Have you noticed that your skin has lost firmness, elasticity, radiance? Fine lines have appeared around your eyes and/or mouth, and/or neck? Fine lines have become more visible? Then you should enter a program to recondition your skin, which is one of your precious assets. It is a 40-day up to two-month ’emergency program’ I usually follow when I see alarming signs.
For long-lasting results and a preventive approach, you should adopt the steps of this program as general guidelines for a skin-friendly lifestyle.
Recondition Your Skin
Here are 10 steps you can take to recondition your skin, followed by some skin-friendly habits:
- Acceptance, trust, and love. Do not panic. Accept the present condition of your skin and think that there are always solutions to anything. Think and feel LOVE for yourself and your skin, and trust your body’s capacity to regenerate.
- Sleep. Sleep more. Try to sleep at least nine hours per night. Ten is better. You can stick to the nine hours of good sleep on weekdays, and do your best to ensure a 10 to 12-hour sleep over the weekend. After one or two months you can go back to your routine, but please make it at least eight hours per night.
- Water. Drink more water. 2.5 liters of plain water daily would be ideal. Squeeze a slice of lemon in the water you drink first thing in the morning (at least 1/2 l). This will purify and energize your body, as well as balance your inner pH. When you end this ’emergency program’, remember to keep your routine intake of water between 1.5-2 liters every day.
- Apple cider vinegar. Use bio or organic apple cider vinegar both internally and on your skin. To use it internally, either add two teaspoons to the 1/2 liter water you drink in the morning to replace the squeezed lemon, or add just one teaspoon together with the lemon. This will keep your body slightly more alkaline than acidic, with benefits for your general health and your skin. The apple cider vinegar has the same effect when applied directly on your skin: it balances its pH instantly. In addition, it tightens and smooths your skin and, if used regularly, it will help you get rid of pimples, acne, and dark spots. You can use it on your perfectly clean face, hands, and whole body. It is usually recommended to dilute it with water, either in equal parts or one part vinegar-two water, and also to wash it off 3-5 minutes after application, especially the first few times you do that. What I do is apply it undiluted, no matter if it is on my hands, face, or the whole body. When it comes to my face though, I dab it carefully into the skin with my fingertips, paying attention not to get too close to my eyes, which I keep shut for a minute or so. WARNING. When you apply cider vinegar on your face, I advise you to dilute it. Do not get too close to your eyes and keep them shut anyway, for about one minute after application on face. Do this once or twice a day, morning and/or night, during this program to recondition your skin.
- Face lift serum. Apply a face lift serum on your face and neck, after the apple cider vinegar treatment, or directly after you have cleansed skin. I use collagen, retinol, and elastin, in this exact order. I dab these serums one after another into the skin of my neck and face, and use a little of any one of them on my hands too. I have used such serums produced by Laboratoires Magistra S.A. Genève, which I buy at a natural health shop in Bucharest. Do this morning and night during the reconditioning program, even if you skip applying apple cider vinegar.
- Vitamin E oil and natural oils. Apply vitamin E oil on your face, neck and hands, immediately after the serum(s). I use 1-2 capsules of vitamin E oil, which I cut at one end, careful not to hurt myself or spill their precious content, then I apply the oil on my skin. Gently massage it, with light upward strokes, into the skin of your neck, under your chin, then, with your index and middle fingers of both hands, go in slanting, slightly upward glides laterally, middle fingers under your jaw bone, index fingers from under your lower lip, gently towards the lobes of your ears. Do this embracing oily glide 3-5 times, then go in gentle, lengthy, continuous strokes from the corners of your lips to the cheek bones, 3-5 times, without stretching your skin at all, to avoid crinkling the delicate skin under your eyes. Keep your arms and forearms at the level of your face, pulling your elbows backwards, as though you were doing these massaging strokes from behind. Be careful with the area around the eyes. Here you should dab a little oil with the tips of your ring fingers, avoiding contact with the eyes. Do the same on your forehead, then apply lateral strokes, from its middle to the temples. You can also massage circularly the area around the eyes, from the outside to the inner corners, as long as you have the dexterity to avoid contact with the eyes and to apply light strokes, so as not to stretch the skin. Having completed all these operations (cleansing, apple cider vinegar, serum(s), vitamin E oil) your skin is ready for the application of your regular face and hand creams. Use a SPF in daytime. You may skip the vitamin E oil procedure in the morning. On the rest of your body, apply some natural oil (extra virgin olive oil, coconut, argan, or jojoba oil) after the apple cider vinegar. Massage the oil into the skin of your limbs and trunk, using upward strokes again, then rub in your regular body lotion/ cream. During the reconditioning period, do the complete series of procedures at least any other day on your face, neck and hands, and at least twice a week on your whole body. Outside the program to recondition your skin, you can resort to the series every once in a while, for example when you have to look your best the following day, or simply when you feel you have some extra time to dedicate to your looks.
- Exfoliation. Scrub your face and body once a week. Exfoliation is crucial to get rid of dead cells and clean the pores of your skin. For the face I use either wheat bran or finely ground corn flour. I myself do not have the time or patience to steam my face over hot water or plant infusion, and, more importantly, I do not want to expose myself to the gravitational force face down. Therefore, I just wash it with tepid water, then scrub some wheat bran or corn flour into it. Whenever you do this, continue with the processes described above before applying the regular skin care products. To exfoliate my body, I prefer more coarsely ground cornmeal. Sometimes I use coffee grounds, which are excellent for microcirculation and for fighting cellulite. It depends on the sensitivity of your skin which one to use. You can try any of these and see which suits your skin better, and if all do, alternate them. Outside the ’emergency program’, you should set your routine to once per month or once in two months, depending on your amount of free time.
- Supplements. Although I used to take vitamin A, one capsule per day x five days, and vitamin E, two capsules per day x 10 days, lately I have only used two supplements, of which one is: Coenzima Q10 in Ulei de Catina Forte Plus (Coenzyme Q10 in Boxthorn Oil, Forte Plus), produced by S.C. Hofigal, a natural health company based in Bucharest, Romania. I bought two bottles of 40 capsules each and I took two capsules per day, for 40 days.
- Avoid stress. It is important to avoid stress, as it is the source of all bad things when it comes to our health and beauty, and not only. This is not the focus of this post, but you probably already know that there are a lot of ways in which you can prevent stress and protect yourself against it. I will only give you some hints here: order, starting with the things in your immediate surroundings, your home and work place, which will bring some order into your thoughts and actions; acceptance, accept any situation you encounter, accept people as they are, accept yourself with all your flaws and mistakes, before you take any correctional action; forgiveness, forgive yourself and those who have wronged you or who you think have wronged you, no matter how long ago, and you will put a definite stop to some hidden sources of stress, to say nothing of the power you will instantly feel; trust, trust that there is always a solution to any problem, so step confidently through life, without any fear; gratitude, be grateful for what you are and have, and wish for more after, and only after, you have been thankful; focus, always focus on one thing at a time, which may be the simplest way to prevent stress. If you cannot help it and you find yourself in a stressful situation, which usually happens, take a deep breath and apply the same principles.
- Reasonable diet. Do not eat too much or too often. Two to three meals per day should be enough. Avoid sodas, any kind of bottled juices and beverages, and processed, off-the-counter foods, as they are full of chemicals and sugar. Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, and increase that of green vegetables. Eat at least one portion of green salad daily, with a teaspoon of olive oil and one of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Try to include vegetables and fruit which contain lycopene in at least one daily meal. These are red or orange in color: tomatoes, sweet red peppers, red cabbage, carrots, water melon. Do not exaggerate though, as they say your skin can get a yellowish tinge. Lycopene is a very powerful antioxidant, which can also help prevent heart disease and even cancer. Tip: tomatoes better preserve their nutritional qualities when cooked, as opposed to carrots, for example; baked or sun dried, they are delicious. Do not be afraid to eat good fats, like full eggs, fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, full fat yogurt, a little full fat butter or cheese. I do not drink milk, but if you do, at least go for the whole-fat type. Eat sea fruit and fatty fish at least twice a week, especially salmon, as it is considered to be the most important source of omega 3 fats. Instead of frying food, steam, bake, boil, or grill it.
Never go to bed without removing your makeup; cleanse your face even if you have not been wearing makeup.
Never use soap on your face, unless prescribed by your dermatologist for curative purposes.
Avoid washing your face with tap water if it is excessively hard. You can use toner or micellar water instead, although nothing compares to splashing cold water on your face in the morning, just to wake all your traits up to life again. Best solution: spray cold rose water, facial mineral water, or bottled plain water on your face. I use both tap water and rose water.
Try not to give a hand to the earth’s gravitational force as it pulls at your traits, so keep your neck upright and firm and your head up when you stand, and relax and sleep face up, although some recent studies have revealed that the best position while sleeping is on your left side. Well, I say, try to educate your body to alternate positions, but definitely rule out the face-down one.
Learn how to breathe properly and exercise regularly. Oxygenation is important for all the cells in your body and it goes hand in hand with proper blood circulation. Breathing and exercise also unclog energy blocks in your body, and harmonious circulation of energy engages harmonious circulation of all the fluids in your body. Your skin does not benefit less from this. Just think how you feel and you look after a session of working out at the gym, swimming, or running.
Wear sun glasses and the right eyeglasses when and if necessary, to avoid frowning or squinting.
We all know that the ultra violet rays from the sun damage the human skin. Apart from other, even life threatening effects, like skin cancer, the UV rays break down the collagen fibers in the skin and reduce its elasticity, which causes it to wrinkle and sag, making you look old. In fact, a study reported in the medical journal Clinical, Cosmetic And Investigational Dermatology reveals that 80% of skin aging is due to exposure to the sun.
That is why, most importantly of all, you should apply cream with a sun protection factor every day, no matter the season or the weather condition. When you expose your body to bright sunlight, always wear a wide spectrum UVB/UVA sunscreen, SPF 30 to 50.