Ten Commandments of Complexion Care

If we think that creating a beautiful complexion starts with having the right cosmetics, let’s think again. Rather than starting with a trip to the Lancôme counter, applying cosmetics is the end of the process not the beginning. To create and maintain the look I want, over the years I’ve developed ten rules of thumb.

If we think that creating a beautiful face starts with having the right cosmetics, let’s think again. Rather than starting with a trip to the counter, applying cosmetics is the end of the process, not the beginning. To help create and maintain the look I want over the years I’ve developed ten rules of thumb for face care.

I’m not the only one who’s come to lean on these rules. To a one, every expert I’ve consulted has mentioned them. Most of you likely know of them, too. But, just as synagogues and churches keep them posted on their bulletin boards, we need to be reminded of their importance week in and week out.  And as with the original 10, none are more important than any other; and picking and choosing won’t get the job done. Only faithfully adhering to all of them, over time, will work.


clean face1. Thou shalt keep thy face clean, washing it morning and night. This is especially crucial when you wear makeup. During the day makeup attracts and holds dirt. Failing to get it off leads to blackheads, clogged pores, whiteheads and an overall dull complexion.


drink water 2. Thou shalt drink thy water, the more the better. Your skin can’t clean itself without plenty of water. And why add insult to injury by dehydrating skin that dries faster as we age? If you drink sodas and other caffeinated beverages, as I do, you’ll need to drink even more water because caffeine is dehydrating.


Elderly Woman Smokes Cigarette3. Thou shalt remember that smoking ages thy skin prematurely. We’ve all heard the warnings about smoking. Unfortunately, women are more susceptible to the pitfalls of smoking than are men, including the premature breakdown of our skin. When skin is not supported by the fat and collagen that lie just under the epidermis, it wrinkles. In addition, nicotine yellows the skin and eyes and causes our skin to smell bad. Unfortunately, no skin treatment or care products can overcome these negative outcomes.


alcohol 4. Thou shalt remember that drinking alcohol will age thy skin prematurely. I hate this one because I really enjoy relaxing with a glass of wine (or tw0)  and a good stiff drink before dinner. But, as with smoking, drinking alcohol undermines our skin’s natural ability to take care of itself. Over time, ingesting alcohol leaves us with dry skin, deeper wrinkles, red blotches, and an uneven skin tone. If you, like me, have rosacea (reddening of the mask area due to enlarged capillaries close to the surface), alcohol contributes to worsening the inflammation.


lettuce 5. Thou shalt eat thy lettuce and thy other leafy green vegetables daily. I’ve found over the years that lettuce is the skin’s best friend. I learned this from a friend back in the 1980’s who age wads of lettuce before her period, when stressed or breakouts seemed imminent. Although skeptical at first, I became a believer when I tried it. I now eat a good portion of lettuce every day.


Brushes 6. Thou shalt clean thy cosmetic brushes regularly. Oh, do I hate this one because cleaning my makeup brushes simply isn’t how I want to spend my time. But when I think of the oil, environmental pollutants and dead cells that work their way onto my brushes, I get out my cleaner. You can use a commercial product, shampoo, or the soap you use to wash your face. After wiping and cleaning stand the brushes upright in a tall glass for a quick dry and to maintain their shape.


Mature Woman Sleeping On Bed

7. Thou shalt get plenty of sleep. This is hard for many of us, but oh, so necessary. Our body cleanses itself as we sleep. Too, getting a good night’s sleep or grabbing an afternoon nap rests our eyes, often the first area on our face to register aging. No amount of skin care or makeup can create the look of well-rested, bright eyes. We need our sleep.


Micro final8. Thou shalt get regular microdermabrasions. I’ve written about this before. We can’t exfoliate our face ourselves sufficiently. In addition to weekly home scrub masks to keep dead cells as bay we need the help of a licensed aesthetician. I prefer those who work for or have worked for a dermatologist. They have medical training in addition to training in facial care. Under no circumstances should you allow an unlicensed practitioner to administer a microderm or a chemical peel.


Hispanic woman applying sunscreen on beach9. Thou shalt wear full-spectrum sunblock every day all year long. I’ll now climb into the pulpit and preach. Our skin thins as we age, so even those of us who are naturally dark MUST protect our skin from sun damage. Even a slight burn can cause cancer. If that’s not enough to encourage to protect ourselves, the sun dehydrates our skin, causes age spots, damages the subcutaneous layer, and causes wrinkles. Finally, much of what the sun does to our skin cannot be reversed. Can I get an amen here and a show of hands from the faithful?


moisture10. Thou shalt moisturize thy skin daily. If you’re like me and have had dry skin all of your life, using moisturizer is a standard operating procedure. But for those whose skin was oily in their youth, having to moisturize can seem counter intuitive. The fact is, however, beginning in our forties all of us need a good moisturizer. What you use doesn’t have to be expensive but it does have to be emollient enough to get the job done. Because skin becomes dryer over time, we need to evaluate what we’re using every five years or so.

I’ve no doubt left out some commandments. You can add your own. But, if you want to create and maintain the best complexion possible., you run a risk big by taking away any of these 10 tried-and-true rules.

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