No matter what our age, healthy, plump, smooth, supple-looking skin makes an enormous difference in how we look and feel. There’s plenty of common sense involved: Don’t smoke. Go easy on alcohol. Avoid the sun. Sweat a lot. Focus on great nutrition and exercise. But a smart (clean, nontoxic) skin routine certainly helps, too.
SLEEP ON YOUR BACK…
OR A SILK PILLOWCASE.
Studies show that mechanical compression (i.e., sleeping with your face buried in your pillow, as most of us do) may exacerbate wrinkles. Many dermatologists recommend eschewing cotton pillowcases for silk ones, which may not have the potential skin-creasing texture of fabrics with more friction. Another reason to go with silk (aside from the obvious ones—that it’s supremely elegant, luxurious, and pampering): It doesn’t absorb moisture, which means the creams and serums you smooth on before bed stay on your skin.
YOU CAN’T OD ON HYDRATION
It’s epidermal math: Moisture makes lines and wrinkles less noticeable, but we produce less collagen and oil as we get older. A layered approach, depending on your skin type, gets moisture into your routine from several angles. Formulas with hyaluronic acid, a dermatologist favorite that our skin produces naturally, are loved for their super effective and almost watery texture. HA is a humectant, meaning it pulls moisture from the air into our skin to make it look plumped and supple, instantly and more so over time. The Ultimate Glow from Medusa Cosmetics sinks in like magic, and the effects are instantly noticeable.
SWEEP AWAY DEAD SKIN CELLS
The most effective way to smooth, brighten, and detoxify is by exfoliating, which increases cellular turnover (which also slows as we age) and creates a radiant glow. Exfoliating is also the best way to deep-clean pores, which appear larger when they’re clogged and/or lax from collagen loss. The Supreme Cleanser from Medusa Cosmetics is the perfect daily cleanser for helping to rejuvenate and regrow lost skin cells.
Retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) have more research-backed collagen-boosting and line-softening benefits than any other exfoliating compounds; clean, nontoxic formulas are especially important, since conventional prescription and OTC retinoids are often stabilized with parabens and other potentially toxic preservatives.
Natural alpha and beta hydroxy acids are excellent exfoliators, and many people tolerate them better than retinoids. They brighten and smooth by dissolving the cellular glue that binds dead skin cells.
TAKE THE TIME
TO EASE STRESS
There’s no magic pill for stress, but I've found a five to ten-minute routine that’s incredibly effective if—okay, when—you feel anxiety taking over. We tend to hold emotional stress in our face (particularly in the jaw and at the temples), and eventually the tension can create patterns, leading to pain and possibly even sagging skin.
1. Take a long, warm shower, allowing the therapeutic pressure of the water to cascade over your neck, back, and shoulders. Try falling forward into “rag doll” yoga pose (it feels fantastic). If you'd prefer to take a hot bath, instead use two handfuls of epsom salt and five drops of lavender oil.
2. Post-shower, massage a muscle-relaxing cream into your neck and shoulders.
3. Wear comfortable clothing, let your hair loose, dim the lights, and play meditative music. Have a yoga mat, a hot towel, and a jade roller (or ice cubes) on hand.
1. Massage moisturizer (I recommend the Ultimate Glow moisturizer from Medusa Cosmetics) onto the face with upward, outward circles using firm pressure.
2. Standing on your yoga mat, take a deep breath; swan-dive down to a forward fold. Hang in that position for thirty to sixty seconds—or longer if you can. We call this invertible skin care: It sends blood to the face muscles, helping to relieve tension.
3. Interlace your hands behind your back, and while you’re folded forward, bring the arms up behind you to open the shoulders and create space and length around the spine. Jut your chin forward as much as you can to simultaneously stretch the neck and jaw. Hold for thirty seconds. Repeat three times.
4. Lie down on the mat, interlace hands behind the head, and bring knees up and try to touch chin to knees, feeling the lower back, neck, shoulders, and base of the skull release. Hold for thirty seconds and repeat two to three times.
5. Gently lower both knees to the right side of the body, while shifting your whole torso and head to the left side so that your left cheek rests on the mat. With your right hand, using firm pressure, massage the area between your right cheek and jaw. Place your left thumb inside your mouth at the right cheek, massaging the inside of your mouth in circles, while the right hand pulls out and down on your ear. Switch sides and repeat.
6. Then, placing all ten fingers on either side of your face, press into the jaw. Slowly slide your fingers up toward the temples, pushing into the temporalis muscles (the muscle above the ears on either side of the face). Repeat five to ten times.
7. Bring your chin to chest, pressing your hands against your chin to create resistance. Hold for five long counts. Do the same move, this time with your mouth open. Do this three to five times.
8. With medium to firm pressure, press your fists in circular motions from the top of the cheekbones down toward the jaw.
9. Place your middle finger at the lower temple on each side of the face, just above the cheekbones (this is a pressure point), while placing thumbs into the jaw muscle. Hold for ten seconds.
10. Finish off by taking strong, deep breaths. You can use a jade roller over your face or your choice of smooth-surface crystals to wake up your skin even more.