Keeping Your Skin Hydrated in the Winter

The frigid winter air causes many problems for the skin, drying it out, resulting in flakiness and itching. Unfortunately, women often suffer more than men in winter, especially as they get older. 

According to dermatologists, as women age, their skin is less capable of maintaining moisture. The natural loss of moisture only compounds the winter dryness problem.

Dehydration leads to the compromise of the skin's protective layer. The compromise of this layer can result in further skin damage, including cracking and wrinkling. 

How do you protect your skin? What can you do to ensure you maintain adequate hydration even in the coldest and driest months of the year?

Look for Serums With Hyaluronic Acid

Skin serums help repair the damaged protective layer of the skin, and serums containing hyaluronic acid provide extra hydration protection. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in hydration, making it one of the best ingredients for super-thirsty skin.

When looking at the ingredients list for facial serums, look for the amount of hyaluronic acid. Some serums contain the ingredient but only in small amounts. You want to find the solutions that use it as a primary ingredient. Some manufacturers have as much as 75% hyaluronic acid in their serums.

Purchase Body Creams

While worrying about the face is one thing, you should also focus on the rest of your body. Many people experience winter flakiness on their chest, back, arms, and legs.

If you want to combat complete body dryness, look for moisturizing lotions and creams containing lactic acid and glycolic acid. The two alpha-hydroxy acids encourage skin cell turnover and hydration for a healthier, hydrated appearance. 

When looking for creams and serums, you should avoid products containing perfumes and other potential irritants or dehydrating ingredients if you have sensitive skin. Some of the elements to avoid include: 

  • Parfum, or perfume
  • Charcoal
  • Kaolin
  • Tea tree oil
  • Salicylic acid

Drink More Water, Maybe

Many people assume or advocate for drinking more water to relieve dry skin. The jury is still out on whether internal hydration will make a difference in wintertime dryness. According to dermatologists, an individual must be clinically dehydrated to experience any changes to their skin.

While drinking more water might not help your skin, many people do not realize they are already not drinking enough. Experts recommend consuming half your body weight in ounces to remain adequately hydrated.

Try Other Remedies for Dry Skin

Serums, lotions, and water are not the only things you can try to rehydrate your irritated winter skin. Many people find that using a humidifier can make a world of difference. Additionally, wearing the proper clothing when going outside can help. For instance, wearing gloves, a scarf, and a winter coat can protect your skin from the damaging wind and cold.

You can also alter your diet to include more antioxidant-rich foods and omega-3 fatty acids. For instance, eating blueberries, carrots, tomatoes, peas, lentils, and beans can contribute to skin health by removing toxins from the body and promoting healthy cell production. Salmon can also contribute to glowing skin.

You have many options. Some of the other things you might want to try include:

  • Oatmeal baths
  • Coconut oil
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Lukewarm showers

Dry skin in the winter is a struggle. However, by adopting the proper skincare routine and staying hydrating, you can protect the health and beauty of your skin.

How do you keep your skin moisturized in the winter? Comment below.

Are You Using Too Much Disinfectant?

One question that has popped up during the coronavirus pandemic is whether it’s bad to disinfect. Does getting rid of germs around the house weaken your immune system?

Protect Your Health Without Going to Extremes

According to many health professionals, the idea that your immune system suffers in a clean home is just a myth. There’s no reason to think that cleaning and disinfecting are bad for your family. Keeping your kitchen clean, vacuuming carpets, dusting furniture and disinfecting bathroom surfaces are all good for staying healthy.

It is possible to overdo disinfecting, but the risks are different from what you think. Disinfecting too much is dangerous because of the side effects of the cleaning chemicals you use, not because of your immune system.

Keep Disinfectant Chemicals Away From Your Skin and Food

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, calls to poison control centers in the U.S. increased by 20% practically overnight. Some families exposed themselves to serious health problems by using disinfectants in dangerous ways:

  • Never wash food with bleach or other disinfectants

  • Never apply disinfectant chemicals to your bare skin

  • Never breathe chemical vapors on purpose

  • Never gargle with any type of cleaning chemical

  • Never soak clothing in disinfectants or use chemicals in your washing machine

Disinfectants are only designed for cleaning hard surfaces.

Be Balanced With Hand Sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be a lifesaver when you’re at the supermarket or in public, but you should be careful not to overuse it. Too much sanitizer can irritate your skin or trigger eczema. If possible, avoid sanitizers that contain antibiotics such as triclosan.

At work and home, go with soap and water. Many antibacterial soaps have hydrating agents that keep your hands from drying out.

Follow Safety Tips When Using Disinfectants

How can you stay safe and keep your family safe when using disinfectants? These tips can help protect you:

  • Follow label directions: Many people think that if the bottle says one capful, then two capfuls are twice as effective. A stronger concentration doesn’t improve cleaning! All it does is potentially expose you to skin irritation and other health problems.
  • Wear gloves: Many cleaning and disinfecting products can be absorbed into your skin. The best way to protect yourself is to wear gloves when wiping down countertops or cleaning bathroom surfaces.
  • Open a window: You have to be careful not to breathe cleaning chemicals. Make sure there is adequate ventilation, either by opening a window or turning on your exhaust fan.

Be especially careful with bleach. Never use bleach directly. Always dilute it according to label directions, and wear gloves.

Never Mix Disinfectant Chemicals

One of the most dangerous situations is when people try to mix different cleaning chemicals. Here is a complete list of things never to mix:

  • Vinegar

  • Hydrogen peroxide

  • Bleach

  • Ammonia

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Acids

These chemicals produce toxic vapors if you mix them. This can lead to breathing problems, chemical burns or even death.

Disinfect Safely

There’s no need to go crazy with disinfectant most of the time. Of course, if someone in your family is sick, it’s OK to clean more frequently than normal.

Clean the surfaces that you touch the most, such as faucets, door handles, light switches and appliances. Wipe down tables, desks and dressers. Keep your kitchen and bathroom especially clean, and wash your hands when you come home with antibacterial soap and water.

Is Deodorant Dangerous? 5 Ingredients To Watch For

Whether you prefer spray-on antiperspirant, roll-ons or classic stick deodorant, these beauty products come with a long list of chemical ingredients. Some of the names are so long and confusing that you can’t even pronounce them, like aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex. Should you be worried about these chemicals? Is deodorant dangerous?

How Dangerous Is Deodorant?

The answer backed by many scientists is that you have nothing to worry about. According to the available data, most women can whatever deodorant or antiperspirant they like without worrying about developing serious health issues such as breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, there aren’t any solid studies linking cancer and antiperspirants, and “very little scientific evidence to support this claim.” The National Cancer Institute takes things a step further, saying that “no scientific evidence links the use of these products to the development of breast cancer.”

Why Do Some People Worry Anyway?

Just because scientists can’t definitively prove a link right now doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Also, there aren’t many studies on deodorant because it’s not a priority.

Even the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can make mistakes. A study found that out of over 200 products approved as safe by the FDA, about 30% needed to have safety warnings added later. Three of those products that were “safe” ended up being pulled from the market.

Something similar happened with Teflon, which used a chemical called PFOA to make nonstick cookware (remember those pans?). For almost 60 years, this chemical was considered to be perfectly safe. Now, scientists understand it’s linked to everything from cancer to diabetes.

Another problem is that the US approaches chemicals as “innocent until proven guilty.” It takes a lot of evidence to get a chemical banned in the United States. More than 40 countries worldwide have banned 1,400 chemicals used in cosmetic products. What about the U.S.? Just 9 chemicals are prohibited here.

What Deodorant Chemicals Do Some People Avoid?

Now, I’m not telling you about this to scare you. After all, it's impossible to completely avoid chemicals in today's world. I just think it's important for you to be able to make an informed decision that you’re comfortable with. Here are a few ingredients some people prefer to live without:

  • Parabens: These preservatives are used in many skincare products, including some deodorants and moisturizers. Some scientists worry they may mimic female hormones and contribute to cancer problems.

  • Phthalates: These chemicals help fragrances stay on your skin. They may interfere with hormones and potentially cause problems with fetal development.

  • Denatured alcohol: Cheap alcohol ingredients such as denatured alcohol, isopropanol and propanol are very irritating for skin.

  • Aluminum: Some scientists think that aluminum (found in most antiperspirants) may make it easier for breast cancer to grow. If you have severe kidney problems, you should talk with your doctor before using antiperspirant because your body may have trouble getting rid of the aluminum.

  • Fragrance: Manufacturers can include practically any ingredient and label it as “fragrance.” That makes it hard to know what chemicals you’re putting on your skin. For some people, synthetic fragrances cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.

The good news is that If you prefer to avoid certain ingredients, there are plenty of options on the market. You can choose a fragrance-free alternative or look for “paraben-free” and “phthalate-free” on the label. Put simply, the fewer strange chemicals on a product’s label, the fewer things you have to worry about.

 

5 Surprising Ways You Can Use Ginger in Your Health and Beauty Routines

I just recently learned that ginger is one of the best-kept secrets for your skin and immune system. It’s very effective at minimizing inflammation (which we all know is one of the most common causes of skin blemishes, joint pain, and premature aging). And the best part is that it won’t cost you a fortune as some top-of-the-line beauty products will.

It’s one thing to know that ginger is a great health and beauty ingredient, but it’s another thing to know how to use it. So I’ve put together this guide of five surprising ways you can start incorporating ginger into your health and beauty routines, starting today.

1. Anti-Inflammatory Skin Cream

To get the skin-healing benefits ginger has to offer, try creating your own anti-inflammatory skin cream. To make it, peel two, 2-inch pieces of fresh ginger, then place them in a pot with 2 teaspoons of apricot kernel oil and 2 teaspoons of light sesame oil. Add ½ cup of cocoa butter and 2 teaspoons of vitamin E. Warm on low heat just until the cocoa butter softens and all the ingredients blend together.

Pour the mixture into a lid-sealed container, then put it in a cool, dry place where you can use it often! I recommend applying it after you wash your face. The ingredients are very moisturizing and soothing.

2. Ginger Massage Oil

We all know how quickly excessive stress can cause us to look and feel much older than we really are. But a good massage has a way of melting all our troubles away as it restores our vitality and sense of well-being. To enjoy the relaxing benefits of massage as well as the anti-inflammatory benefits of ginger, recruit someone you love to massage your back, neck, or feet with diluted ginger oil. Your skin and mood will feel so much better!

3. Mint and Ginger Mouthwash

As we age, our bodies become more susceptible to gum disease and other oral issues. While regular mouthwash can help rid our oral cavities of unwanted bacteria, it can also leave our mouths feeling dry. That’s why I prefer making my own mint and ginger mouthwash. Both mint and ginger are known for their antibacterial properties, which make them a great duo for oral health.

Here’s how to make my surprisingly refreshing and effective mint and ginger mouthwash recipe. Start by pouring about 1 ½ cups of filtered water into a pot, then adding approximately 10 fresh peppermint leaves and one sliced 3-inch ginger root to the water. Bring the mixture to a light boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add about 35 drops of peppermint essential oil to the mixture, then cover the pot and simmer for about 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to a sealed jar. You can store this mixture at room temperature for about a month, or put it in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life.  

4. Natural Pain-Reliever

Would it surprise you to hear that ginger is a natural pain-reliever? Some research shows that it’s very effective at relieving migraines. So the next time you feel a headache coming on, sip ginger tea or try munching on some candied ginger.

5. Ginger Detox Bath

Ginger is known to help the body fight off bacterial infections. So if you feel like your immune system is fighting something off, grate about ½ cup of fresh ginger and sprinkle it in your hot bathwater. Soak for at least 15 minutes to get the full effects of this detox remedy.

So, what do you think about these unusual uses for ginger? I’d love for you to give them a try and see if they work for you!

Seven Spa-Ready Recipes for a Professional Facial at Home

With a bit of prep and the right ingredients, you can achieve an at-home facial that rivals the services at the swankiest spa in your area. Get ready for a day of pampering without leaving your abode with this guide to our favorite tips, tricks and recipes. 

Remove Dirt With Raw Honey

If you're into natural beauty, you'll appreciate this no-fuss cleanser. Simply rub raw honey into your skin then remove it gently with a warm, damp washcloth. If you prefer not to put the sticky stuff right on your face, try shopping for skincare products that incorporate honey. This ingredient has antiseptic properties that sweep your skin free of bacteria. Fans of honey also report that it helps hold in moisture without making the skin oily. 

Banish Blemishes With Banana

This mask blends 1/2 tsp. each of turmeric and baking soda with a single mashed banana. The vitamin A in the flesh of the fruit helps keep pores clear and encourages skin cell turnover, which helps rid your complexion of acne. Baking soda soaks up excess oil for an ultra-matte finish while turmeric kills germs that contribute to blemishes. Turmeric also reportedly helps even skin tone and reduces the appearance of acne scars and sunspots. Let this mask set on your skin for 20 minutes and then rinse with cool water.

Tone Up With Vinegar

Effectively remove bacteria and residue from the skin after cleansing without the harshness of traditional alcohol-based toner. Try adding 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 2 cups warm water for a custom facial rinse that's as gentle as it is powerful. 

Calm Skin With Lavender

You already know lavender has mood-boosting effects with a calming scent that can help you sleep better at night. This flowery herb can also soothe redness and inflammation that impact your complexion. Make a paste out of a ripe avocado, which delivers moisturizing, disease-fighting antioxidants. Add a few drops of your favorite lavender oil along with a teaspoon of coconut oil for even more hydration and a bit of honey to keep acne at bay.

Enhance Texture With Yogurt

Plain old yogurt from your fridge can encourage rapid cell turnover that keeps skin looking soft, supple and youthful. This basic dairy product is packed with lactic acid, which you might recognize as an active ingredient in high-end skincare lines. Mix it with equal parts turmeric and honey and let dry on your skin for 10 to 20 minutes.

Brighten and Glow With Papaya

This tropical fruit is your antidote for dull skin. For an even, glowing complexion, mash a quarter of the pulp with a bit of aloe vera gel and a tablespoon of cacao powder. The aloe is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that heal and hydrate while sloughing off dead cells that can clog the pores and lead to breakouts. Cacao helps repair the skin's moisture barrier, which declines in quality as we age. 

Exfoliate With Sugar

This sweet scrub combines sugar and honey to remove bacteria, dead skin and other debris. Measure out 3 tablespoons of raw honey and mix in brown sugar until you get a paste-like consistency. Add a tablespoon or two of coconut, olive or almond oil, which adds hydration and helps create a spreadable texture. You can use this on your face or anywhere on your body as long as you don't have sensitive skin. Leave on for up to 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water. 

For the price of a bag of groceries, you'll have a complexion that looks its absolute best and an easy, affordable skincare routine to maintain.

When Was the Last Time You Pampered Your Scalp?

Your hair probably gets a lot of tender, loving care, and you may spend time every night moisturizing your hands or face. When was the last time you pampered your scalp? You won’t believe the difference it makes!

The Benefits of a Healthy Scalp

The scalp has approximately 100,000 hair follicles, each one responsible for a single luxurious strand. When your scalp is healthy, so is your hair.

You can see the results in the mirror. Taking great care of your scalp makes your hair stronger, longer, shinier and brighter. The way it looks and bounces practically shouts to the world “I feel amazing!”

Tips for Great Scalp Care

1. Know Your Scalp

Every woman’s scalp is unique, just like her skin. Pay attention to the specific needs of your scalp. Does it tend to feel oily or dry? Even hormonal changes can make your scalp more sensitive to ingredients at certain times of month.

If you notice dandruff after using certain shampoos or hair coloring products, try avoiding them. There’s nothing embarrassing about using products designed for sensitive skin. It’s just part of listening to your body.

2. Exfoliate At Least Once a Month

You may not think of exfoliation as something important for your scalp, but it’s one of the most vital steps. Even if you don’t have oily hair, you still need to cleanse your pores of dead skin cells and bacteria. I promise your scalp will love this revitalizing care. Here are my favorite options:

  • Scalp mask: These gentle options remove dead skin cells, grease and grime. If your scalp is on the oilier side, try a clay mask.

  • Olive oil and baking soda: This blend exfoliates and moisturizes at the same time, perfect for dandruff relief. Mix equal parts olive oil and baking soda, then massage into your scalp and let sit for five minutes before rinsing.

  • Apple cider vinegar: This natural ingredient is antimicrobial, so it can calm itchiness, irritation and inflammation. Mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water. Use your fingers to apply it directly to the scalp.

3. Shampoo Your Scalp, Too

Don’t ignore your scalp when you’re shampooing and conditioning your hair. Ideally, most of your time should be spent massaging your scalp, moving your fingers in a circular motion.

4. Moisturize

You know how important moisture is for your skin. It’s just as important for your scalp. That’s why using conditioner after shampooing is a great idea. You get the cleansing you need, but you also ensure your scalp stays hydrated.

Personally, I like to use a few drops of essential oils at bedtime. Rosemary, tea tree and lavender smell amazing and help keep your skin moist and healthy. Just massage them gently into the scalp. As an added benefit, I’ve noticed this routine helps me fall asleep more quickly.

5. Pamper Yourself

Pamper yourself. Enjoy a soothing massage. Take a bubble bath. Watch a romantic movie with someone special. Less stress translates into a healthier scalp, too.

Scalp health is also related to good nutrition. Your skip needs the right “ingredients” to repair, nourish and rejuvenate itself. If your hair and scalp don’t look as vibrant as you want them to be, add more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet with fresh fish or supplements. Probiotics also make a huge difference.

The Best Sunscreen for Your Skin

Remember when a day in the sun called for baby oil and a reflective screen to maximize your tan? I do, too.

What were we thinking??

The National Cancer Institute reports that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America. The good news is that wearing sunscreen cuts your risk of developing it in half. If that’s not enough reason to hit the sunscreen aisle (and seriously, it should be), covering up also prevents skin discoloration, dark spots and premature aging.

Ready to stock up on sun protection? You have three main options.

Spray Sunscreen

Spray sunscreen is my favorite sunscreen because it’s so simple to apply. Perhaps more importantly, it’s also easy to reapply.

Wind can carry the spray, though, so if it’s brisk in your backyard, spray the sunscreen into your hands and apply it the old-fashioned way. This technique is also how you should apply spray sunscreen to your face, whether it’s windy or not, as well as to children’s skin. Doing it this way avoids accidental inhalation and lung irritation.

My go-to spray sunscreen is Alba Botanica Hawaiian Coconut Clear Spray SPF 50. It smells delicious (although, ironically, not like coconuts), goes on smoothly and provides excellent coverage.

Lotion Sunscreen

If you want to ensure that you’re thoroughly covered, lotion sunscreen is your best bet for the simple fact that you can see exactly where you’re applying it. Generally, you should slather on roughly one teaspoon to every area or part of your body, i.e., one teaspoon on each arm, one teaspoon on your back and so on.

Two of my favorite lotion sunscreens that are easy to find at virtually any drugstore are Coppertone Ultra Guard SPF 30, which smells like a day at the beach and leaves behind only a little bit of residue, and Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion SPF 30, which hydrates your skin while shielding it from UVA damage.

Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreen, often referred to as natural sunscreen, is sunscreen that doesn’t include chemicals such as oxybenzone or avobenzone. Instead, it protects your skin using zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or a combination of the two.

While mineral-based sunscreens are generally less effective than lotion or spray sunscreens, they do block some of the sun’s most harmful rays.

The keyword there is “some.” Often, a mineral sunscreen that offers fabulous UVA protection doesn’t provide enough SPF protection; the reverse is true, too.

Because of mineral sunscreen's lack of active chemicals, more parents are turning to it to guard their kids’ skin against sunburn. My grandkids are fans of Blue Lizard Sensitive sunscreen. This Aussie lotion provides broad-spectrum protection, is available in SPF 30 and SPF 50 and — here’s what the kids love — has a bottle that turns bright blue when exposed to harmful UV rays.

Other Sun Protection

While any type of sunscreen is better than no sunscreen at all, for maximum protection you need more weapons in your skincare arsenal. Whether you’re soaking up the rays at brunch or sweating through another weed-pulling session in your garden, you should:

  • Wear a hat that shields your face from direct sunlight.
  • Wear sunglasses to avoid the crow’s feet that accompany Clint Eastwood-style squinting.
  • Cover your skin, especially burn-prone areas such as your shoulders, with light clothing.
  • Stay out of the sun, period, when it’s at its strongest (roughly 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

The sun doesn’t discriminate. No matter how light or dark your complexion is, you need protection. You may not get that deep tan that you got when you were 25, but you’ll also lower your chances of developing cancer or being mistaken for a leather handbag in your golden years. Choose a sunscreen that fits your lifestyle and your budget, and don’t forget to reapply it as directed.

Are “Worry Lines” Really Caused by Stress?

Many people know them as worry lines. Others call them frown lines or 11s. Whatever name you give them, forehead wrinkles are easy to spot. What causes these deep creases?

Worry Lines Aren't Just Because of Worrying

Some people will tell you that worry lines mean you’ve been frowning too much. That’s not really true. Yes, worrying can make you crease your brows, but so do many other facial expressions.

For example, squinting while you’re reading a book or looking at a bright screen can do the same thing. Even smiling makes certain parts of your skin wrinkle a little. In other words, wrinkles are caused by all of your facial expressions, not just the frowns.

Those funny faces you made to get a laugh from your little baby? Tiny wrinkles. That surprise anniversary party? That’s right, extra wrinkles. If you’ve ever felt angry, sad, scared, happy or overjoyed, you’re going to get some wrinkles as part of the deal.

The Main Cause of Wrinkles Is Aging

The truth about wrinkles is that your facial expressions are only a minor part of the cause. Any wrinkles you have are going to form along the same unique lines that appear when you frown, smile, or act surprised. But the real reason those wrinkles stick around is because of skin changes caused by aging.

Healthy skin has an essential protein called collagen. Collagen keeps skin firm and elastic, like a rubber band. In your early 20s, collagen levels are through the roof, so your face feels exquisitely smooth, supple and fresh.

As we get older, the body slows its production of collagen. Fine lines usually start to appear by the late 20s because of this. Even people in their early 20s can get wrinkles if they spend a lot of time in the sun, because UV rays – you guessed it – hurt your collagen levels.

But... Stress Speeds Up Aging

Even though worrying isn’t the main cause of frown lines, it’s still a good idea to avoid anxiety as much as possible. Scientists are discovering that too much stress can speed up your body’s aging process. When you’re feeling stressed, it releases a hormone called cortisol into your bloodstream.

Cortisol breaks down collagen. In other words, chronic stress can trigger premature wrinkles. A lot of other things caused by worrying are bad for skin, too, such as not getting enough sleep and forgetting to drink plenty of water. When you’re exhausted, skin looks dull instead of vibrant.

5 Things That Help With Worry Lines

Some wrinkles are just a part of your emotion-filled life. You may not be able to erase worry lines completely, but you can make them less visible.

  • Exercise: Doing exercise naturally improves cortisol levels, making you feel happier, keeping skin healthier and fighting inflammation.

  • Spa visits: If you ever wanted an excuse to go to a health spa, this is it. It’s not just the pampering, beauty treatments and massages that make your skin have a healthy glow again. It’s also the benefits your whole body gets from reducing stress levels.

  • Moisturizing creams: One of the best (and most overlooked) ways to take care of forehead wrinkles is to apply moisturizer every night. Plus, massaging your facial muscles with skin cream feels heavenly.

  • Homemade masks: Use plain yogurt, lemon juice, honey and vitamin E for wrinkles. This mixture cleanses and lightens your skin so wrinkles aren’t as noticeable.
  • Antioxidants: Include red fruits in your diet and benefit from the skin-protecting effects of antioxidants.

How To DIY a Spa Day and Pamper Yourself at Home

These days, heading out for a full day at the spa seems like a faraway dream. Somehow, just running a hot bath and lighting a candle or two just doesn't cut it. If you've been wondering whether a DIY spa day can really be a luxurious experience, keep reading. You may be surprised by what a fantastic retreat you can create in your own home with a little forethought and a couple of nice products.

Carve Out Dedicated Time

The secret to creating an epic DIY spa day is to prepare well in advance. There's nothing less relaxing than rushing around looking for supplies when you should be sitting and enjoying yourself. First, make a date with yourself. Put it in your calendar. This time is just for you, so block it out and be sure that everyone else in the house knows you're not available.

Create a Spa-like Environment

The night before your spa day, create or download a playlist so you have your favorite music on hand. Find your favorite candles, fragrances, and essential oils that you can use to create a refreshing atmosphere. Think about the lighting that you want. If you are doing beauty treatments, you may want lots of natural light. On the other hand, you may prefer more subdued lighting for relaxation. If you don't have a dimmer switch in your bathroom, find a solution now instead of waiting until the last minute.

Another thing you'll want to recreate from your favorite spa may be snacks and drinks. Do you usually have a smoothie when you go? Maybe you prefer lemon and cucumber water or warm herbal tea. Set everything out ahead of time.

Choose Your Products Wisely

A big part of the spa experience is the luxury products that you likely wouldn't use every day. Although you could make your own masks, scrubs, and bath milks if you feel like it, there are plenty of great options for sale. Invest in a couple of scrubs, bath bombs, and body butters, and set them aside for a monthly pampering session. You want to make this a regular thing, right? Make thoughtful choices when purchasing spa products. Don't be fooled by unsubstantiated claims. If cruelty-free or vegan products are important to you, shop around for those. Be sure to choose products that match your skin type. However, when it comes to relaxation and rejuvenation, sensory experiences make a big impact. With that in mind, choose products that you love to smell and touch. On the other hand, don't feel like you have to buy the most expensive serum on the shelf just to get a good result. If your everyday products make you feel good, use those. It's up to you.

Take Your Time and Enjoy Yourself

Think about what made your last spa day so enjoyable. Sure, your skin felt amazing afterward, but isn't it also that you were able to relax, enjoy the moment, and not worry about who was calling and texting you? Try to recreate the entire experience, not only the skincare aspect of it. Turn off your phone, be sure everything is ready ahead of time, and dive in. You'll come away feeling renewed, inside and out.

Bad Skincare Routine Advice

A good skincare routine is the best beauty secret out there. Why? Because healthy, pampered skin is the foundation for the rest of your beauty routine. Just think about it: Beautiful, healthy skin is the ideal canvas for makeup, and you may need a lot less of it when your skin is in good shape. If you've ever tried a long, complicated skincare regimen and lost interest after the first week, it's OK! Don't give up. You can maintain your complexion and your sanity at the same time. Here's how.

Cleanse

Cleansing is the first step in any good skincare habit. The trademark of a bad skincare routine is going to bed without removing makeup. Start a new, good habit: Cleanse your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser designed for your skin type. If it helps, use a makeup remover wipe at night before cleansing. Depending on whether your face is dry, oily, or combination, you may be able to use the same cleanser morning and night.

Treat

Step two in a simple skincare routine is to treat your face and neck with a serum designed for your skin type and problem areas. To treat dark spots, try an overnight serum with vitamin C. For daytime, a collagen-boosting preparation is a good bet. Don't forget eye cream while you're at it.

Moisturize

Skin at any age needs moisture, but depending on your skin type and the climate where you live, you have many choices here. For light, oil-free moisture, choose a gel or souffle. For more intense moisture, especially overnight, you may want a heavier, creamy product. In the morning, choose a moisturizer with sun protection, no matter the season or the weather.

Don't Forget

  • Exfoliate. A hallmark of a bad skincare routine is exfoliating incorrectly. Avoid doing it too frequently, too infrequently, or with the wrong product. Aim for an acid-based exfoliator, which won't scratch your skin like a granular product could, and put yourself on a once-a-week schedule.

  • Use SPF every day. (It's worth mentioning again.) Sun exposure is one of the quickest ways to damage your skin and speed up its aging process. The easiest way to get into the habit of applying sunscreen every day is to be sure your morning moisturizer has it built-in.

  • Nourish your skin from the inside out. Your lifestyle choices make a difference in how your skin looks. The best products in the world won't give you ideal results if you drink too much, skimp on sleep, smoke, or forget to hydrate and eat well.

  • Roll with the punches. Your skincare needs change as you age. Traveling to a new climate may play tricks on your complexion. Things happen. If you find that your old routine isn't working for you anymore, don't be afraid to change it up.

No matter how bad your skincare routine has been in the past, don't give up! On the other hand, don't stick with something that isn't working. If you find that you really hate a product that you thought would be a winner, see if you can exchange it. Even if not, try to find a new product that you love so you'll look forward to using it every day. You may be amazed by the results you start to see by implementing just these few tips. The key is to keep it simple so that you'll stick with it.