The Busy Girl’s Guide to Better Skin
Most of us would describe the relationship we have with our skin as tumultuous—and that’s putting it lightly. Like the bratty younger sister who does as she pleases with no regard to the fact that um, hello, we have a date tonight and it’d be great if she didn’t have to act up just this once, our epidermis always seems to operate with a (frustrating, unpredictable) mind of its own. (As for the 1% of you ladies who do naturally possess flawless skin—we look to you with awe and envy…mostly envy.)
Unlike the Hollywood set, our daily schedules are usually filled to the brim with not-as-glamorous “real people” chores, leaving little to no time for pore-tightening facials or wrinkle-zapping laser treatments. But before you throw your cleanser out the bathroom window in frustration at the injustice of it all, know this – your busy schedule isn’t the end of your skin health. In fact, using these five smart, time-saving skin tips can instantly help your skin look brighter and more beautiful. Who says busy girls can’t have it all?
1. Eat skin foods: Since eating is a core part of, you know, human survival and all that, you’ll lose no time at all in your busy day by making this switch. The key is to load up on skin-boosting foods instead of salty, processed snacks (you’ll save yourself from bloating afterwards too, which is always a plus in our book). According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Medical Center, you should choose foods like salmon and walnuts, which are full of omega-3 fatty acids that hydrate your complexion from the inside out. Also great are leafy green veggies like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and arugula, which are full of vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin E to help minimize free radical damage. He also suggests tomatoes for their high lycopene content (it helps prevent signs of aging) and blueberries because they’re full of antioxidants that protect your skin from free radicals and encourage collagen production.
2. Simplify your morning routine: If you don’t have time to cleanse, exfoliate, scrub, massage, scrub, lather, younameit every morning, feel free to skip it every so often. That’s right—skipping your morning wash may not be as damaging as you might think. Dr. Zeichner states, “In general, it is important to get rid of dirt and oil on your skin; [this is] most important for those who have oily and acne prone skin. However, if you don’t break out, the occasional missed face wash won’t be too harmful.” The truth is, you can actually over wash your face. Even if you have oily skin, washing too often can strip your skin of its natural oils, which will cause your skin to overcompensate by producing it in excess. You should wash your face a maximum of two times a day—washing at night is non-negotiable (you need it to get rid of makeup, sweat, dirt and oil from the day) but if mornings are tight, feel free to splash with water or spritz with a refreshing face mist instead of full-on cleansing.
However, there is one a.m. product Dr. Zeichner says you should never skip: a moisturizer containing antioxidants and sunscreen. This study proved that sunscreen can slow the signs of aging skin well into middle age, while antioxidants are what help our skin look bright and healthy—so why not use a product that boasts both of these skin-boosting properties? We love Kiehl’s BB Cream—it’s made with vitamin C, has SPF 50 and comes in 4 different shades to cover as well as moisturize. Lancôme Bienfait Multi-Vital SPF 30 Cream and Juice Beauty SPF 30 Tinted Moisturizer are other great options to get your morning glow on.
3. Choose the right products at night: Instead of wasting precious sleep time and experimenting with a different five-step system every other week, you can whittle down the minutes of your nighttime skin routine by choosing the key product that will benefit your unique skin type. Dry skin? Find a serum with hyaluronic acid like L’Oréal RevitaLift Triple Power Concentrated Serum Treatment. Dark spots? Choose a dark spot corrector serum with brightening ingredients—we’re fans of SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF Gel. Aging skin? Dr. Zeichner recommends using a peptide or growth factor serum (try Fresh Soy Face Serum or L’Oréal Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Advanced Skin Repair Serum). Once you know the right products to use for your skin, you’ll spend less time stressing and more time resting. Which brings us to our next point…
4. Sleep: Before you roll your eyes at the hundredth time you’ve heard about the benefits of sleep, you might want to know this: According to a new study by University Hospitals Case Medical Center, fine lines, uneven skin tone and reduced elasticity were twice as great in poor sleepers than “good quality” sleepers. Plus, those who were sleep deprived suffered from “dehydrated skin and dulled sensory response”—yikes. We know it’s easier said than done, but this study clearly shows that catching up on those zzz’s can drastically improve the state of your skin; try your best to set aside at least seven hours every night for distraction-free shut-eye. If you have time, these simple pre-snooze beauty tips will help you wake up pretty. (When an all-nighter is inevitable—we’ve all been there—try these eye-brightening tips to avoid looking like a sleepy panda the next morning.)
5. Multi-task: Just because your primp time is limited doesn’t mean you should miss out on all the skin-pampering fun—the trick is to multitask. For example, instead of lamenting the fact that you don’t have 15 minutes to spare for a face mask, why not apply it in the shower? Leave it on as you shave your legs/use your loofah/sing Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocket Full of Sunshine” à la Emma Stone in Easy A and simply wash it off at the end of your rinse. Bonus: the steam from your shower opens up your pores, which allows the mask to penetrate deep into the skin. Instead of spending time cleansing and then exfoliating, combine the two steps in one by investing in a face brush like the Clarisonic Mia—it promises to clean your skin six times better than with your hands alone. Another timesaving trick: choose an overnight peel like Garnier Skin Renew Clinical Dark Spot Overnight Peel, Kiehl’s Over-Night Biological Peel or BRAD Ultra Peel that works as you sleep – two birds, one (very beautifying) stone.
Do you have any timesaving skin tips you swear by? Share with us in the comments!
Photo: Konstantin Yunganov/Veer