Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Jskychat Exclusive: How I Saved My Face

My face is far albeit the finished article, but those of you who knew me through my University years often ask me how the quality of my skin has improved so much. My face used to be like the Himalayas. I was using a product I trusted would help improve my acne. I was to learn years later by chance that this product contained ingredients (such as hydroquinone) that are extremely dangerous and harmful to the skin.

It was 2006. My skin was getting worse. I knew I was to blame but it felt like I had tried everything. I was secretly at my wits end. There were times I would swerve nights out because I didn't want my picture taken, whereas on the flipside I would binge to the extreme on cheap alco-pops that coupled with my mixed emotions and lifestyle would make my skin worse. The truth was, as much as I tried to mask it, my face was not only a reflection of how I was treating it, but how I was feeling.

When black skin is damaged by acne, cuts or bruises, dark marks are left which can often take a long period of time to fade. It is easy to become negged out when confronted by the mirror but the most important thing to remember is that we are all a work in progress and no one is in fact the finished article. I visualised what I wanted to become and took steps to get there. Years later, I am confident to share some tips with you. This is just advice though and what works for myself. I cannot be held liable for anything that does not work for you. Everyone's skin is different. I do believe however, that a bit of guidance is beneficial to all if shared.

How I saved my face:
- Water
The Institute of Medicine recommends that men have 3 litres (13 cups) and women have 2.2 litres (9 cups) a day. Personally, I usually get around 6 cups of water a day. It is important not just to drink when you are thirsty as by the time you are thirsty you are already dehydrated and the thirst that you feel is your body's way of warning you. Moisture is a key factor in good skin and so your water intake is crucial.

- Exercise
30 minutes of daily exercise is recommended for health reasons but I think this is easy to surpass due to the fact that most of your day to day tasks can be intergrated into a mini workout. Some of my personal favourites are carrying heavy shopping bags, excessive dancing on nights out and running for the bus. When blood is pumped faster around the body, new cells can be produced at an accelerated pace.

- Beware fast food, sweets and dodgy drinks
When faced with temptation, ask yourself 'Will eating or drinking this make me happy enough to handle the negative results?' or moreover, 'Is a moment of tiny delight worth it?'. The occasional treat is good but a blanket of treats to mask your feelings will only make things worse. Excessive sugars and ingredients found in fast food can hinder the development of your facial skin and often lead to spots.

- The regime: Face scrub/witch hazel/face cream + steam once a week
I use St Ives Face Scrub because it is cheap, gentle and suitable for all skin types. From my experience products targeted at teenage acne can in fact antagonise your skin, serving as a catalyst for future flare ups when you stop using the product. A good facial scrub should be applied gently in a circular massaging motion bringing blood cells to the surface of the skin and opening your pores. I then cleanse using a cheap no brand witch hazel on a cotton pad which acts as an astringent to tighten the surface of the skin. Finally I use Fashion Fair Vantex Skin Toning Face Cream which is hydroquinone free. This serves to add moisture and close your pores and should also be applied in a circular massaging motion. Any excess moisture should be wiped away using a cotton pad. If you have a big event coming up and you would like to take that extra step I recommend steaming your face for 5-10 minutes once week. This also does not have to be expensive. You can simply fill a large basin with boiling hot water, place your head above and cover with a towel. This should take place at the start of this regime. In addition to this, every two months I do facial excerises in front of a mirror which is really strange.

- Remember to rest
Sleep time is paramount. Your face will not recover if it is not rested so it is quintessential that you get your beauty sleep. Aim for 6-8 hours a night if you can. If this is not possible, say for example because of work or a party, my advice would be to catch up on a weekly basis. Sounds obvious, but you would surprised the amount of people who do not get enough sleep and then wonder why the quality of their skin is deteriorating.

Love your face for it is yours. Make of it what you will; it's never too late.

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