemicals and these chemicals in the long-run do more harm than good (read my blog on the top ingredients to avoid in your skincare products). Scientific studies now show that the benefits of having healthy bacteria on our skin far outweigh having skin that is routinely exposed to harsh face cleansers. See my blog on Oil Washing for an effective way to cleanse and feed your skin. You can also make your own gentle face cleanser with natural castile soap, tone your skin with essential oils and use natural carrier oils such as jojoba oil and avocado oil as a healthy face moisturizer. As much as possible, incorporate plant-based products into your skincare regime.
3. Go Bare! In an interview with the Tribune, dermatologist Dr. Ijaz Ahmed said that makeup is the root cause of acne or skin problems for over 30% of her patients. Wearing makeup increases our skin’s exposure to additional toxins, bad bacteria and causes a build-up of dead skin cells. I know from personal experience that going makeup free can be very uncomfortable, scary and a true stretch of one’s self-confidence. If it is your first time, this action definitely requires baby steps. I started by going to Wal-mart makeup free early in the morning. I figured there would be less people there, less chance to see someone I know and I could be in and out fast! Yes, I had to muster up all the courage that I had but when I came home, I felt so empowered! And while I am not 100% bare faced all of the time, I definitely do most of my weekend errands with little to no make-up on which brings me to our last 2020 kick-start action step.
4. Choose Face Friendly Foundations. When I do wear make-up, instead of looking for foundation formulations with the maximum coverage and longest staying power, I now look for natural foundations that offer coverage without heavy and damaging ingredients. For women of darker complexions, finding a natural foundation that matches your skin tone may take more trials than those with lighter skin but there are options available. To find the right one for you, you may need to go to the internet versus your local department store. Currently, I use Bare Minerals powder foundation as I find it to be very lightweight, offers a smooth finish and it does not contain many of the harmful ingredients commonly found in other foundations. I found a great article that lists 17 Best Natural Foundations at www.blissfulmiss.com.
Let’s make a commitment in 2020 to no longer blindly follow the elusive path of perfection but to build our own path by intentionally taking actions to really love our skin.