In the beauty industry, it’s all about what’s new. As scientists learn more about what the skin needs to stay healthy and youthful, new products come out that promise to work even better than before.
It’s fun to hear about breakthroughs and to experiment with new products and new looks. Most people would agree that our skincare and makeup products today are quite a bit better than they were a few decades ago. We’re getting away from potentially damaging petrolatum and harsh chemicals and using more natural ingredients like butters and oils along with ceramides, vitamins and minerals, extracts, humectants, and other ingredients that have proven to have beneficial effects on the skin.
But despite all of our progress, there is some value in looking back. In honor of Mother’s Day, we took a trip down memory lane to remember the advice we got from our mothers when it came to skincare. Some of that advice still applies and we’d all be wise to listen.
1. Wash your face before bed.
This remains really good advice. When you sleep with dirty skin or even worse—makeup—you are just asking for problems. The dirt, grime, oils, and more sink into your pores all through the night, and you can wake up with clogged pores and tired skin that makes you look older.
Washing your face before bed, on the other hand, gives your skin a clean slate to work with overnight. Most of the body’s repair processes pick up at night, and your skin is no exception. Get all that junk off of it and it stands a much better chance of rejuvenating itself while you sleep so you wake up looking refreshed with smooth, healthy skin.
2. Keep your face out of the sun.
There is some debate about sun exposure these days. Many Americans are low in vitamin D—perhaps from avoiding the sun too much. If we do that, it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D in our systems. The skin makes vitamin D when exposed to UV rays, and though you can take supplements, new research is showing that getting out in the sun is good for us for a lot of reasons.
Not only does it help increase vitamin D levels, but it also helps maintain your circadian rhythms—which are linked with good health—and has even been linked with reducing fat in your cells. But even if you decide to bare your arms and legs for a half-hour or so to get the sun you need, as Mom said—it’s best to always protect your face. It’s the one area that we all want to stay as youthful as possible, and UV rays are enemy number one when it comes to aging.
So apply that sunscreen, wear your hats, use umbrellas, and protect your face however you can.
3. Moisturize, moisturize.
Moms knew about moisture, and even all these decades later, that’s one thing all dermatologists agree on—the more you can keep your skin hydrated, the better it will look and feel.
Dryness is the enemy of youthfulness, which is why moms used cocoa butter, honey, and other ingredients almost constantly. Whatever product you use now (please go non-toxic!), it is best to moisturize frequently to prevent dryness and tightness.
Another part of this—make sure your cleanser doesn’t dry out your skin. If it feels dry and tight after you finish, get another cleanser. Otherwise, you’re starting your day already behind when it comes to moisturization.
4. Don’t pick at it!
Moms are famous for scolding those who dare to pick at their faces. That’s because they know whenever you pick at something, you make it worse. Whether it’s a scab you’re picking off, a pimple, or nothing at all, whenever you touch your face, you deposit the oil and bacteria on your fingers onto your face, and that will only cause problems.
Of course, picking at a scab increases your risk of scarring, too, making the mark on your face last a lot longer than it would, otherwise.
So take mom’s advice and keep your hands away from your face at all times, and never pick!
5. Don’t forget your décolleté.
We don’t think about it when we’re young, but the neck and chest area are very important when it comes to skincare. The neck is one of the first places to show your age, as the skin there is thin and loses elasticity faster than other areas. The chest is also subject to early sun damage and may show dark spots sooner than we’d like.
So whenever you moisturize, don’t forget this important area, and be sure to keep it protected from the sun. After the age of 30, consider using the anti-aging serums you use on your face on your neck as well. You’ll be glad you did when you reach your 50s and 60s.
6. Stick with a regular skincare routine.
Do you remember mom washing her face every morning, then going through a washing and moisturizing routine every night? Did she adhere to this routine no matter what?
Many moms understood the importance of regular, routine skincare. It’s everyday care that helps you enjoy the healthiest, youngest-looking skin you can have. Skipping your routine or changing it up too often can cause your skin to react, creating dryness, acne breakouts, redness, and irritation.
If your mom established in you the importance of a daily skincare regimen, take this opportunity to thank her!
7. Never underestimate the power of a good lipstick.
Many moms are known for their signature lip. No matter what else they may not have had time to apply, that lipstick was always ready for application, even if it was in the car mirror.
That a good lipstick can dress up your look is still true today. Of course, we’d add that good lip care before you apply that lipstick is even more important. Exfoliate with a gentle lip scrub and moisturize regularly to keep lips soft and supple. (We recommend our Restorative Skin Balm—it works great as a lip balm.) Then do your best to buy lipstick from reputable companies who care about the ingredients they use. It wasn’t that long ago that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that many top-brand lipsticks contained lead.
As long as you buy from companies committed to using safe ingredients, you’ll be fine, and you’ll be able to create that finished look no matter what else is going on in your life—just like Mom did.
What beauty secrets did you learn from your mom?