Wednesday, April 27, 2011

MYTH: Toners are the second step in cleansing

Toners are not the second step in cleansing. In fact, toners have nothing to do with cleaning your skin. They are used to superficially hydrate the outer skin (toners are primarily water), reacidify the epidermis (your skin is naturally acidic and it’s important to keep it in balance), and prepare the skin for moisturizer (now that the skin is rebalanced and back to acid on the pH scale, it’s the perfect time to hydrate). Just remember: Toners are not cleansers.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Sunscreen: Toss it out!

Don’t get excited! I’m not saying don’t wear sunscreen. What I am saying is if you’ve been holding on to any particular sunscreen for too long, it’s probably time to throw it away.

The ingredients in sunscreen are, obviously, the most important components of this product. Therefore, you always want to be sure the sun protection ingredients are as fresh as possible. Given time, the potential for your sunscreen going “bad” (losing its potency) is likely.

If you use sunscreen on a daily basis, you won’t have to worry about the SPF going bad; you’ll run out of the product through daily use before it has a chance to lose its efficacy. But if you have a bottle of sunscreen that has been laying around for a few years, I would go ahead and toss it out and opt for a brand new, fresh bottle of sun protection.

For me, I usually throw out any remaining sunscreens I used the year before. This pertains to the large bottle of SPF I use on my body—the one I used in October for the last time, but not since. I don’t use expensive sunscreen on my body anyway (there is so much surface to cover that Banana Boat or Target brand sun products do just fine), so it’s not like I will be incurring a huge expense by replacing the old sunscreen with a new bottle or two. Most sunscreens are tested to be effective for 3 years, but since you want your sun protection products to be fresh, I wouldn’t use anything over 2 years old.

If you have any sunscreens that have been sitting in your car all winter, throw those products out now. Extremes in temperature (especially hot, but cold, too) can render the sunscreen ingredients inert (inactive) and can also mess with the other ingredients and cause any cream, sunscreen or otherwise, to go bad.

Take a Sharpie (waterproof marker) and write the date you opened the new sunscreen so you can tell just how old the bottle is. If you find any dates on your bottles older than 2 years oldget rid of them! You want your sunscreens to be as new and as potent as possible, so ditch the old and get yourself and your family some new products to use this summer.

Enjoy the warmer months that are upon us now, and do wear sunscreen daily. Be sure to slather your entire body in SPF if you are a golfer, hiker, runner, biker, gardener, or are doing anything out in the sun for a prolonged amount of time with little clothing protecting your skin. Also remember to reapply. Putting sunscreen on in the morning isn’t going to give you much protection come lunchtime.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Aging, “Anti-Aging” and Beauty

I have conversations with my clients all the time about anti-aging products and procedures and all the rest that is waiting for us (to buy) at every turn, with more and more “miracles” coming out every single day. My clients are looking for information and I am wanting to educate. It’s just that what I have to say about the whole aging thing is a complete departure from the norm, especially and even in my chosen fieldskin care. 

I am posting a section from my second book, Skin Care A to Z (published in 2004), that really says a lot about where I am coming from and what I think about the current “anti-aging” phenomenon. I put anti-aging in quotation marks because that term sounds funny to me: “anti” aging? Really? Like there is something wrong with aging. (That may be something you disagree with, but please read on.) The following section, Notes to My Readers, is in the front pages of the book. I hope you enjoy it and I hope it causes a shift, if one is needed. 

N O T E S   T O   M Y   R E A D E R S

Waiting in line at the ticket counter at O’Hare airport, I struck up a conversation with a young man behind me. He was commenting on how unnecessary it was to still designate seat assignments on airplanes as “non-smoking.” I agreed and added that I remembered when you could smoke on an airplane. He said he did not remember “those days”alas, he was too young! I went one step further to say that I even remembered when you could smoke a cigarette in a movie theater! After I said that, I tried not to chuckle out loud due to the surprised look on this young man’s face. I know I don’t look my age, but the movie theater comment probably put me in his parent’s age group. He tried not to show his shock and disbelief, but his expression, as subtle as he tried to make it, was priceless.
Since joining “The Club” (the 40-year-old club*), I have had a new found sense of joy about my age. I am definitely not the person who feels a sense of loss at 40; I actually feel a sense of excitement about being older. I refuse (refuse) to bow to what society says about aging. There is too much that is good about getting older. These things are not physical (no kidding!), but they are profound—and real. I feel better mentally; I have a much deeper spiritual connection than I did in my 20s; I can handle complex situations with a maturity I am just now developing. Psychologically I understand myself and the world around me much better and more realistically, and I have a much deeper sense of appreciation and love for life and for the people in my life than I did even five or 10 years ago.
*As of the 24th of April (2011), I will be joining the 50-year old club! And truly, I continue to look forward to the futureaging and all!!!

I want to share something with you that is an integral part of this message. The way I feel about myself, my life, and about aging is a choice. These positive feelings don’t just happen (believe me!); I have carefully and constantly crafted and cultivated these feelings in order to survive in this world—this youth-driven, anti-aging world. No one is going to tell me how to feel about myself, and I am certainly not going to form my opinion about aging from magazines or commercials on TV. I choose on a daily basis to think, feel, speak, and act in ways that support myself—even as I head down the road of aging.

Over the last 10 years I have consciously and purposefully created a thought process for myself that supports the coming of age. It was, in a sense, a practical matter. I knew I would age (there was no stopping that train), and I knew there would be brighter, more beautiful, and younger people born onto the planet every day. So my choice was: will I let reality drag me down to my knees begging for mercy and perhaps less cellulite and less droopy eyelids, or will I choose to allow the inevitable and find beauty within that choice? Anyone who knows me, be it a client, friend, or family member, knows which path I have chosen to take.

Part of why I started writing in the first place was to give a voice to that choice. I wanted to add volume to my anti-anti-aging paradigm, knowing I couldn’t possibly compete with the anti-aging world around me. But because I felt strong in my convictions about accepting aging, I also wanted to help any of you who wanted to feel the same way and yet might have felt like you’re losing the battle. Today I am here to say stand up strong and don’t succumb to all the hype, media attention to youth, advertising, and (even though it is my chosen industry) the skin care world.

I definitely advocate doing all the right things to keep your skin looking healthy at any age. But then, after getting enough sleep, eating right, drinking enough water, avoiding sugar, exfoliating, and applying your sunscreen, go out and face the day! Do something wonderful (or mundane). Enjoy your breath, the ability to move, and stop focusing so much time and attention on your looks. Be wise and don’t belabor the task of looking good. Your looks can be taken away in an instant, or a lifetime; memories of adventures and life experiences last forever.