It never fails. On those days when I hope to look most “put-together” I wake up with a significant breakout prominently displayed on my face. Several weeks ago I had a big day: a presentation in the morning and an important meeting in the afternoon. Of course, on the morning of — even before I looked in the mirror — I felt several breakouts on the side of my cheek. I showed my husband and even he hesitated before he responded; that’s when I knew it wasn’t pretty. It’s my typical breakout spot, so that didn’t surprise me, but what did was that I couldn’t point back to any specific behavior that would have caused this type of breakout. My routine had been consistent and fairly solid. Frustrating.
So, at 6am I did what any sane woman would do: I texted Sarah! I asked if she had any advice that would miraculously shrink the blemishes in less than three hours. Though I was hoping for a quick-fix, unfortunately for most breakouts — and I would argue skin health in general — quick-fixes don’t really apply. Sarah recommended adding a warm compress and topical acne spot treatment to my skin care routine, and then I worked a decent cover-up job with my makeup.
This got me thinking, I wonder how many others do what I did, in a moment of panic text, call or stop in to ask Sarah how to handle a skin care emergency or just get some solid skin health advice. With years in the industry and seeing clients six days a week, Sarah is constantly dispensing recommendations to clients with varied skin needs. So, what are the constants that she recommends? I sat down with Sarah and she gave me the low-down on the five skincare secrets she swears by.
1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
We all know this, and there’s no way around it. Water hydrates your skin and increases overall elasticity, leading to a significant decrease in fine lines and wrinkles. Water also helps detoxify your body by getting rid of pollutants that have a negative effect on skin. A good rule of thumb is divide your weight by 2 and drink that many ounces a day. Bottoms up. (Oh and P.S., Artificially-sweetened zero-calorie drinks don’t count!)
The skin around our eyes is some of the most delicate skin on our face, partially because it doesn’t hydrate itself. With constant touching and rubbing, skin around the eye area cannot replace lost moisture on its own. A nightly eye treatment can replenish this moisture, and overtime this helps plump the skin around the eyes and appears to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
3. E (2) : Extractions and Exfoliation
While extractions are less than pleasurable (my last treatment with Sarah included 40 minutes of them, jealous?), they are a necessary evil that have an almost immediate positive impact on skin. Extractions remove whiteheads, black heads, and overall congestion and give your skin a newer, fresher foundation for your skincare products to penetrate. Many similar benefits are shared with exfoliation — removing dead cells on the skin’s surface. Extractions and exfoliation can be life-saving for broken-out skin.
4. You Are What You Eat
The food and drink you use to nourish your body directly affects your skin health. Consider cutting back on sugary foods, as artificial sugar is a primary culprit of skin congestion and blemishes. Boosting anti-oxidant intake, by eating fruits, vegetables and nuts, helps protect the body from free radicals and promotes skin health. Remember that whatever is going on inside your body, specifically inside your gut, is reflected in your skin.
5. Consistency Is Key
A consistent skin care routine is a necessity, especially as we age. A routine should include regular aesthetician visits, a customized product regimen to address skin challenges and sun protection, a reasonably healthy diet and significant hydration. Keeping expectations realistic is important, too. Even though changes don’t happen overnight, putting in the time and effort to maintain a consistent routine will result in more radiant, and overall healthier skin.