A lot of people ask me how I take care of my skin. It’s kind of a long answer, so hang with me. To begin with, I think feeling beautiful is as much a matter of how you think about how you look as it is the condition of your pores. This is not a commercial for any product, by the way, but I think Dove has made a pretty interesting commercial that touches on the power of perspective.
Feeling beautiful is a lot about perspective. When you look in the mirror, you can contemplate all your worst qualities, or you can appreciate your best. Frankly, there are days when I consider getting a nose job, an eye job, and having the fat sucked out from under my chin all in one fell blow. At 43, I am wondering when is the appropriate time to have my neck lifted, and who will be the genius who takes all my money when s/he discovers the under eye cream that will stop the insanity happening there. Other days, I think I see my face changing in ways I never considered. My cheekbones are getting higher, my eyes are getting deeper, and (is it possible?) my nose is getting thinner. Some days, I look in the mirror and see my mother’s face staring right back at me. Those days are the ones I go screaming off into the world.
“OH MY GOD I LOOK LIKE MY MOTHER!!!!”
On a different angle, I was at dinner the other night, with two men and two women. We were talking about men who get “work done.” They said, “Oh, that’s so crazy! Men shouldn’t do that, men AGE!” as if they were in a separate category. Not one to leave that hanging I said, “Uh, by the way, WOMEN AGE TOO!” The problem is, in our culture we tend to equate youth with beauty, especially when it comes to women. This sets up a system of belief that men just get more handsome as they “mature” into their “wiser years” and women just turn into bitchy old crones. Fun.
Then there is the issue of photoshopping. Because I have been in show business since I was a child, I can tell you that “touching up” a photo has been in practice practically since the damn thing first “clicked” a shot. They used to take a tool that looked like a thin knife and scrape the original print to remove the areas that needed “refining” shall we say. Even in the 1970’s, when movie stars and models had more wrinkles than ever, actors had their headshot’s “touched up.” This was to present a particular image to the world, an image of a heightened reality that would help us to fantasize. Fantasy is a big part of show business.
Aas I get older, I appreciate this aspect more and more. Until very recently, I felt like keeping certain facts to myself was wrong, and even potentially hurtful to others. I liked pulling back the curtain on the fantasy world so that normal people wouldn’t feel “less than” or talked down to. However, there are places where knowing everything about someone who is in the public eye simply doesn’t serve the ultimate function of the fantasy of show business.
That said, everyone deserves to feel beautiful about themselves. Since I have worked hard on learning how to take care of my skin, who am I to keep this information to myself? So here goes. The secret to great skin.
1) Dudes, and dudesses…. you gotta stay out of the sun. The sun is NOT your friend. Not anymore. Your nice tan is going to turn into wrinkles and brown spots later in life, I promise you. It did with me. I have tried a lot of creams to get the spots off but the most effective full removal is by having a laser treatment, like a photo facial. Bottom line: WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERY DAY that has a high ZINC OXIDE percentage in it. If it doesn’t, you may be protecting your skin from skin cancer, but not brown spots.
2) YOU MUST DRINK A LOT OF WATER. I’m not kidding. Like, a liter or TWO EVERY DAY. This is what Padma Lakshmi does and she looks amazing. (Try her recipe for making water more “sexy”) It will flush out the toxins which lead to damaged skin and breakouts, but will also keep your skin hydrated. If you like to drink alcohol (which I do) drink one glass of water to every glass of wine ON TOP of the liter or two of water a day. If you HATE water, try iced green tea instead. It’s refreshing and you can spice it up however you like it. Much better than sodas or sugary “health” drinks, I promise you.
3) DO NOT SMOKE. Not even a little. When I use a cigarette as a character I never inhale and it still makes me feel sick. Neither inhaled smoke or second hand smoke is good for you or your skin. Might as well hang around the tail pipe of a diesel truck. Wanna get real old, real fast and then get cancer? Then go ahead and smoke, it’s your life, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
4) Your skin care needs to take your age into consideration. If you are 20 years old, you don’t need the same products as a 40 year old. You DO need sunscreen, water, and shouldn’t smoke. That applies to everyone. Young products for young people. I used Clinique when I was growing up and I still think it’s a very nice product line for teens into your 20’s. The best products line if you are in your 30’s into your 40’s (in my opinion) is Skincuticals, but don’t use a heavy nigh moisturizer if you don’t need it. It will cause breakouts.
5) Get some Vitamin C in and on you. I used Skincuticals vitamin C serum for years and now I use the Phloretin CF. Vitamin C is awesome for your skin. I swear by Emergen-C, which is a powdered packet of stuff you add to water. It gives me energy and a nice skin flush. You can also use less expensive Vitamin C serums like this one by Beauty Without Cruelty, or make your own!
5) Get regular facials. Your skin will thank you. I have tried every type of facial out there but in my 30’s my favorite was getting something at Bliss, in particular the Triple Oxygen Facial. Now that I am a bit older, I like getting microdermabrasion, light glycolic peels, and oxygen sprays. (Make sure if you get microdermabrasion to NOT use a Retin-A product at least a week before you go or you could end up with chemical burns, like I did.) I have never done a chemical peel because they freak me out. I also don’t use Retin-A because it also freaks me out. That said, today may be the day. Note: I try and have professional facials every few months, and do my own little routine at home in-between times. This saves me a fair amount of dough. Either way, give yourself a home or professional facial at least every four weeks.
6) Exfoliate. Yep, it works. Don’t scrub your face off, just find a scrub that has either a very fine grain, like Remede Sweep, or use a glycolic facial wash. Personally, I do both. I use the wash once every day and the sweep every three days or so. Getting the crap off your face is the point. I also use one of those electronic brushes, like Clarisonic, when I’ve been wearing a lot of makeup. These really help. They aren’t cheap, but they last for up to five years or longer. All you have to do is buy a new brush head from time to time. You gotta get the dirt and grime OFF, that’s the point, but don’t rub until you are red, that is hurting your skin.
7) Do a basic routine in the morning and at night…. EVERY DAY. Wash your face, use a toner, add a serum, moisturize, then put on sunblock…. all before you put your makeup on (if you wear makeup). Wash, tone, and moisturize EVERY NIGHT. Every skin has different needs (oily, dry, combo, acne, etc) and we all live in different climates (dry, humid, hot, cold) so you need to adjust for that. There are great products at every price point and philosophy, believe me, but if you don’t use them, they don’t have a chance to work! My friends who use Proactiv swear by it.
8) You are what you eat. Check out Dr Jessica Wu’s book FEED YOUR FACE on this topic for further reading, but your common sense knows the truth: if you eat a lot of junk food, you are going to break out. Healthy food = healthy skin. For a daily dose of info, you can sign up for her super fun and informative newsletter “The Daily Glow” HERE.
9) Get some exercise… ANY exercise. Even if it’s going for a brisk walk to the liquor store, you really got to move your ass or the blood flow isn’t going to get up to your face. Don’t overdo your workout, however, because that can actually stress your skin! SEX is great for your skin, BTW. Sends all kinds of lovely endorphins and even helps prevent skin wrinkling!
10) Here is my new BIG SECRET: The NUFACE micro current facial toning device. This little machine helps tighten your skin while sending your very expensive serum deeper into your derma. The founder is a cancer survivor and has partnered with the cancer organization “Look Good Feel Better” to help promote positivity when fighting the disease. I can’t recommend this little monster enough. If used as directed, it can really help you if you are dealing with aging skin. I even use it swiftly in the morning to push my serum in a little deeper before putting on my moisturizer.
So there you have it. 10 of my “MUST DO’s” for how to keep your skin looking great. Bottom line, it’s what INSIDE matters most, and keeping a positive attitude about what God gave ya.
Wishing you a BEAUTIFUL day….