In a world of constant comparison, it isn’t always easy to feel good about ourselves. Women can be amazing forces to lift each other up, but we aren’t always great at doing the same for ourselves. The fast pace of constant information flooding into our paths is a reminder of everything we need to do to eat better, exercise better, feel better, do life better and look better.
This year, take a moment to find the things about you that are better. Know that behind every “perfect” woman there are flaws, insecurities and doubt. The one thing I have found working with primarily female clients for many years is each one of them is stunningly beautiful in her own perfectly imperfect way.
Sometimes an eyebrow wax turns into hysterical laughter over something that just happened on her way in the door. Sometimes during a facial I find out she has recently learned she is going to have her first baby and earn the long awaited title of “Mom.” Other times a simple makeup lesson turns into tears over the recent loss of a loved one. What I do know is through all of the laughter and tears, we are all raw and all wanting to feel beautiful and accepted. How wonderful it is to be a woman and connect with other women during these moments.
This year, pick just a few things to concentrate on. It’s far too overwhelming to take on everything you want to improve. But first, make a list — actually write it down on paper — of the things about you that are great! Start with three things such as: I have nice hair, I have great style, my eyes are pretty. Then make a list of three things you want to work on.
If your skin is part of your three “help me” items on your list, here are some options to get you going. Always make sure to consult your dermatologist and esthetician to help you choose products and treatments that work best for your skin.
Use products with chamomile, niacinamide (a form of B3), green tea, licorice root extract and hyaluronic acid, and don’t forget to wear sunscreen at all times. Avoid salicylic, glycolic and lactic acids, retinol and benzoyl peroxide. Treat rosacea as sensitive skin. It may be best not to exfoliate manually. Be gentle with products and diet. If anything flares up the rosacea, stop the products causing the reaction or target the foods that irritate your skin.
Large pores are typically genetic but clogged pores and oiliness can also stretch the pores. Regular cleansing to remove excess oils, exfoliation and keeping sebum production under control can help with the appearance of large pores. Over-the-counter retinol will help with skin turnover and skin plumpness. Chemical peels, microneedling and laser treatments help to minimize the appearance of the pores. Consult your dermatologist for medspa treatments and prescription-strength retinol.
There are many things that can irritate skin and cause hyperpigmentation. Damage to the skin such as acne, cuts, bug bites, sun exposure, melasma and some medications can leave marks on the skin that do not fade. Keeping the skin hydrated with hyaluronic acid and retinol can help shed dead skin cells. Avoid picking and touching the face. It will always make spots worse and last longer. Products containing vitamin C, licorice root and kojic acid help reduce hyperpigmentation. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion and sometimes lasers can also help.
Acne can be hereditary or environmental but is most commonly caused by sebum, bacteria and the buildup of dead skin cells. Most everyone will experience some acne, but some people struggle with it for years. At the first sign of severe acne, consult a dermatologist to come up with a plan to treat all of the problem areas. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can treat common acne, but more severe cystic acne will most likely need antibiotics or prescription strength retinol. Diet, leaving sweat on the skin too long, products used on the body and not washing off makeup can play a huge role in breakouts.
FINE LINES AND WRINKLES
Aging is one of the biggest concerns for most women. We all want the supple, tight skin of our youth, and thank goodness we have several options to fight the signs of aging. Retinols, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and sunscreen are your wrinkles’ best friends. Keeping your skin clean, hydrated and out of the sun will help it look its best. If you want to take it one step further, chemical peels, Botox, fillers and other medspa treatments can smooth fine lines and give the skin a youthful appearance.
Many things can play a role in dark circles: genetics, dehydration, allergies, age, fatigue, poor diet and sometimes serious health issues. Start by making sure you are getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, eating clean and applying cold compresses on your eyes a few times a week. If symptoms do not lessen, consult your dermatologist. There are topical medications, laser treatments and dermal fillers that can help reduce the appearance of dark circles.
All of us want to feel good and look good. Take this year to work on just a few things and make your goals achievable. Simplify the list of things to make better, enjoy the laughter and lean on each other during the tears. Most of all, remember, there is so much about you that is stunningly beautiful in your own perfectly imperfect way.
Leslie Peck is a local makeup artist, aesthetician and lash artist with almost two decades of experience. She has worked 11 seasons of NYC Fashion Week as well as several beauty shoots while living in New York City. Leslie also has experience in TV, film, print and celebrity makeup in Los Angeles. She specializes in bridal makeup, skincare education and was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in 2007.