Posts tagged "wellness"

How to take care of your skin

One of the saddest facts of being a grown-up is facing the slow decline of your aging body and mind. At a certain point around your mid-twenties, everything starts requiring a lot more maintenance than it did when you were younger. A real grown-up faces up to this inevitability and steps up their game so their body can last for the long haul. 

There are a lot of reasons to take care of your skin that don’t make you seem vain or vapid. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. According to academic sources cited on skincancer.org, more than 90% of the “visible changes commonly attributed to skin aging” are actually caused by sun damage. 

Use sunscreen every goddamn day of your life.

If you leave your house, or even sit near a window, you should be wearing sunscreen. If you’re out in the sun for any length of time, you should reapply your sunscreen layer. Keep a travel-size bottle of sunscreen in your purse or your messenger bag or your car’s glovebox. Throw a sunscreen wipe into your wallet if you’re not bringing a bag with you. Sunscreen isn’t just for the beach, or for camping, or for glorious hot summer days. Sunscreen is for every day of your life, forever, because it will save you thousands of dollars and countless hours of agony to not have to go through treatment for skin cancer somewhere down the line. 

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It’s easy to work sunscreen into your normal skincare routine. (Oh, you don’t have a skincare routine? What kind of grown-up are you? Keep reading.) Just buy a moisturizer with sunscreen in it, or buy a booster that you can mix in with your regular moisturizer to add SPF.

Aside from sunscreen, you can do a few other simple things to keep your skin in good shape. The skin on your face is different from the skin on your body, and acne or severe skin ailments like eczema should be addressed with a good dermatologist, so the following advice should be applied sensibly by people with normal, healthy skin. 

Face Care Routine

1. Wash your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser. 

2. Follow that up with a good-quality moisturizer. In the morning, use a moisturizer with SPF. Use a heavier moisturizer for before-bed or in winter. 

3. If you’re prone to clogged pores, use a gentle exfoliant twice a week around your nose, chin, and forehead.

4. You should use a good-quality eye cream around your eye area. If you’re a little vain and worried about signs of aging, you can ask a dermatologist for a retinoid cream like Renova if you want to go that route. 

5. For men, we’ll probably have a detailed post on how to shave like an adult at some point (pinging nickd), but a grown-up who grows hair on his face should shave that face regularly, or at least maintain whatever facial hair you’ve chosen to keep. Facial shaving like a grown-up involves a lot more than your disposable Bic razor.

General Skin Care Routine

1. Moisturizer & Sunscreen. Seriously, that’s it. You should moisturize your skin when it feels dry or after you shave. I just use straight-up coconut oil for everything except my face, but you should use whatever works for you. 

2. Use exfoliants sparingly. It’s easy to buy into the marketing and sense of “pampering yourself” that a lot of spa products give you, but skin exfoliants can be really harsh and shouldn’t be used too often. Same thing for facial masks, or any of these other crap products that smell great but aren’t really necessary.

3. Drink a lot of water. Drink a ton of water. Drink water, all day long. Staying hydrated will make your skin look and feel better than any overpriced product ever could.

4. If you live in a climate with harsh winters, you’ll probably need a good, thick hand cream to slather on when the wind chaps your knuckles. I like Lush’s Handy Gurugu, but anything that has at least the thickness of cream cheese going on your hands will probably suffice.

How to get to bed at a reasonable hour

My friend @naxuu has problems getting to sleep at a reasonable hour because he is tempted to spend more time on the internet late at night. I know he does this because I’ve seen his 3am Weird Twitter musings, and also because when we told him about this blog, he said:

Okay, pal, we’ve got you covered. Note that this advice is not really for people with insomnia or trouble sleeping, but more for anyone who has discipline issues with enforcing their own bedtimes. Self-discipline is a grown-up skill that we can teach.

Step 1. Figure out your reasonable bed-time. Some people need 8 hours of sleep to fully function in the morning. Other people feel like crap if they sleep a full 8 hours and find that 6-7 is better for their productivity. Trial and error and keeping a sleep log for a few weeks can help you find your sweet spot. Once you know how long you need to sleep, count backwards from your normal wake-up time to figure out Optimal Bedtime. For example, I’m ridiculous and sleep best when I have 7 hours of sleep, but know that it can take me up to an hour to fall asleep, so my Optimal Bedtime is (6:15am wakeup - 8 hours =) 10:15pm. You will almost never find me out and about and out of bed past 10:15pm on any night I need to wake up for work the next morning.

Step 2. Set three daily alarms on your smartphone or computer or whatever. Set one for your regular wake-up time (or a bit earlier, if you are a snooze addict like me). Set one for your bedtime. Set one for one hour before your bedtime. 

Step 3. When your one-hour warning alarm goes off, get off the internet. Set your smartphone aside and turn off your notifications or set it to Do Not Disturb or whatever your preferred “leave me alone” tactic is. The idea here is that you don’t want to even know that people are still talking to you on Twitter or sending you emails. If you’re in the middle of an internet k-hole, just leave your browser open so you can fall back into it tomorrow if you want to. You don’t need to wrap up your internet loose ends before going back to sleep, because the whole internet will still be there for you in the morning.

Step 4. Chill out and relax. The last hour before bedtime is all yours to do your relaxing thing. If you’re feeling a little jumpy and know you’ll have trouble sleeping, use the last hour for meditation/relaxation/progressive muscle relaxation. My personal routine is to lock all my apartment doors and turn out lights in any other rooms, wash my face, brush my teeth, moisturize, change into sleep clothes or a robe, brush my hair, drink a bunch of water and put a water glass next to my bed, and get into bed with a boring book. Sometimes I’ll practice yoga breathing or something to relax me if I feel like I need it, but most of the time, being in a comfortable bed with clean sheets and all my bedtime stuff set to go is enough to knock me out pretty quickly. If it’s not…

Step 5. When the bedtime alarm goes off, go to sleep. Turn out your lights, put down your book. If Step 4 worked, you’ll already be sleepy. If not, do whatever you need to do to get to sleep now so you don’t feel like crap tomorrow. Possible options here include but are not limited to: masturbating, sedatives, breathing and meditation exercises, progressive relaxation techniques, etc. We don’t need to know.