Confession. I used to visit the tanning bed regularly. It’s SO awful to think about now. I look back on pictures and wonder why I ever thought it was a great idea?! Thankfully, I have outgrown that bad habit, and I have learned the importance of taking care of my skin (including using sunscreen!). After all, skin is the largest organ in the body, and it is our first defense against germs. As often as it is marketed solely for beauty purposes, it plays a HUGE role in our health!
The great news for those who want to care for their skin is that we don’t HAVE to spend a lot of money on skincare products. There are many ways to apply nutrients without visiting a spa (though I do enjoy a good day of pampering now and then!). Check out these at-home ingredients that will leave your skin feeling thankful. If you have sensitive skin or allergies, you may need to make adjustments or substitutions for these skincare hacks.
Coconut Oil Using a moisturizer, whichever you choose, is important. It helps prevent the skin from drying out (which leads to cracks and tears). When the skin cracks, it allows for bacteria to enter. Applying a moisturizer will help increase your defense against unwanted germs. When we lived in the Fort Lauderdale area, many of our friends utilized coconut oils as moisturizers. I decided to try it too. If you look for virgin coconut oil in the store (usually in the baking section), it appears as a thick, translucent white substance. Upon scooping it up with your hands, it will begin to melt into an oil. This oil is luscious goodness for your skin, as it contains vitamin E! It may take an adjustment to get used to the consistency of using an oil on your skin, but it certainly is a tropical delight! (*If you have a coconut allergy, another great oil for moisturizing the skin is extra virgin olive oil!)
Avocado If you’re like me and could eat a bowl of guacamole, I regret to inform you that this tip will require you to use your green delight for something other than a bowl of yumm-i-ness. Avocado is an excellent ingredient for a face mask, as it contains vitamins A & E. There are many ways to incorporate it into skincare, but one of my favorite ways to use it is to combine it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. If I’m the only one who will be using the mask, I don’t use the whole avocado (I’ll use 1/2 of it..hey, you CAN eat the other half if you want!) I mix the ingredients together to create a green paste and apply it to my clean face for 15 minutes. I should warn you, this is a sticky mess, but your face will feel refreshed after you wash it off! You can also experiment mixing with other ingredients, such as lemon, lime, and ginger. (Although I should warn you that for sensitive skin, these ingredients can sting, as they act as an astringent!) Know your body and incorporate what FEELS GOOD for YOU!
Coconut Sugar Scrub Gentle exfoliation simply removes superficial, dead skin cells to help expose new, healthy cells. Talk to your dermatologist to find out the best schedule for exfoliation for YOUR skin, as much debate exists over the exact amount of time per week we should be spending on this step. Sensitive skin, various levels of oil production, certain skin conditions like rosacea, and much more can factor in to our personal exfoliation protocols. Once you have an established schedule, you can try at-home exfoliants, such as mixing 1/2 cup of coconut sugar, along with 1 tablespoon of raw honey, to warm (NOT HOT!) water until well blended. GENTLY massage on your face in small circular motions, avoiding the eye area. You don’t want to vigorously scrub anywhere on the body, as it can actually lead to skin discoloration (in extreme circumstances) and tears/cuts. It is also recommended by many dermatologists to moisturize after exfoliation! Shared with permission from the American Academy of Dermatology, here is a video on the proper steps of at-home exfoliation.
Charcoal Mask With pollution and other toxins in the air, and in our skin, it is important to detox every now and then. Charcoal contains properties that allow it to bind to all of the nasty toxins in your skin, and upon washing your face, away they go! A simple alternative to buying a charcoal mask is to make one yourself. If you want to make your own mask, you can open quality activated charcoal supplements (usually around 8 tablets will be plenty) and mix with water to a paste-like consistency. Leave on the skin for 10-20 minutes, or until dry. However, if you feel irritation, wash it off sooner. Rinse with warm water.
These are only a few DIY skincare secrets, but MANY exist! What are some of YOUR favorite skincare hacks?!!