It literally seems like just yesterday that we were getting our skin ready for chilly temperatures and snow. Now we're just weeks away from chirping birds, blooming flowers and warmer weather. You know what that means, right? More heat and humidity, which means more sweat, more sebum, and more reasons to be super proactive when it comes to how we care for our skin.
The following 10 things that I'm about to share with you, 85 percent of them I can personally vouch for because they are a part of my daily regimen. The other 15 percent, after doing some thorough research and asking around for personal reviews, I'm going to add to my routine.
All of them are natural, affordable, and most importantly, super-effective. They're the kind of items that will get your skin ready for that upcoming outdoor wedding, spring vacation, or the spring fever (wink, wink) that might heat things up where your love life is concerned.
1.Sweet Almond Oil
As far as moisturizers go, nothing is quite as sweet as sweet almond oil. The high amount of Vitamin A and E makes it the kind of oil that heals acne and removes acne scars at the same time. Also, if you're not someone who wears sunscreen (all of us should do that, by the way), it's also an oil that will help to protect your skin from damaging UV rays. Plus, the fatty acids that are in it will also soften fine lines and keep your face moist without feeling greasy.
Hands down, one of the best things to happen to my complexion is sulfur soap. Sure, it somewhat smells like rotten eggs (and can sometimes come through your pores when you sweat, so you might want to wash with it at night), but because it contains properties that dry up excess sebum and exfoliates dead skin cells, it's worth that minor inconvenience. I honestly haven't seen my skin so even-looking before, so if you want to wear less foundation as the temperature gets warmer, this can get your face ready to do just that.
While 26 out of every 100,000 Caucasian people get skin cancer, 1 in every 100,000 Black people do. Yes, thanks to our beautiful melanin, we get skin cancer less but that doesn't mean we're not at risk. Plus, too much exposure to the sun can cause our skin to age faster than we would like. That's why it's always a good idea to put some sunscreen on.
If you're looking for a commercialized brand that won't leave an icky white residue on your skin, Banana Boat SunComfort Clear UltraMist Spray SPF 50+ Sunscreen and Coppertone Defend & Care Ultra Hydrate SPF 50 Lotion Sunscreen both will fit the bill. Or, you can make some of your own with help of some coconut oil, carrot seed oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, and a little bit of zinc oxide (you can try out a great recipe here).
Cucumbers contain a lot of water, which is automatically something that our skin needs plenty of. But it's a lot more beneficial to us than that. Cucumbers contain vitamins C and K, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. It is also loaded with antioxidants that fight off free radicals (it's also the kind of food that can help to lower your blood sugar levels too).
As far as your skin goes, the properties in cucumbers can detoxify your pores, reduce dark circles and wrinkles around your eyes, and (get this), if you combine ground coffee with some cucumber juice and a tablespoon of raw honey and rub it where you see cellulite, it can reduce the appearance of it too.
The best way to get these benefits is to drink some cucumber juice. You can get a great homemade recipe for it here.
If there are two vitamins that are skin is constantly in need of, it's Vitamin C and Vitamin E; kiwi extract contains both of these. The Vitamin C in it gives us the extra collagen that we need to keep our skin plump and youthful looking. Vitamin C is also what helps to lighten dark spots and dark circles underneath our eyes. Vitamin E aids in healing damaged skin as it speeds up the production of new cells; something that naturally slows down as we age.
Where can you pick up some kiwi extract? Typically, at your local vitamin store (Amazon has a good supply of it too).
6.Tomato and Honey Mask
Some of us have only heard of bathing in tomato juice if we encountered a skunk so that it can take the stank off. But tomato juice also helps to balance our skin's pH levels, tighten pores, soothe inflammation, reduce sebum, and give our skin an all-around natural glow. If you add some honey to it, since honey is a humectant (that means it pulls moisture from the air) that contains antioxidants and antibacterial compounds that soothes skin and treats fine lines and wrinkles, you've got the perfect skin treatment!
If you're not down to soak in a tub of tomato and honey, how about making a facial mask out of 'em? It's super simple to do. Just take half of a ripe tomato and blend it until it has a puree consistency. Then add a teaspoon of raw honey to it, mix really well, and immediately apply it to your face for 15-20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with cool water (to close up your pores) and you're all set.
7.Tea Tree Oil
If you've got a zit that you need to go away as soon as possible, you're gonna have a hard time finding something as potent as tea tree oil! Every time a blemish pops up on my face, I'll dab a little bit on at night and I promise you, it's about 70 percent gone by morning. What makes tea tree oil so effective is the terpinen-4-ol that's in it; that's a compound that increases the production of white blood cells in your body while killing bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Tea tree oil is not only great for treating acne. It also works as a great hand sanitizer (dilute it; it's super strong), natural deodorant, and a wonderful treatment for nail fungi too.
Reportedly, there are a little over one billion people on the planet who don't have enough zinc in their system. The problem with that is zinc is linked to all kinds of health benefits including strengthening our immune system, improving our memory, decreasing the risk of contracting age-related chronic diseases, boosting fertility and yes, taking care of our skin.
Skin-wise, zinc contains plenty of antioxidants, controls inflammation, helps to heal rashes and sores and, it even can decrease the amount of dandruff or itchy scalp that you might have.
The best way to take advantage of what zinc has to offer is to take a daily supplement of it. However, foods that are high in zinc include chickpeas, eggs, cashews, whole grains, and red meat.
9.Homemade Face MistGiphy
Something that I like to see is skin that has that dewy youthful look. One of the best ways to achieve that is to make your own facial mist. Not only does it help your skin to look sexy, but it also helps to keep it moisturized too.
If you want the kind of mist that will reduce breakouts, mix a half-cup of steeped (and cooled) green tea with four drops of tea tree essential oil and two drops of lavender oil. If you want the kind that will keep your skin looking young and fresh, mix one-half cup of organic rose water with five drops of Vitamin E oil, three drops of ylang ylang essential oil, and one teaspoon of witch hazel.
Tip: Put your mists in four-ounce glass bottles. They'll be easier to carry around that way, plus they will last longer in glass than in plastic.
10. Creamy Make-Up
If you hate the way powder make-up feels in warm weather, you're not alone. The alternative is cream-based make-up. It blends well, doesn't cake up, is super easy to apply, and gives your skin a hydrated and dewy-like feel.
Some cool natural brands that cater to our different skin tones includes Plain Jane Beauty, Au Naturale and Gabriel Cosmetics. If you want to step out and make your own all-natural cream highlighter, I found a cool YouTube video here.
Here's to a beautiful spring (skin) season, y'all!
Featured image by Getty Images.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images