My beautiful Momma has beautiful skin.

My Momma

One of my comforts as a child was to cuddle up and mindlessly caress her face, her arm – even her elbow. Her skin was so soft! Momma rarely wore makeup and at 84, she maintains the same simple skin care regimen she has used most of her life – soap, water and Vaseline or whatever body lotion is in the house at that time.  That’s it.
I, like my mother, am low maintenance.  I wear little makeup, however, I need more than soap, water and lotion to care for my skin.
Last year, I noticed kooky things happening on my face – more discoloration than usual, visible pores, increased dryness and a few too many pimples to be in my mid 40s.  I went to Dermatologist Physician Assistant Skin Care Specialist Tara Rheubottom for a check-up.  BTW – this woman has the most flawless skin I’ve ever seen. The visit was very helpful, she gave me great education, 3 prescriptions, a bag of samples and a 6 step regimen to fight aging and counteract the sun damage on the lower part of my face (that is outside the shade line of my running cap).  I opened the samples and stuck with the program… for 3 1/2 days – it was just too much for me. Aging gracefully would be fine.
I did however, continue to use one of the products and internalized the tips she shared.  What I realized is the problems I was most concerned about were not aging related, but behavior related.  My face was reflecting slips on a few important things needed to keep my skin clean and clear. When I put these steps back in place, my face responded.  
Everyone’s skin is different.  For some, different products, procedures or medications may be needed. What follows is the ‘Rx’ that works for me.  No big trade secrets here – they are well known steps for skin health. I had all that stuff needed, just needed to put it to use… regularly.
NJ Skincare regimen
1. Cleanse morning, evening and after workouts with a product to remove makeup, excess oils and impurities on the skin.  I’ve used Philosphy purity made simple for years.  It’s gentle but very effective and formulated to multi-task as a remover, cleanser, toner, and light hydrator in one fast easy step. (Fast – easy – that’s for me.)
2. Exfoliate a few times a week to remove the old dead skin cells (that can make skin look dry and dull) and bring the soft new skin cells to surface. I do this in 2 ways. Most times I exfoliate and cleanse at the same time by applying the purity with my Clarisonic.  I luv this thing!  From their site: 

The Clarisonic Sonic Method, is clinically proven to amplify results of both professional treatments and daily skincare regimens. Our sonic technology harnesses a patented range of sonic frequency to drive oscillation between 200 to 350 movements per second, working with skin’s natural elasticity to beautifully transform skin’s texture and appearance.

Other times, when I don’t want to to take the time to use the brush, I skip the cleansing step and use Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash. It has small microbeads in a lightly foaming cleanser that cleans and exfoliates at the same time. (Again – the multi-task!)  It always leaves my skin soft as a baby’s bottom. Note: I get these products from QVC when they have the jumbo size bottles on TSV.
3. Moisturize after every cleanse (so minimally morning and evening) to add and lock moisture in the skin.  I currently use another Philosophy product – Hope In A Jar.  I like this product because it is light, soaks into the skin almost immediately, makes it really soft and it contains antioxidants that help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
4. Protect with sunscreen every morning.  Many African Americans skip this step as we don’t burn easily and think the melanin in our skin prevents sun damage and skin cancer.  According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, Melanin provides an SPF of around 13.4 which helps but is not enough for removal of skin cancer risk. Additionally, my dermatologist shared that many of the splotches and dark areas some African American women use bleaching creams to fade, are hyper pigmentation due to sun damage. Prevention of damage instead of treatment of damage is a better way to go.  My favorite sunscreen for the face is SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense.  It has a SPF of 50, is lightweight and has a light pigment and formulation that doesn’t leave the white chalky look of most sunscreens.  I alternate this sunscreen with Mary Kay CC Cream Sunscreen. It has a lower SPF, but the tone matches my skin and gives a light coverage.
These 3 product-related steps take less than 5 minutes.  They greatly aid the health and appearance of my skin, but alone they are not enough. I found 3 additional elements are also key:
Adequate hydration – Water, water, water, water, WATER!  When I get enough water, my skin is clear, soft and supple.  How much is enough?  There are several ways to gauge an appropriate level. I advise my coaching clients to drink until their urine is pale yellow or clear. Personally, my body responds best when I shoot for a gallon a day (don’t always hit it – but that goal keeps my intake up). To kick start the drinking, I keep a bottle of water on my bathroom counter, and drink it down as part of my morning routine.
Good nutrition.  When I eat clean, my face looks clean, When I eat crap. My skin looks like crap. 
Exercise.  Exercise increases blood flow, which carries oxygen and nutrients to all body cells and removes wastes. Ellen Marmur, MD, says one of the benefits exercise brings is “cleansing your skin from the inside.”
These actions that are good for the body are also good for the face.
What is your skin care regimen?

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