Ok, so the basics ....
- First, select a cleansing regime for your particular skin type and skin problem i.e for acne, normal skin, oily skin, and sensitive skin. Avoid bar soap.
- Second, select an exfoliant to unroof the stratum corneum ( glycolic, lactic acid, and salicylic acid). An exfoliant is particularly useful in unroofing white heads and blacks (comedones) in acne. Start with the lower strength preparations first 2.5%-5%. Higher strengths may be irritating. A gel is usually more drying and stronger than a lotion or a cream.
- Third, Than use a moisturizer formulated for the face and eyelids. Note, people with acne or oily skin may not need a moisturizer.
- Fourth, photoprotect your skin from the suns damaging UVA and UVB rays with a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Vitamin C Creams also have photoprotecting ability.
Now that we have that out of the way....Here are a few of my own pointers/ recommendations and even a few beauty secrets.
- Firstly the wash,tone/exfoliate/moisturize/protect is somthing that needs to be followed RELIGIOUSLY every day, twice a day. Maybe more if your skin is particulary oily. For severe acne problems you can try the ever famous Proactiv. Although I have never used it personally, I have several friends who had severe acne problems (pitting and scarring) and it has made an amazing difference. I never had acne problems in my teenage years but a little later on I started developing intermittent acne breakouts (stress???hmmm). For minor to medium problems there are several over the counter products that work very well. Clean and Clear has a invisble belmish treatment that can be worn with/without make up without looking likeyou put toothpaste onyour face. It is small enough that you can carry it in your purse andtouch up throughout the day for all day acne fighter for that monster zit in themiddle of your forehead. I have also found that Loreal line of Clear Zone products is an excellent product that combines the daily cleansing routine with acne fighting power. Loreal also has an at home micro-dermabrasion kit that is like having a spa at home. Check out their other anti aging products as well.
- Drink lots of water. I hate drinking water but it is of course the best way to flush out your system from whatever your vice may be that is polluting your body.If you are like me and hate to drink water, you can try some of the flavoured waters that are available on the market. Dasani has the fruit flavoured water Fruit2O and if you don't want to spend your money it still have VIVA! And of course its a no brainer to eat healthy and avoid greasy foods.
- GUESS WHAT! The skin care routineis not just for your face but every part of your body. There is such a thing as back acne and butt acne (eww) but using these same practices as with your face can alleviate these problems. Again a routine has to be maintained.Beauty Secret! Those natural loofahs are the best thing for exfoliating your skin(see pic). Don't waste your time buying those plastic fluffy things that you soak with body wash. Natural loofahs actually come from a plant that is dried out and leaves the fibers in place. After having some problems with ingrown hairs my aesthician recommended it. I can tell you it worked wonders, not only did it clear up the ingrowns but all the little fine bumps that you may get on your back or butt but the entire surface of your skin appears smoother and pores smaller. I swear it works like a magic eraser. Marks disappeared.These can usually be found in most pharmacy's for $10TT and up but it have a man on Maracas Beach who does be carrying a whole armload of these for as little as $3 or $5. Buy several send me a thank you note later. But note, make sure they are kept in a place where they can dry out properly cause they are prone to mildew/mould being a natural fiber.For thso
- Beauty Secret! For those of you who already have marks from ingrowns you can use "Eldopaque Forte" which was recommended by my aesthician. It comes in 2% and 4% formulas. Use the 2% if you just want to use it on your bikini line.The 4% can be used for marks on your face and has more sunscreen.It is also more expensive.
- Stretch marks are evil.Cellulite is the antichrist Even the skinniest person can have them. What to do? Well aside from surgery there are only products that help conceal the APPEARANCE of stretch marks/cellulite and nothing you do will remove them. With that said, the two products that I would recommend and that many people would swear "removed" stretch marks/cellulite are Loreal's Body Expertise-Perfect Slim Anti cellulite Body Gel and Biotherm's Biovergetures. Both companies have several cool products that promise to erase the damage. Biotherm is a little pricey (and almost impossible to find in Trinidad) but Loreal's Products are available and pretty reasonable.Loreal also has cellulite patches that you can leave on overnight for intense treatment.Loreal's Perfect Slim has gotten several rave reviews in Vogue and other women's magazines as the best over the counter cellulite treatment. I use the Loreal, because prevention is better than cure I always say! For those who don't want to pelt out for either..people also swear on good old Palmer's Cocoa Butter (which now coems in an unscented version)
- Beauty Secret!!The more mositurized your body is the better looks and the healthier it is. Drench your skin in lotion at least twice a day.There are many many products available for all skin types. Some even contain ingredients to address some of the skin concerns previously discussed. I have about 10 different lotions so I won't say what is the best but I will plug my new fave Neutrogena's body oil which is just wow. Not only does is drench your skin but it absorbs quickly without feeling greasy and is great for that extra glow when you going out on the town.
- Beauty Secret!!! You know those white patches you may have on your back and your stomach area that your mother tell you is "lothar".Well the medical term is tenia versicolor and its caused by a yeast like fungus just beneath the skin surface.Its not contagious but its not cute either.Well granny say to wash with a sulphur soap. There are now several products on the line that are for this purpose e.g Sastid soap which works on body acne as well. This is one problem that takes FOREVER to clear up beacuse even when the fungus is dead, it takes a while for the colour on your skin to even out. Now that sulphur soap is not the nicest smelling thing in the world and its annoying to have to let it soak into your skin daily....so there is a quick fix which is a 10day cycle of Nizoral tablets (check your pharmacist/dermatologist/doctor please!). After that, soaping once a week just to ensure it does not reoccur is not as annoying. I have also read about home remedies where sulphur containing shampoos like Head and Shoulders can be used for a few minutes on the affected area and then washed off for a few days.But again, smelly and time consuming.If you have this problem..you need to start treating it TOMORROW to have any hope of it sorting out before Carnival.
- Don't ignore your feet /hands pedicures are a good thing. Whether professional or at home their are lots of options available.
- Protect yourself from the sun. This is something that I often neglect to do but my excuse is I stay out of the sun period. Dried out, fried skin makes you look not just old but like an old lizard. So sunblock ESPECIALLY on Carnival day.Neutrogena has a lovely product called Ultra Sheer Dry touch Sun Block which is light and not greasy and has a high SPF.
- Finally, my mom always says, "you only have one skin, so take care of it." Your skin goes a long way to revealing your age so the better you take care of it , the younger you will continue to look. My mom is also one to say "its your one skin so don't be cheap". Which means that you should be using the best products that your pocket can afford (this goes for make up too). At first this sounds kind of stuck up but when i thought about it , it made sense. If I can afford to buy better products to take better care of my face that will have me looking better down the line for longer then its a small sacrifice.I am not up to the ranks of Estee Lauder yet but I'm working my way up.
Ok I am not going to give away everything all at once..so stay tuned. This should give you a pretty good start.