Did you know that the sun can give you crow’s feet? No, I’m not talking about some ancient mythical superstition. It turns out that rocking a pair of shades does more than just make you feel a little bit like a paparazzi-evading celebrity. Sunglasses are also a key weapon in your skincare arsenal, as they help minimize the daylight hours you spend squinting your peepers into those dreaded little side-wrinkles. We’re all familiar with the “keep away from eyes” warning on the back of our sunscreen bottles. Pairing an eye cream with SPF and a good pair of sunglasses is a great way to protect your eyes *and* the sensitive skin around them from harmful UV rays all year long.
What other “dynamic duos” can we count on to take care of our body’s largest (and most visible) organ? With approximately 20 square feet of skin enveloping us, it’s a great opportunity—a responsibility, even—to treat every last inch of it with some TLC. Here are a couple more two-pronged tips for treating your skin right, from head to toe.
While we’re already talking about the skin on your face, let’s work backwards a bit and start with the end of your day. I know you’re probably exhausted at that point, and just want to hit the sack already, but first, take a few minutes to wash your face and remove any makeup (and sweat) that is left there. Whether it’s lathering over the sink or using a makeup remover pad while you’re, ahem, sitting in the bathroom, it’s crucial that your face shed the remains of the day before it hits your pillow. Speaking of which, when was the last time you changed the linens on your bed? Even if you don’t get to the whole set, it is highly recommended to change at least your pillowcase once a week. This way, you won’t end up contaminating your pristine, makeup-free face with whatever grimy residue has been building up on your pillow since the last time its cover was replaced. I’m talking everything from naturally-shed skin cells, to the inevitable drool (you know you do it), to the occasional runny-nose deposits…not to mention the smudges of leftover eye shadow and foundation that you were too dog-tired to clean off a few nights ago! Who wants to sleep with their face in that? Nobody. So: Clean face, meet clean pillowcase.
Next, you may already know that letting your skin get too dry can actually cause it to produce even more oil to try to compensate for the lack of hydration. Oil is not the same as moisture, though, and it is important to maintain the latter in order to control the former. Moisturizers, themselves, serve the dual purpose of hydration and protection, but being that different skin types require different moisturizers, you need to make sure you’re choosing the right one. A person with especially dry skin will want to use heavier creams to lock in moisture, while someone with oily skin should look for lighter, noncomedogenic, oil-free moisturizers, which won’t clog pores. Furthermore, you shouldn’t use the same lotion on your face as you do on the rest of your body, or you might end up with irritation or breakouts. We also need to be mindful of special skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, and the like, as those details will determine the kind of products we should or shouldn’t use. This brings us to the second piece of this tip…food and drink! Don’t worry; I’m not suggesting that you start snacking on your lotions. Rather, I wanted to emphasize that your body’s sensitivities need to be respected on both the outside *and* the inside. Like moisturizers, our diet serves multiple purposes. We eat and drink for the immediate benefit of energy and satiation (and because it tastes good), as well as to build up immunity, so to speak, and to maintain our health in the long term. (You take those frequent trips to the water cooler for good reason…doctor’s orders!) Accordingly, just as you would avoid using a cream if you discovered you were allergic to its fragrance (one of the most common culprits of skincare-related allergies), so, too, you should note any sensitivity to certain foods and learn to avoid things that trigger any unusual reactions. A slight reddening of the face upon eating garlic, for example, even without experiencing troubled breathing or all-out hives, can indicate a mild allergy. Any strange response to external or internal stimuli is a vital piece of information that you can and should use to help you achieve your best health. When you are in tune with your body, you can better take care of its many needs. So: Hydrate and protect your body, both inside and out, with proper nutrition and moisturizing habits.