Thursday, February 28, 2013

Let's talk skin.

It's almost time to pack up our sweaters, pull out the capris, and dust off the sandals. (At least in this part of the world.) We know down here that the Cherry Blossoms are scheduled to bloom in about 3 - 4 weeks and the Dogwoods will be right behind them. 

Thinking about all of this made me consider the health of my skin. When it is time to show more of it, I want to make sure I have done my due diligence during the cooler months. I may not exercise like I should, and I may say yes to the cheesecake more often than not, but my skin - I am a CRAZY woman about my skin.

From time to time I have shown the products I use on my face and body, and just like my shampoo, I like to change it up every so often, always looking for that perfect combination. For now, and where my skin and health is at, I think I have my perfect combo.

I'm going to share with you the basics I put on EVERY DAY and NIGHT. YES, I use ALL of these products. But I'm 40 (and I hope I don't look it.) I refuse to get botox. Sooo... nothing left to do but preserve what I have.

With that being said, here is my morning routine:
While in the shower, I grab my bar of Moisturizing Cetaphil Soap and apply it to the follow brush:

This little guy is soft. I bought this (by origins) and it cost a few dollars. My soap cost about 4 dollars. I typically apply the soap (by way of the brush) all over my face, neck and lips and rinse off. I feel clean. My face feels soft. No harsh chemicals or crazy methods to cleanse my face. 

Why Cetaphil Moisturizing Bar? It's gentle enough, just moisturizes enough. Cetaphil products are recommended by more dermatologists than any other brand of skin cleansers and moisturizers. After all, they’ve been carefully formulated to provide effective, gentle skin care to help your skin look and feel its best — no matter what category your skin type falls into. Makes it a winner for so many people. 

And as for the face brush - gentle exfoliation. Think of a really nice, clean, blank slate.

I also use a body brush:

I basically use this organic body butter soap with Mango, Shea and Cocoa Butters for a really nice, soft texture to my skin. The body brush helps scrap away the dead skin cells, then I fill them up with something nourishing. I pay about $4 for this soap, and you can find it online, at international shops and even my museum. There is honey and cornmeal mixed in this also. Why would that be good for my skin? Mango butter combined with shea butter gives your skin much-needed moisture and elasticity. The added effects of cocoa butter & cornmeal heal your skin, driving away scars and blemishes and helping to reverse the aging process of your skin. 

Oh.. but there is more to my morning routine. Now it's time to "seal the deal" with all of these wonderful treatments.

Okay, while still in the bathroom and at the sink, I wash my face one more time to really feel clean. I basically exfoliated in the shower, now I want to deep clean. I found something that is not expensive and makes my skin feel alive. It's the Clean & Clear Morning Burst. You would think I would keep away from the cheaper brands, but I have to tell you - I LOVE how it feels on my skin. This version is the Skin Brightening Facial Cleanser. I can honestly say that my skin has a nice little glow to it when I am finished. How does it work? It is formulated with a unique blend of caffeine, lemon and papaya and cleanses to help brighten the appearance of your skin while releasing an invigorating fruit fragrance that awakens your senses. Skin appears instantly refreshed.

After I cleanse and dry my face, I then apply the next best thing in the world. Scroll up and take a good look at Say Yes to Cucumbers. It is a soothing moisturizer with high spf to protect my skin.  What I love about it, it helps someone like me with fair skin, that happens to suffer from rosacea. Nothing terrible. Just a little redness in the cheeks when I exercise, drink wine, or whatever. This stuff has done wonders for my fine lines also!!! How does it work? Sweet almond oil is an excellent natural moisturizer that lends a soft beautiful glowing touch to your skin. Organic cucumbers are packed with rejuvenating vitamins which soothe and soften the skin, cucumbers also having cooling properties which help keep your skin supple and fresh.
Aloe vera is a highly effective, naturally gentle moisturizer that is known to refresh and soothe skin and it is 98% natural.

Finally, I add a little more "punch" to my moisturizers, especially for my forehead, which seems to have the worst sun damage. I dab a little St. Ives Collagen and Elastin moisturizer. GREAT stuff, and I would use just that, but it lacks the spf I need for my skin. How does it work? The moisturizer, with collagen elastin proteins, hydrates for visibly softer, smoother skin.

Finally - BIG NEED FOR ALL WOMEN AND MEN - Eye cream. I use this:
Obiqo! I have searched high and low for the best eye cream, and I settled on this one about a year ago. What is it and how does it work? Fragrance free Obiqo eye cream is specially formulated to nourish and smooth the delicate skin around your eye area.  A silky textured cream, enriched with anti-aging marine nutrients to firm and gently moisturise, and supported by extracts of cooling cucumber, camomile and kiwi. It's not cheap. $47 a bottle. BUT I SWEAR BY IT. I am considering purchasing more items from Obiqo because of it's incredible benefits. It's a New Zealand company that believes in using marine nutrients like:

Sea Kelp - It is rich in trace elements, minerals, vitamins and amino acids, and has been used in beauty and health treatments for many centuries. 
In their products, they use common kelp (Ecklonia Radiata) which grows in abundant undersea forests around the pristine waters of New Zealand's remote East Cape. To protect and sustain this important marine resource and habitat, harvesting is restricted to license holders, and the kelp is gathered when storms toss it ashore.  The carefully harvested kelp is rain washed and sun dried before gentle, natural treatment to produce an extract made especially for Obiqo.

They also use Sea Lavender. It is a coastal plant which grows in soils with a high salt content, and has developed a resistance to harsh environmental conditions including dehydration. Their sea lavender peptides are rich in polyphenol anti-oxidants which are known to search out and destroy free-radicals that can cause skin damage and pre-mature skin ageing. 

The sea lavender they use is farmed in France with the use of non GMO biological pest management and harvested under the supervision of the local agricultural authorities. The plant materials are certified 100% natural by ECOCERT (an international organic certification body represented both in the EU and in 70 other countries). The process to extract the peptides is natural, gentle and solvent free.

Marine Elastin Peptides contribute to skin regeneration, combating slackening, wrinkles and fine lines. Protecting the skin’s elastin is essential to maintaining the flexibility and firmness of skin. The elastin peptides also act as an anti-oxidant helping to slow skin ageing by combating oxidative stress.

Their marine elastin is extracted from by-products of managed fisheries and represent a sustainable use of marine resources. The extraction of the elastin is achieved by an enzymatic reaction without the use of solvents.

Marine Collagen Hydrolysate plays an important part in maintaining optimal skin hydration and promotes skin firmness and radiance. It also has anti-oxidant factors helping to protect the skin against environmental elements and ageing.

Their hydrolysed marine collagen, which is extracted from by-products of managed fisheries,  nourishes, regenerates and protects the skin. A product of sustainable marine resourcing, it is recovered by an enzymatic reaction without the use of solvents.

 Finally.. Hyadisine a natural marine extract obtained by fermentation of microbial marine organisms collected from the rocky shores of Douarnenez Bay.  This is an exciting new bio-active ingredient based on non GMO organisms.  The exopolysaccharides have a high water retaining capacity which encourages a long-lasting moisturizing effect and wrinkle reduction.

Then let's not forget the rest of my body. I use a wonderful lotion that I swear by:
This has made all the difference with the eczema I have on my arms. St. Ive's Replenishing with Mineral Therapy. It spells like a spa and goes on nice and thick, but not so much that you feel oily. How does it work? Fast-absorbing and non-greasy, this intense moisture treatment rejuvenates the skin by replenishing nutrients it naturally loses daily. The custom mineral blend contains the natural minerals essential for healthy skin. 

Then.. the final thing I apply BEFORE my makeup is a tinted moisturizer. Yes.. more. Don't worry, I have normal skin. Not too oily, not too dry. All of the products I have introduced do NOT leave my skin greasy. Here is what I use:

I love the "fair" Aveeno Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. How does it work? These tinted moisturizers for fair to light and medium skin tones combine exclusive ACTIVE NATURALS Total Soy Complex with natural light reflecting minerals to instantly give you sheer coverage while evening skin tone and blending away imperfections. Provides natural-looking coverage. 
POSITIVELY RADIANT is a collection of facial care products uniquely formulated to target all 5 FACTORS OF RADIANCE:
• Tone
• Texture
• Brown Spots
• Dullness
• Blotchiness

Now what about night time? Of course I have a skin regime. Need to do my best to clear the canvas, right?

For starters, my feet are a bit of a problem for me. (Joys of years of dancing.. and wearing high heels.) So I have a foot spa I hook up every night. I use the following epsom salts to help soothe my tooties:
I love the Dr. Teal's products. I personally love the way my feet feel after soaking in the Cooling Peppermint foot soak.The product claims to "Revitalize and Refresh." I have to admit, I love it. 
How does it work?  You can pamper tired achy feet with Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Foot Soak. Magnesium Sulfate revitalizes your feet and refreshes your skin’s appearance. Plus, peppermint essential oil and baking soda provide a cooling sensation and help eliminate foot odor.

As far as Aromatherapy goes: Peppermint essential oil revitalizes and refreshes the senses.

I don't always take a hot bath before bed, but sometimes I do. When I do, I use another Dr. Teal's product:
Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt "Soothe & Sleep" with Lavender. LOVELY. I feel like a princess soaking away with this stuff. How does it work? As far as the Lavender goes, it relaxes the mind. As far as the Epsom Salts go - I stand by this - they are a cure all. I heard my Great Grandmother swear by them, my doc swear by them.. and I can tell you, I SWEAR by them. 

How do Epsom Salts work? Here's the bad news... have you checked your magnesium lately? Hate to break it to you, but chances are it's pretty low. Americans today have less than half the magnesium levels as those of their ancestors due to changes in diet and an increase in the consumption of fatty, sugary, and processed foods.

…so why is this a big deal?
Magnesium is a natural element essential to helping the body function. It's responsible for making your nerves and muscles work properly and for regulating the activity of 325+ enzymes. 

Magnesium prevents artery hardening and blood clots and improves the effectiveness of insulin. Less magnesium in your system means you run a higher risk of developing hyperactivity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis, and other stress-related illnesses.

Upping your magnesium intake is as easy and inexpensive as, well…taking a bath! Research shows that soaking in Epsom salt at least three times a week helps you look better, feel better, and improves your overall health.

How does it work?
When dissolved in warm water, magnesium sulfate is absorbed through the skin, naturally restoring the level of magnesium in the body. While taking magnesium supplements and incorporating magnesium-rich foods into your diet may seem like the most obvious solution, taking an Epsom salt bath is actually the fastest and most effective approach. 

.…even better news?
Sulfate's an all-around health booster too! When taken into the body, sulfate flushes out harmful toxins, improves absorption of nutrients, and helps forms protein and brain tissue. 

Want more proof?
When working together, the two are unstoppable. Used for its healing properties for thousands of years, magnesium sulfate is a quick and time-tested solution to a variety of health problems. 

Looking to kick a lasting sickness?
By increasing your white blood cell count, improving circulation, and detoxifying the body, magnesium sulfate shortens the length of symptoms and gives your immune system a boost, helping the body fight illness and recover more quickly. 

Feeling exhausted and overwhelmed?
Magnesium is a natural stress-reliever and energy booster. It helps produce a chemical in the brain called serotonin, which works to elevate your mood and increases your ability to make it through the day by directing energy production in the cells.
By lowering both adrenaline levels and blood pressure, magnesium also reduces irritability and fosters relaxation.  As a result, your concentration sharpens, and you can finally get the good night's sleep your body craves!

Suffering from soreness or another injury?
Magnesium sulfate soothes the muscles by flushing out lactic acid. Because of its ability to draw out fluids, magnesium sulfate also effectively reduces swelling and is a quick-fix for sprains, bee stings, mosquito bites, and sunburns. 

If that doesn't convince you - I don't know what will.

Finally, let's wrap this up. Before I go to bed I use the following products to seal all of the good I did:

I use a very specific eye gel at night. 40 Carrots. It is a cooling tonic with beta hydramides to instantly de age and wake up tired looking eyes. Retinol rich skin care - Carrot and Cucumber - 
Paraben Free and Less irritating than prescription form.

I cleanse my face at night with Olay's Total Effects 7 (Revitalize.) This daily cream cleanser nourishes skin with moisture from its rich anti aging formula while it removes dirt and impurities. And it  fights 7 signs of aging. 

My night cream? ROC's Stress Repair. It fights the signs of stress-related aging by:
Unwinding wrinkles - nourishes - restores
RoC has been a leading French skincare brand for over 50 years, devoted to developing anti-aging products that guarantee visible and lasting results for healthier, younger-looking skin. Strong partnerships with dermatologists have contributed to their expertise in understanding skincare and developing clinically proven  products, which are highly effective, yet suitable for all skin types.

Clinically Proven Results:
Relaxes expression and worry lines and unwinds deep forehead tension wrinkles
Nourishes dehydrated skin
Rejuvenates the look of tired skin
Restores skin's youthful radiance

Finally, I put African Shea Butter on my body, especially my feet at night. How does it work?
Shea Butter is a natural plant extract derived from the nut of the Karite Tree, which grows throughout West Africa. The name Karite means the Tree of Life, as a result of the many important uses Shea Butter provides to the people of this region.

Pure Shea Butter has been utilized for centuries due to its amazing ability to renew, repair and protect the skin. The 100% Pure African Shea Butter I use is unique because of its high content of non-saponifiable fats, which acts as a natural skin moisturizer due to its exceptional healing properties for the skin. African Shea Butter, which is completely unrefined, organic, and extremely high in Vitamins A, E & F, enhances cell regeneration and capillary circulation. Its exceptional moisturizing properties provide the skin with all the essential elements it needs for balance, elasticity and tone.

Shea Butter can be used to treat all of the following conditions: Dry Skin, Dry Hair & Scalp, Eczema, Infant Eczema, Psoriasis, Arthritis & Rheumatism, Wrinkle Prevention, Diaper Rash, Muscle Fatigue, Scar Minimization, Skin Discoloration, Stretch Mark Prevention & Minimization and as a natural shaving agent.

Note: While African Shea Butter is originally off-white, a natural dye obtained from an organic plant source is mixed together creating a golden yellow color.

I know this is A LOT of information. But I warned you - I take my skin very seriously. You can do your own research, but this is what I swear by.

PS - I do some other things to try to keep a healthier youthful skin:
I drink lots of water.
I take a multivitamin.
I eat lots of fruit.
I do not smoke. 
I ALWAYS go to bed with a clean face. 
I always exfoliate, cleanse and moisturize daily.

What is your routine?

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