Self-care + skincare + looking at yourself in the mirror

To me, skin care has always been more than skin deep. 

At the heart of our origin story is self-care 

“Self-care through skin care.”™

Also at the heart of our origin story is the idea that how you look impacts how you feel, which in turn impacts how you act. 

“Looking good, means feeling good, means doing good.” 

You can learn more about our tag lines by watching this video

In a time that seems defined by over-work, over-connectedness, stress, and mental health concerns, taking care of one’s self is an absolute must. Self-care, of course, takes many forms (exercise, meditation, religion, food, and more), and means something different to everyone. 

In my world, self-care relates to beauty, skin, and looking at myself in the mirror with kindness and gratitude. 

In my world, self-care means applying creams, lotions, potions. Self-care means spending time in my bathroom focusing on myself, and only on myself (my bathroom is a phone-free zone, the only one in my home). Per my mother’s advice, I spend a lot of time looking at myself in the mirror. I inspect all of the infinitely minute changes that take place every day. Changes in my skin, my face, my body. I look at them, I acknowledge them, I welcome them. I smile at myself. I tell myself I am beautiful. Not in a vain way, rather, in a kind way.  

In a time when we all need to be reminded about the importance of self-care, I am grateful for the many brands (beauty and otherwise) that focus on this message. The most recent example (which inspired this blog post) is Birchbox – and their new You-Time campaign 

Next time you look at yourself in the mirror, ask yourself “Who do you see?” Answer with positivity and kindness. 

 

Girl in mirror

Your skin can't keep secrets… what can a dermatologist know about you just by looking at you?

So you remember those days when you were a kid and you were trying to hide things from your parents? And somehow it never worked? At least not for me… I remember skipping ballet class one single time… and of course that is the time my Mom decided to come pick me up (something she had never done before and never did since). You would think being an adult (I think 37 qualifies) would mean I would not have to worry about hiding things from my parents anymore… and I don’t. But I still can’t get away with much… because my skin can’t hold a secret. And neither can yours.

Do you know what your skin says about you? To the trained eye of a dermatologist, a lot… I had to ask my Dad, aka Dr. Luigi L. Polla, how he always knows so much about my sisters and me … Apparently, our skin speaks. What can a dermatologist know about you just by looking at you? Here is what my skin says about me:

1. I sleep on my left side more than I sleep on my right side. My “left side” wrinkles are more pronounced; the left side of my face is slower to move when I laugh or make facial expressions, i.e. my skin reacts more slowly to my expressions. I have less volume in the left side of my face. (Yes, these are the things my Dad mentions when he looks at me… among others LOL).

2. I am not sleeping enough. I have dark circles under my eyes, and the peri-orbital fine lines I am starting to see are deeper than usual. My face looks “stressed.”

3. I don’t smoke. At least something positive… I don’t have that greyish tinge that smokers tend to get, and I do have luminosity in my complexion. I don’t have a “bar code” on my upper lip, which is a sure sign of smoking (or sometimes too much drinking through a straw).

4. I enjoy champagne and wine but I don’t over-indulge. I don’t have broken capillaries and I don’t flush easily. I don’t have accentuated lines and less delicate features. My skin is not “thicker” as it typically is when too much alcohol is imbibed.

5. I am not a sun worshipper. Actually, I actively avoid the sun or protect myself form the sun. I don’t have uneven pigmentation or too many sunspots. I don’t have a million little fine lines all over my face. I don’t have the parchment-like, thinner skin that is an indication that sun exposure has led to an accelerated breakdown of collagen.

6. I don’t take cortisone. I don’t have that swollen look, or a puffy face.

7. I don’t eat spicy foods. My face isn’t flushed, red, and I don’t have those micro-breakouts often associated with heavy spice.

8. I don’t take testosterone supplements. I don’t have cystic acne, as is often associated with higher-than average levels of this male hormone.

9. I am not depressed. My wrinkles don’t all “face downward,” and my lips certainly don’t; and I don’t have bags under my eyes, or “sad eyes.”

10. I am in love. My lips can’t help but curl up and smile and my eyes are wide open with a dreamy look in them.

11. I am not going through any major hormonal transition. Aka my skin is not currently “freaking out.” Enough said Dad, thank you!

 

Beauty by the numbers: Skin

I spend a lot of time applying creams, masks, serums, eye contour products, and many other lotions and potions. I also spend a lot of time merely about skin. I think about how it is the one accessory that I am stuck with forever. About how it reveals my age. About how it reacts to various situations and emotions (do your cheeks redden when you are embarrassed?). About how it reflects my lifestyle and diet. I collect what I call “funny factoids” about skin, the largest organ of our body… This morning, I ran into an old (May 2006!) Allure Magazine “Beauty by the Numbers” column, and was reminded of some of my favorite funny factoids about the largest organ in the human body.

  • 200 A.D.: Year in which the Roman physician Galen combined wax, olive oil, rose petals, and water to create the first cold cream.
  • $1,000: Amount paid to Gloria Laura Mercedes Morgan0Vandebilt in 1924 for her endorsements of Pond’s Cold Cream.
  • 21: Total square footage of skin on the average human body.
  • 7: Total weight in pounds of skin on the average human body.
  • 40,000: Number of dead skin cells the body sheds every minute.
  • 650: Average number of sweat glands in one square inch of skin.
  • 20,000: Number of pores on the face.
  • 53: Percentage of American women over the age of 33 who have acne.
  • 16: Percentage of American who have at least one tattoo.
  • 60: Percentage of American women who say they would give up chocolate or their morning coffee for better skin.