Not to toot my own horn, but 90% of the time, my skin is flawless. My most recent revelation of this? Being featured by a popular site in a video segment and the entire comment section asking, "Green sweater, what's your skincare regimen?" They completely ignored the takeaways of self-love and wellness that I shared with them. My point? Outside of that time of the month, my skin hardly ever fails me unless I'm suffering from intense anxiety.
The last time I recall having breakouts, was during finals in my first semester of grad school. I woke up, and the right side of my face was covered in acne. Nothing helped until after exams were finished, and weeks later, all of the acne disappeared.
COVID-19 has impacted my life, and my skin, and unlike the weeks of discomfort that I endured last winter, the highs and lows of my skin breaking out have lasted for months this time and I needed answers. Due to the dermatologist offices being closed in quarantine, I had to get creative and explore alternative methods of getting my skincare game, and life together.
If the Rona is messing with your skin, explore these options to bring it back to life.
Evaluate your skincare routine pre-pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, my skincare routine included sunlight, additional water intake due to cycling workouts, and swimming three times a week followed by the sauna, a place where my skin was nurtured with heat and jojoba oil. If I'm lucky, these days I get outside 1-2 hours a day and that can't compare to the environment my skin was used to. Additionally, your skin feels the pandemic's stress, and when our bodies feel that pressure, it releases cortisol.
When this occurs, it lowers the estrogen production, which can lead to a spike in androgen levels. And as androgen plays a role in connecting with the sebaceous glands when they feel stressed, those glands overproduce oil. That oil clogs our pores and leads to inflammation that causes breakouts - it's a never-ending cycle of stress that shows up on your skin. Consider what products you used to use to show your skin a little extra love previously, and do more of that to see change.
When complying with PPE rules, find a face mask that doesn't irritate your skin.
For weeks, I'd seen adult acne form the corners of where I place my face mask on daily when I work out, and even though I didn't pop the pimples, they left dark marks (as most acne scars become due to melanated skin.) Weeks into quarantine, after realizing that washing my sheets weekly versus. bi-weekly hadn't helped, all roads pointed to my mask, so I opted to work out in an area where I'd hardly ever come in contact with anyone, without a mask - versus the park, where I'd work out in days prior to. Unfortunately, some instances of "maskne" aren't avoidable, for more info on how to avoid mask-related breakouts, check out "8 Tips to Prevent Acne Caused by Face Masks".
I increased my water intake.
While I only drink water and coffee daily, I still have to admit that social distancing hours will pass and I'll forget to take a sip. And due to sitting at my desk most of the time, working for hours on end forgetting to do basic things such as stretch, and take adequate water breaks, my skin was impacted. Intentionally stopping to drink water in intervals daily has helped me hold myself, and my urine color accountable. My skin has also flourished because of it.
Steam your skin (I repeat steam your skin).
About two months into being met with skincare woes, I decided that I'd call in for skin reinforcements in the form of re-upping on my favorite products and steaming. Steaming your skin by way of a steamer, a pot of boiling water and a towel, or a sauna helps to unclog your pores. I have access to a sauna and I've noticed that the weeks I steam and go visit the spa, my skin recuperates and glows more as a result.
If you're like me, the first few weeks of quarantine were filled with snacks and Netflix. And while that escape from reality felt good initially, our bodies and skin are asking for a detox when acne shows up on our faces. Consider a cleanse with a natural detox tea, green juice, or supplement with adding probiotics, and leafy greens to your diet to improve the clarity of your complexion.
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Dubbed one of the "21 Black Women Wellness Influencers You Should Follow" by Black + Well, Yasmine Jameelah continues to leave her digital footprint across platforms ranging from Forever 21 Plus, Vaseline, and R29 Unbothered discussing all things healing and body positivity. As a journalist, her writing can be found on sites such as Blavity, Blacklove.com, and xoNecole. Jameelah is also known for her work shattering unconventional stigmas surrounding wellness through her various mediums, including her company Transparent Black Girl. Find Yasmine @YasmineJameelah across all platforms.
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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