Flawless Skin Plan of Attack

Someone, I can’t remember who, once told me that the only way you could tell the pretty girls from the professional models on the streets of New York City is by looking specifically at one thing: their skin. I also have a friend’s mother who has the cleanest, brightest, most lovely face! When I asked her about it, she said she started taking care of her skin when she was 12 years old and never stopped. So, for the last number of years (not since age 12 unfortunately) I have been paying particular attention to my skin and trying to figure out the best way to make it as clear, calm, and as even as possible. And the below plan of attack is what worked for me in the end. I’m no dermatologist or beautician, BUT, like most things in life, the cures are often much more simple than we like to tell ourselves they are. I’ve found that good sleep, consistent routines, good food, and plenty of fresh air has cured almost all of my ailments to date, and any problems that required professional care beyond that was a result of having long neglected one of the above mentioned. (Am I right?!) Anyway, if you’ve been trying to improve your skin for years and feel like you have tried EVERYTHING, this might be for you. When I stick to the first two items, my skin is as good as gold. If I don’t? Well, we have concealer for a reason, right?

Flawless Skin Plan of Attack
(In order of easiest to fix to trickiest)

Are you mindlessly touching or picking at your face during the day? STOP IT. Even just rubbing or scratching can prolong breakouts, inflame sensitive skin, and aggravate pain. For those with only mild skin dilemmas, going cold-turkey and stopping to endlessly touch their face during the day can make a HUGE difference. Most blemishes go away in a day, or a couple days. But if you make that little blemish an angry scab? Your looking at weeks! So hands off. Immediately.

Fix: Don’t touch your face at all during the day for 30 days straight.
Skin all better now? Congrats!
Not yet? Continue to next item…

Inconsistency in skin care routine. You’ve had that skin your whole life, so you likely know what works for you in terms of cleansing/moisturizing/etc. So the question is, do you do it twice a day? Once a day? Every couple days? Do you fall asleep with makeup on? Committing to taking care of your skin morning and night, without fail, can only help your skin heal faster and stay looking as fresh as possible. Make it easy by enjoying the process and using products you love. Be intentional. (My go to products? Cetaphil, Estee Lauder day moisturizer, Thayer’s rose water witch hazel, and Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, but you will find what works best for you!)

Fix: Wash and moisturize, gently, both morning and night.
Skin all better now? Congrats!
Not yet? Are you still scratching/touching your face? If so, return to item #1. Master Item #1.
Not scratching, cleansing gently and consistently, and still have problems? Continue to next item…

Do you really need those products? There is a good chance that you might be over aggravating your skin by using cleansers/products that are much more harsh than your skin needs. To determine what works for you, I say start with a basic routine and stick to it for a couple weeks (a month, even) and let you skin calm down again before you move onto more serious ventures. There’s a good chance that the basics are all you really need. By “baisc” I mean: 1. don’t touch 2. Gently wash with warm water and a bit of mild cleanser (like Cetaphil) and follow with a simple, gentle moisturizer (if needed) morning and night. Emphases on the word gentle. Never fall asleep with makeup on. 3. Use moisturizer with SPF in the mornings. 4. Be consistent. That’s it.

Skin all better now? Congrats!
Not yet? I ask again…are you touching your face? are you consistent in your cleansing routines? Are you being gentle? If not, return to start.
Still not working? Continue to next item…

An additional item to keep in mind…Is there another cause? Hormonal shifts can cause changes in skin. Are you expecting? Just had a baby? About to start/finish your cycle? When things go back to normal…they will go back to normal. Do the above steps and don’t panic. Stress is also a factor. Are you able to calm down and be content everyday? Are you getting enough sleep? Finally, what is your diet like? If you eat sugar and refined carbs frequently during the week, you might try scaling that back and ingesting a lot of greens instead. Proper nutrition and exercise really make a noticeable difference in skin tone and glow.

Try mild remedies on your own. Start with the basics, and use a little over the counter remedy if needed. Remember to begin with the smallest doses of things like salicylic acid and slowly work you way up. Remember, the basics are the foundation of good skin care. No amount of “stuff” will save your skin if you aren’t taking care of it daily and protecting it from the sun.

Skin all better now? Congrats!
Not yet? Ok. Are you touching your face during the day? Are you consistent in gentle cleansing? Is this a temporary imbalance? Have you tired some basic over the counter treatments? If yes to all and you STILL can’t get your skin under control, continue to next step…

Visit the dermo. When nothing else is working (Reminder: Are you SURE you aren’t still touching and picking at your face during the day??) a visit to the dermatologist can be helpful. But don’t just let them pop in and write a prescription for you. Talk to them, ask them questions. That’s what they’re there for! Also keep in mind that dermatologists are like doctors, awesome at intensive treatments, but maybe not so good at suggesting you eat more spinach. Refer to original point that sleep, fresh air, good nutrition, and consistency in routine will solve most little health problems (and they may not remind you of this).

When in doubt, STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE DURING THE DAY. This is really the trick for me. Hands off, and the rest follows easily.

Happy skin care, y’all! Here’s to a fresh faced new year 🙂

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