Okay, so I’ll admit, I’m not entirely sure when I’ll need my skin to “look presentable”. About 90% of my human interactions currently happen over Google Hangouts or Zoom meetings. Even still, for the sake of my sanity, practicing self-care in these troubling times is key to keeping it. No, I won’t be putting on a full face of make-up or putting on my smartest outfit to get brunch with the gals, but I will carve out some time in my very busy work-from-home schedule to take care of my skin. If you’d like to join me, here’s what my routine been looking like for the past 6-weeks.
I’m quick to admit that I’ve never done enough for my maturing skin, and sometimes my lack of care shows. As I’ve told myself over and over again, I can’t turn back time and save my skin from my past self (why did we ever think alcohol in toners was a good idea). All I can do now is treat it with the respect and loving care it deserves. These days, keeping my routine “simple” means saving my skin from a bit of the trauma I usually force it to experience. Whereas I once spent more time getting ready to greet the outside world, I now have a little more time to focus on my skin and what it’s telling me it wants.
Don’t Skim Out On Your Routine
I’m was never one for a 10-step skincare routine, and to this day, I sometimes have to remind myself to use a makeup remover and cleanser before I hit the hay. However, going through menopause—too much information, never—completely changed my outlook on my routine. I won’t burden you with all the steps (there’s 5), but I will take this time to talk about the importance of agentle cleanser.
I spent years telling myself I was helping my skin look like the morning glow and curb dry patches by using harsh cleansers and unnatural scrubs. I heard it hundreds of times—exfoliate your skin once a week—and I ran wild with that advice. It wasn’t until I hit 40 that I began to realize that my normally dry skin was becoming drier than the Sahara desert. Hormones, am I right?
I used luxury serums and dermatologist recommended moisturizers ideal for a woman of my age, so it thought, what gives? It took me longer than I’d like to admit to realize that my cleanser and scrub routine was hindering any progress the other products had made on my skin. So, I ditched the cleanser and exfoliators, followed some great advice for those caring for menopausal skin, and choose the gentle approach in all things.
Hydration is Your New Best Friend
If you’re anything like me, depending on the day, you either drink water like a camel or intake it like the fishes. It’s tough to remember to stay hydrated when you’re out and about crushing your day of work or errands. Surprisingly, it’s just as difficult to remember to drink enough H2O while you’re staying home. As an act of self-care, I decided to set timers on my phone for every hour, reminding myself to, at the very least, drink a glass of water. As another practice of self-care, I choose the most peaceful alarm chime I could find, as I didn’t want this “kind reminder” experience to turn into a frustrating one. I’ve also made it a point to record my water intake on a post-it note and weekly planner. Staying home isn’t ideal, but there’s something reassuring about having the time to recount the small ways you’re treating yourself to health and kindness. The positives to this routine? My skin is retaining more elasticity than it has in years, and I’ve noticed a dip in dry patches as well. Thanks, water!
If You’re Heading Out, Don’t Skip the Mask or the Sunscreen
Of course, wearing a mask is an important part of my daily routine. As a mature woman, I’m not taking any chances. Unfortunately, there are times I have to wander out on my own, as I can’t always rely on the kindness of friends and family to do my grocery shopping or run errands for me. On the days I step outside for longer than a trip to the garden or mailbox, I wear a trusty (and stylish) cloth mask that I made myself from the piles of quilting cotton I never got around to using. It may not assure my safety, but it does lessen my chances of getting ill.
However, this reminder isn’t only to keep a face mask handy (and a Korean nighttime face mask doesn’t hurt either), but a reminder to apply sunscreen. You might be thinking, “but I’m wearing a face mask; the majority of my face is covered”, and you’d be right. Might I remind you, however, that if you’re a gal of any age—I’m looking at you 20-somethings—you’d do best to apply an SPF to your skin, no matter the weather and no matter the occasion. With skin that hasn’t much associated with the sun in over a month, even a 10-minute walk in the park means risking a nasty burn and a strange facial tan line. Do yourself a self-care favor and wear your sunscreen, no matter if you have skin that resembles a dewy baby, or a mature goddess, much like myself.
Stay Safe and Love Your Maturity
The more time I spend at home, the more time I have to reflect on the life I’ve lived. I’m not going to get too deep or philosophical. I simply want to relay my feelings that this is a terrible time for many, and I’m fortunate enough to be in a situation where I remain relatively safe. Regardless of where or who you are, I hope for your safety as well. And let’s face it, in this time of uncertainty, sometimes practicing self-care is all we can do as we wait this out. Here’s to you, your health, and your glorious new self-care skin routine. All the best.