Tuesday, February 06, 2007

flowers by freefoto.com

Tips forTaking Care of your Complexion

1) Skin, like hair, is lubricated by an oil produced by the body: sebum. When there is too little sebum, the skin flakes, wrinkles, and feels dry. When there is too much, the skin wrinkles very slowly and looks younger, but it is prone to breakouts. When the amount of sebum is normal, skin glows and looks healthy. Other factors besides our sebum production can affect skin's oiliness or dryness: unusually cold weather, dry air within a house during the winter, summer humidity, the less than fresh air on an airplane, drinking too little water, etc. Use products that are right for your kind of skin. (Note: Many young women have normal to oily skin on their foreheads, noses, and chins, and dry skin on their cheeks. This particular oily pattern is called the T-zone. Adjust your skin care accordingly. For example, you may want to use a toner only on the T-zone and a moisturizer only around the eyes and the cheeks).

Healthy skin, like hair, also has a certain external PH balance. This is why you find shampoos and soaps which advertise that they have a good PH balance for your skin. It's likely that you won't have to worry about selecting a product with the proper PH balance, as most are balanced to be in harmony with human hair and skin. This is generally true whether they advertise the fact or not.

2) In the past, English women were highly noted for having beautiful complexions. It's been said that their complexions remain lovely well into old age, because their faces are protected by England's foggy weather. The frequent fog and rain of England provide needed moisture for the skin, while protecting the skin from the aging effects of relentless sunshine. You don't have to live in England to get these effects. Use sunscreens and hats to protect your skin from too much sun. A little sun -- about fifteen minutes for a fair-skinned person and thirty minutes for a person of dark skin -- is healthy for your body. Beyond that, you want to shield your skin from the sun's aging rays.

Also, here's a method for steaming moisture into your face. Boil a pot of water. Take the water off of the stove. Hold a towel over your head to make a tent. Breathe in the steam. Be careful not to get your face so close to the pot that the heat hurts your face. Find the spot where you feel the moisture and the heat, but it's not uncomfortable. This will also help clear out any problems you are having with your sinuses, as well.

Just as we talked about keeping brushes and other hair tools clean, you want to keep things clean that come into contact with your skin. Clean powder puffs, make-up sponges, and make-up brushes regularly. If you use washcloths on your skin, buy a week's worth of soft washcloths and use a new one every day. I bought an inexpensive pack of baby washcloths for this purpose.

4) The cornerstone of a skin care routine is to cleanse your face every day. Generally, you will want to do this about twice a day -- once in the morning and once at night. You may find that your face does better if you simply splash some cool water on the skin in the morning before moisturising and then doing a thorough cleansing at night. I'm sure you know the old rule: NEVER go to bed with makeup on. If you do occasionally fall asleep with makeup on, do your throough cleansing in the morning.

The first rule of cleansing your face: be gentle!! Be extra gentle when working around the eyes. Don't pull and tug on the delicate tissue there.

There are a lot of wonderful skin products out there, some of which can be quite pricey. I know an older woman (seventies) who still has gorgeous skin, which she has maintained by using a partciular line of European cleansing products.

On the other hand, I've known beautiful older women who have kept their skin dewy fresh simply by using Pond's cold cream. You can do an adequate job of taking care of your skin using inexpensive products that you can find at your grocery store or a drugstore. The key is to be consistent when performing your daily routine. Don't feel that you have to spend lots of money to have beautiful skin, and don't let anyone sell you products that you don't want to or can't afford to buy.

You do need a cleanser that is especially made for the face. Skin on our bodies and skin on our faces have a different texture and a different oil balance. And, the skin on our faces is more delicate than say, the skin on our legs. Body skin also needs a heavier moisturizing lotion than facial skin. So, soaps and lotions made for the body are not formulated in the same manner as soaps and lotions made for the face.

A creamy cleanser, such as a cold cream, can be used both to remove makeup and to cleanse skin. If you use a facial soap, you will still need some type of makeup remover. Use the remover to take off your makeup first, so that the water and soap can get directly to the skin to do their job. Then, use your makeup reomover to spot clean away any traces of mascara or such that might be left in the eye area. Some women buy a general makeup remover and an eye makeup remover, as well. The eye makeup removers are wonderfully formulated for the gentle skin around the eyes. But, I personally don't use one. I have time only for a good basic skin routine. When I start collecting too many products for this and that, I forget to use them all! So, I just use cold cream or something with that consistency as my single makeup remover.

5) After cleansing, it's a good idea to apply a toner or astringent. This is step 2 of your skin care regimin. A toner removes dead cells and any dirt that the facial cleanser didn't get. This reveals the the newer, fresher layer of your skin, making you look younger and healthier.

Astringent is very strong, and it should be reserved only for oily, non-sensitive skin. There are different strengths of toner, as well. I find that for my ultra-fair, fine, mature skin, I need the gentlest toner I can find.

If you use an exfolient cleanser, you may find that it's too much to use a toner as well. Experiment to find out what suits your skin.

NEVER use toner around your eyes. The skin there cannot handle it, and you do not want to get it into your eyes. Remove any traces of eye makeup with a gentle cream, such as Pond's or a creamy cleanser made especially for the eye area.

6) After cleansing and toning, it's time to moisturize. Look for a product that works for your type of skin. Pond's can be used a moisturizer, as well as a cleanser, though it may be too heavy for very young skins.

Moisturizers protect the delicate chemical balance of your face from the elements. They hold in whatever moisture is already there, and they add moisture. They don't necessarily add oil, as that on top of your natural oils might be too much for someone with oily to normal skin. Moisturizers for dryer skin tend to be oilier.

While it's important to buy moisturizers for your skin's type, you may or may not want to buy all of the specialized moisturizers. For example, some companies sell a lotion that fills in your lines and goes underneath your daily moisturizers. Other companies sell a moisturizer for day and a moisturizer for night.

When I did use a product from Prescriptives that went underneath the daily moisturizer, I was pleased with the results. But, I haven't bought it again. As I said earlier, for me, the more basic the skincare routine, the more likely I'll be to follow it well.

If you're counting on your moisturizer to keep your skin wrinkle free forever, you'll be disappointed. Skin care products are changing as technology develops, so its possible that they will do more and more to keep our skin beautiful as time goes by. At the maximus, they will only help us look and feel our best for our age, and they may help us look a few years younger than we might if we didn't protect our skin. But, they will never stop the aging process entirely. To expect to have the skin we had at twenty when we are sixty is a losing battle. Therefore, we have to believe God's promise that a meek and quiet spirit is the true beauty that never fades.

7) Note in the Bible many references to oiling the skin of the face and the body. In some cases, this is mentioned in conjunction with a special religious signifigance, a subject which is beyond the scope of this article. However, people in Bible times also did this to protect their skin and hair. Many of the areas mentioned in the Bible had dry climates. And, people couldn't run to the drugstore to pick up a moisturizer. So, they made their own skin products out of fragrances and oils. The ancient idea of oiling the hair, skin, and body can be helpful even today.

When it comes to your body, you may find that smoothing a little olive oil, almond oil, or other light oil into the skin helps protect and moisturize your skin. If your facial skin is very dry, you can even dab a bit of oil onto it at night before going to bed. (And, you can gently pat a tiny dab of oil down the length of very long hair, as well, in order to keep it shiny).

8) Jojoba oil reportedly has a consistency similar to human hair and skin. I bought a bottle to use on the ends of my hair, but I ended up using it more on my face. I felt it was beneficial and intend to buy it again sometime. You can find a bottle of jojoba oil at a health food store. A little goes a long way, so buy the smallest bottle you can find. This not only keeps you from spending too much on it, it ensures that you will use it up before it goes rancid.

Other natural products that many people rave about are shea butter, carrot oil, and coconut oil. Most of us will find these do wonders for the skin on our bodies. Those of us with dryer skin may find them very helpful when applied lightly to the skin of our faces at night, as well.

When I was ten, my mother and I were in a car accident during snowy weather. My mother, who had lovely skin, ended up with a huge gash down her forehead. The gash had to be stitched. Our doctor told her to go to the drugstore and buy a brick of coconut oil and rub it across the wound once it got to a certain point of healing. She did, and her scar vanished!

Some people find that Vitamin E oil is helpful for their skin, particularly for removing small scars. Be careful, though, as some people have an allergic type reaction to using too much vitamin E on the skin. If you use Vitamin E and your skin feels irritated or breaks out into fine bumps, discontinue it.

9) As we get older, the lines of our faces naturally start to sag. This begins to show up sometime in middle age, and for some women this occurs even as young as age forty. Those of us who are of middle-age and beyond need to be aware of the effect this can have on the people around us. When we are sitting at rest, our faces can easily fall into severe-looking expressions, even though we may actually feel quite content and cheerful inside. This can intimidate younger people, who misunderstand the look on our faces. They think that we are giving them looks of disapproval, and they may feel insecure, wondering what they have done to offend us.

I remember feeling this way around some older women when I was young. Later on, when I read this tip in a book, I realized instantly that these women had not been frowning at me! They were simply unaware of how their expressions looked. Now, that I am more mature, I am aware of how easily my own face could look unhappy or disapproving, even when that's not what I'm feeling in my heart.

For this reason, as we age, we have to work harder to make sure that the lines of our face fall into a pleasant expression. This may take some practicing in front of a mirror, so that we can train the muscles of our face to counter-act the effects of gravity.

10) If you want to have a lovely face and expression, attend to the health of your eyes and seek medical attention for things such as frequent headaches. Sometimes, we squint because we need glasses, or we frown because of sinus congestion. A little medical attention can turn problems like theses around. Also, learning how to maintain good posture of the head and neck can improve the quality of our complexion. Squinting causes the skin to wrinkle prematurely, and slouching reduces the firmness of the muscles and tissues that support our facial skin.

11) The best cosmetic for all women is a loving, faithful, and peaceful heart.

Our faces are meant to express the full range of human emotions. So, stuffing all of our hurt or angry feelings inside while forcing ourselves to grin only distorts our face into an unnatural mask. A woman who spends her life mourning with those who mourn and rejoicing with those who rejoice writes a lovely message on her face: Here is a woman who has spent her life loving people, who is kind-hearted and sympathetic, who is real about her own life, and who will understand when I share my problems with her. We shouldn't be afraid of expressing real emotions, provided that we take these emotions to God for guidance and comfort.

However, daily bad habits of disposition and expression may write an unattractive message on our faces. Any woman of my age can tell you that the habits of a lifetime do etch themselves on your skin -- whether for good or for ill. Sometimes, we just let our thoughts and our faces become negative, when there is no reason to be so. When that happens, it's time to train our thoughts to dwell on the uplifting subjects that Paul mentions in Philippians and to train our faces to fall into pleasant lines.

None of us could function if we spent all of our time thinking about what our faces are doing. If you are working on your expression, start by looking in the mirror in the morning. Let your lips turn up a little, not so much that you look silly, but just enough to be pleasant. Note if your eyelids are droopy, and try to let your eyes look bright. Then, go about your day without being self-concious. You can leave little reminders for yourself to check your expression two or three times during a day. One way is to put a mirror by your phone and let the phone's ring remind you to take a peak at how you are doing. Another way is to set a timer and glance at a mirror once the timer rings. Still another way is to stick a few colorful post-its about your house. You can even place one in your car. It takes anywhere from six weeks to a year to eliminate bad habits and to form new ones. Eventually pleasant thoughts and a pleasant expression will become second nature to you. When that happens, you won't have to work so hard to project a pleasant disposition and a pleasant expression. After you pass through one of life's challenging times, it's good to check your habits of expression again.


1 comment:

Emma said...

Great post, Elizabeth!