Once you get involved in the health of one area of your body [hair] it tends to lead into others. The next logical area is skin care. Now as much as I know about hair I have to admit that I am not as knowledgeable when it comes to skin. Lucky for me (and you out there in the blogosphere) I have a good friend, Tracie Wilkes, an Aesthetician who broke things down one night over dinner. A lot of these tips seemed like commonsense after she brought it up, but quite honestly these are things I did not know.
Facial Care: We started with tips on caring for your face because that is the first thing people see and the most often complained about.
- Did you know that you should brush your teeth before you wash your face? Bacteria in your mouth that you are trying to rid through the act of brushing and flossing will inevitably land on your face. Also toothpaste contains agents that are drying (you know that crust you see in the corner of people’s mouth that they missed) and this is bad for the skin. So make sure you brush your teeth first then wash your face.
- If you’re not using facial toner as part of your skin care regimen, you are losing. Toners are made for all skin types and are used to condition, balance and hydrate the skin. You can also use natural toners like tea blends or witch hazel.
- Steps to include in your facial care: cleanse, tone then moisturize. Yes there are moisturizers for those with oily and combination skin so find one that deals with your skin type.
- While washing is important another step that is often overlooked is exfoliation. The exterior cells of your skin are constantly dying and flaking off and need to be removed which is achieved through exfoliation. Exfoliating is all about friction, but it is better not to use harsh materials like apricot scrub unless you are working on elbows, knees or feet. Each area should be exfoliated for 5-7 minutes using gentle exfoliation, the key is to put in work on the area over time, not to be too rough. Here is a recipe for a DIY scrub.
- Shaving should also involve a regimen. If you are like me when it comes to shaving you grab something slippery and a clean razor and handle business, but there is much more than that especially for those of us with curly hair and suffer from ingrown hairs. Before shaving prep the area by gently exfoliating and then use a medium hot towel to soften skin and open the pores. After shaving use toner on the shaved area to help soothe and tighten the skin. In the days following, repeat exfoliation helps to keep those curly hairs from growing back down into the skin and causing ingrown hairs.
- Use sunblock. Yes I know we’ve all heard the old adage “Black don’t crack” and that is because the high amounts of melanin in our skin does serve as protectant from the suns rays. However dark-skinned people are still susceptible to skin damage from the sun’s rays the worst of which is cancer. At a minimum use a sunblock with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15.
The last and most important tip about your skin is to learn the difference between skin that’s dry and skin that’s dehydrated. Skin that is dry is lacking fat (lipids) or oil and will flake or itch. This problem can be solved by applying a oil, lotion, cream or balm to the skin and massaging into the area. Skin that is dehydrated is lacking water. Your skin can be dry or oily and still be dehydrated. How can you tell if your skin is dehydrated? If you pinch your skin and it does not immediately bounce back your skin is dehydrated. The best ways to hydrate your skin is to drink water. Along with that apply oil/butters directly to wet skin to help seal in the moisture (just like your hair) or use a water-based emulsion to add both water and seal.
These are just a few tips Tracie taught me, if you have any additional questions feel free to leave a comment below and I will try to get answers for you. Also feel free to like Tracie’s FB page and if you are local you can get an appointment for her renown facials, waxes or massages.