My favorite skin care tips

In honor of Wellness Week, which is coming to an end, I thought I would share some of my favorite skin care tips, so that you might add to and enhance your wellness resolutions as they are proposed by SpaFinder.

1. Listen to your skin. If your skin breaks out when you use a product, that product is not for you. If your skin feels uncomfortable, irritated, blotchy, raw when you use a product, that product is not for you. Think of your skin as a baby – it can’t express itself in words, so it finds other ways of telling you how it feels. Listen to it.

2. Always apply products from thin to thick. That means serums first, gels second, creams third, and sunscreens last.

3. Don’t mix your treatment product with your protection product. Do you use a shampoo and conditioner in one? I didn’t think so. Why do to your skin what you wouldn’t do to your hair?

4. If you are old enough to have a cocktail, you are old enough to be using an eye contour cream. No ifs or buts about it. The skin of the eye contour area is the thinnest (other than the skin of our lips), and will start showing age earliest.

5. Always apply your eye contour cream with your ring finger (our weakest finger), and from the outside in. That will minimize the likeliness that you will tug at this delicate area, stressing it further instead of treating it with some TLC.

6. Our faces lie, our necks tell our age. Make sure you use your facial products on your neck and décolleté. Even better, invest in a product that is specifically designed for this delicate area.

7. Our hands also tell our age. Aging does not happen from forehead to chin, but on our entire bodies. Our hands in particular, which are as exposed to the elements as our faces, deserve the same anti-aging care.

8. Prevention is key. Don’t wait for the brown spots and wrinkles to show up before you start using quality anti-aging products.

9. Sunscreen is also key. SPF 15 during the winter months (SPF 50+ on the ski slopes), SPF 30 during the sunny months (SPF 50+ on the beach or by the pool).

10. Don’t expect of your products the same results you will get from treatments in a spa or medical office. Products are a complement to treatments, not an alternative.

Just as Wellness Week was to serve as a reminder that we need to take care of ourselves, that we need to commit to health and wellness, let us also commit to a healthy skin care regimen. Find the products that work for you, and use them morning and evening. Every day, as part of your self care ritual.

My personal wellness pledge

Two weeks ago, in honor of Lent, I gave up artificial sweetener. Really, my main worry was how I was going to drink my 8 daily cups of coffee (which usually contain 2 Splendas and lots of skim milk). The switch to black coffee actually hasn’t been that challenging. Harder than expected, is my once-in-a-while craving for a Diet Coke, which has been gnawing at me for about 4 days now. I have found myself re-reading the recent NY Times article on the association between diet sodas and heart disease to help maintain my resolve.

Having given up artificial sweetener, I thought I might as well look at the rest of my lifestyle and make some adjustments to my health and wellness habits. I might have been inspired by SpaFinder’s Wellness Week pledge. Or by Hillary Leeb’s weekly health tips. Or by the fact that my “fat pants” are feeling a bit tight and that bathing suit season is around the corner. In any case, here are the rest of my healthy living resolutions, which I have been steadily following for about 10 days now:

  1. No artificial sweeteners; as I mentioned, this means no Splenda in my coffee, and no more Diet Cokes, at least until Easter (although I am planning to kick the Splenda habit forever).
  2. Drink at least 32oz. of water per day.
  3. Take one Emergen-C every day (I love the Super Orange flavor); this is helping me with resolution #2.
  4. Eat my vegetables first, at least at lunch and dinner. That means a salad first. Before anything else.
  5. Go to the Dupont Circle market every Sunday that I am in DC; I love love love this market, and one trip there means that I have veggies for the entire week (see resolution #4 above). Also, benefit #2 is fresh flowers for the house.
  6. Go to Barre 3 twice per week; I really have no excuse to not go as this is literally around the corner from my office. LeeAnne Cress, also known as the “evil redhead” given how hard her classes are, is my current hero and girl crush. If I can get half as toned as she is, I will be really happy with myself. In the meantime, every muscle in my body hurts…
  7. Run once per week, to get in some cardio. My current favorite run is the Memorial / Key bridge loop.

Let’s see how long I can keep this up…