When I wake up, the first thing I do is head straight to the bathroom. My face gets my attention before anything else. I want to know immediately if a new pimple has emerged, if an old pimple has gotten smaller, or if I’m still glowing from the day before. I have been skin obsessed since the age of 12 and I haven’t lost any steam over the last few decades. In fact, my skin care routine has been completely elevated since then, particularly in the last 8 years. This is because as a teenager in the 90s there was no tribe, crew, or support system for those of us uniquely tapped to deal with the frustrations of acne, scarring, and textured skin. We didn’t have the myriad of skin care product to choose from or even blogs to help guide us through these trying times, nope! We just had to deal! And we certainly didn’t dare discuss these problems with anyone other than our dermatologist, because the embarrassment was an overload.
Thankfully times have changed, and you don’t have to wait 2 months to see a doctor or spend time in the pharmacy checkout line for your prescriptions. Now, you can purchase the perfect skin care relief from a hundred different websites to be delivered to your door in 24 hours, skin care ingredients are ubiquitously known, and you can tailor your skincare regimen as you see fit, now that’s progress!
After what feels like a lifetime of skin therapy and eventually a medical degree, I am going to give you my take on how to keep your skin healthy and glowing by implementing these steps to your morning routine.
- Cleanser- This step is imperative, cleaning off the makeup, oil, and bacteria is the first step to reclaiming totally gorgeous skin. Consider choosing a cleanser that incorporates things that are specific to your needs, ie. Salicylic acid for acne prone skin, as this will start the process of invigorating the skin and preparing it for the main event products. And please DO NOT sleep in your makeup!! Don’t push those pigments further into your skin creating a breeding ground for oil and bacteria to buildup and cause damage.
- Toner- This step is really to bring your skins pH back to a more acidic level so that the microbiome that lives on your skin is healthy and happy. Keeping your pH within a normal range decreases inflammation and breakouts.
- Serums- This is the main event! Think of serums as super smoothies that give your body a huge nutrient boost in just one drink. Serums have to ability to really pack in super nutrients to feed the skin what it needs on a daily basis but also give your skin what it’s been missing. Regardless of skin type and issue, I recommend everyone incorporate a serum(s) that contains, retinols (to increase healthy new skin turnover) and Vitamin C (an antioxidant that protects the skin from damage against the environment). There are so many other additives you can benefit from like, Niacinamide, Glutathione, Kojic Acid, the list is endless. Do your research to see which ingredients work best for your skin issues and type.
- Medications- As someone who is clinically diagnosed with acne, I won’t stop using my prescription RetinA. People who see me now, at age 47, remark at how young I look and how nice my skin is. I still cringe when this happens knowing what my skin used to look like. But I have to say, retinoids are likely the reason I don’t have major scarring and skin pitting from over 3 decades of pimples. If over-the-counter products aren’t cutting it for you, go see a physician, seek medical help. Prescription medications have gotten so much better over the years, and you may not have to be on them for long. Only a doctor will be able to come up with a more personalized treatment plan for dealing with your skin issues.
- Moisturizer- Everyone must moisturize, including my oily faced friends out there. Let me reiterate that I have acne prone skin. My skin is so oily you can fry chicken on my face, and even I still moisturize! This is because if you allow your skin to get dry you will enter a cycle of overproducing oil. Too much oil equals too many pimples. Use a moisturizer that is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores, but it will help slow down the oil production pathway because your skin isn’t oil starved.
- Sunscreen- We all need to protect our skin from the sun, dark skin included. Skin cancer, age spots and wrinkles are just a UV-ray away if you neglect this step. Always wear an SPF of at least 30 when leaving the house. Consider an SPF of 50-70 if you’re planning outdoor activities. And don’t forget to reapply, most sunscreens only protect for a couple of hours.
As a physician, I must also point out that your skin will have an even better glow up when you sustain a healthy balance of what you bring into your body with what you take out of it. Look to a healthier lifestyle to maintain a healthier you, it just makes sense, right? Skin is the bodies largest organ, it’s the first line of defense for keeping bad things out while keeping all the good things in. Our skin is a true reflection of our health so we can’t forget to give our health the full attention it deserves. Here are my suggestions for feeling the glow from within.
- Exercise- Try to get at least 30 min of activity a day to control metabolism and sugar index.
- Diet- Consider decreasing processed meats and dairy while increasing plant-based protein intake. Deceasing saturated fats, animal hormones and antibiotics will decrease the incidence of vascular disease which leads to high blood pressure. Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water and make sure you’re eating a diet or taking supplements that provide essential vitamins and minerals. Limit alcohol consumption as it’s very dehydrating and avoid smoking at all costs, this will accelerate aging tremendously.
- Sleep- Sleeping Beauty was beautiful because she got sleep! Your body and mind need time to rest, repair and recover itself to be at its best championship fighting condition. Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep.
- Stress reduction- Try yoga, Pilates, meditation, or simply eliminating toxic people and activities from your life. Stress ages you, increases stress hormones that cause inflammation and poor health. Mental health is as important as physical health.
Now get out there and glow! You may not be famous, but you deserve to look like you are!