I love my skin.
I know you don’t hear many people admit that out loud, but I do. I love it because it protects me, has been stretched and changed over the years, and reflects years of suffering and joy. I also love the color of my skin. I am so grateful for my beautiful brown melanin.
Oh, and by the way, I have lines on my face.
I am not one who is running away from getting older. I mean, the alternative is not ideal, so I am going with it.
My mom taught me about skincare at a young age, and I have been committed to washing my face at night and using eye cream ever since.
There are many products that claim to help improve skin tone and promote a flawless complexion, but the truth is that there is no such thing as instant results. An effective skincare regimen is one that is done consistently over time so noticeable results have the opportunity to develop.
I like easy-to-follow plans for just about everything, so I broke down improving your skincare into 5 simple steps:
Exfoliating 1–3 times each week will help remove old skin cells, dirt, oil, and leftover products. Your skin naturally sheds dead cells every 30 days, but sometimes dead cells don’t shed entirely, so exfoliation helps complete that cycle.
2. Avoid Sun Exposure
You’ve heard this a million times, but that’s because it’s true. Avoid constant exposure to the sun — including tanning beds! — and use non-toxic sunscreen every day. This especially includes my melanated sisters.
In addition to being dangerous to your health, sun exposure may also lead to early signs of aging. Everyone loves a suntan, but there is no reason to sacrifice your skin or your health to achieve it. If you have to be in the sun frequently, make sure to wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen. I prefer mineral sunscreen formulated with non-nano zinc oxide to protect against UVA, UVB, and blue (HEV) light rays.
If it’s really important to you to look tan, find a self-tanning lotion. Before applying the lotion to your entire body, though, apply it to a small test area just to make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin. Truth be told, this is not something I use, but I am on the lookout for a clean self-tanning lotion that I can share with you.
3. Moisturize Your Lips
If your lips tend to be chapped, using a natural lip moisturizer can help keep them hydrated and happy.
Pro tip: Gently exfoliate your lips often. I use a homemade sugar scrub and this sponge in the shower.
I swear by this lip conditioner! It has lasted me for a couple of years and I never have to reapply — it’s that good.
4. Stay Hydrated
I cannot emphasize this step enough! You must hydrate every single day if you want gorgeous skin. Drink half your body weight in ounces to keep your skin supple. Hydration equals elasticity, and elasticity equals a youthful glow, so drink up!
There are times that no matter how much you hydrate, you still get dry or cracked skin, especially in cold winter months when the heater is pulling all the moisture out of the air. For these times, keep a small container of thick hand lotion handy to moisturize on the go. And make sure to moisturize your body after bathing, especially where skin is roughest, your elbows, knees, and heels.
5. Know Your Skin
When trying out a new item, apply a small portion to one area of your skin first, just to make sure you do not have a reaction.
- Also, always read the label! You never know what is hiding in certain products, so taking a few extra minutes in research is totally worth it. One simple tool to help you figure out what’s safe and what’s not is the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) app that allows you to scan a product and see how it’s rated.
- As you’re learning how to read labels, one quick tip is to avoid products with the word fragrance. I think fragrance is trash because it’s really just code for hidden chemicals. Did you know that companies are allowed to hide up to 3,000 ingredients under that word?
- According to EWG, “A major loophole in FDA’s federal law lets manufacturers of products like shampoo, lotion, and body wash include nearly any ingredient in their products under the name ‘fragrance’ without actually listing the chemical.”
- Also, don’t be fooled by the term natural fragrance. It doesn’t mean “safe fragrances”. It’s just a green-washing term that actually means nothing.
So now you’re armed with a little more knowledge and a game plan for more gorgeous skin. Because no matter how old you are, you deserve to love how it looks and feels.