Let’s face it, growing older is inevitable, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. With age comes maturity, strength, and wisdom, and it should be embraced, not seen as a hindrance or a part of our lives to be ashamed of. While we can’t stop the natural process of life, we can be proactive about the proper skincare products, tools, and lifestyle choices we can practice to promote healthy and natural aging that allows us to age gracefully with beautiful, healthy skin.
Prior to my 30s, I relied on my melanin-rich skin with minimal effort because, as the saying goes, “Black doesn’t crack.” However, I’ve learned that there’s more to maintaining glowing skin than relying on purely genetics. Preventative measures are crucial in combating the skin's aging process. Fine lines, wrinkles, loose dry skin, hyperpigmentation, and other noticeable forms of aging begin long before you see them, seemingly appearing out of nowhere. Recently, I noticed a change in my skin's texture around my neck that never went away. Slowly panicked once I realized what was happening, the first sign of aging had arrived, and I had no idea what to do or how to reverse it.
From product ingredients to lifestyle choices, there are many factors in how one’s complexion and skin health progresses over time. If you’re reading this, you more than likely have a facial routine or know to at least wash and moisturize your face daily, however, there are simple additions that we can incorporate into our everyday routines.
To provide tips, I’ve enlisted the help of skincare experts to provide the best and most effective products, ingredients, and even foods to achieve your best-looking skin yet.
Meet the Experts
Courtesy of Jordan Karim
Jordan Karim, Founder/Owner of Flora & Noor
Flora & Noor is the first and only halal-certified skincare brand in America with a mission to provide beyond-clean skincare that yields efficacious, fast-acting, and non-irritating results for underrepresented consumers with chronic skin conditions and melanin-rich skin. Inspired and formulated with botanicals and versatile fruits from African and Middle Eastern traditions, their products are clinically effective with clean ingredients that are backed by science and powered by botanicals.
Courtesy of Mona Bahraini
Mona Bahraini, Owner of PPBody
PPBody is skincare simplified with formulas that are true to nature, using the power of cacti to heal. Mona Bahraini, the founder, grew up in Arizona, where they used prickly pear, aka nopales, for everything from eating to topical benefits. As an adult, she discovered the power of the cactus fruit; not only is it a superfood, but the oil extracted from the seed is incredible for your skin. Prickly pear seed oil contains a plethora of vitamins, minerals, plant acids, and fatty acids that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
1. Do less.
The common notion that less is more is true indeed for most of what we do in life, and skincare is no exception. When becoming more aware of proper ingredients that work well for your skin type, it could all be incredibly simple when achieving and maintaining tight yet supple, youthful-looking skin. “The skin industry has convinced the people that we need to have 4-5 daily products applied on the skin, and our skin is screaming at us 'do less,'” states Mona Bahraini. “You only need one or two powerful natural ingredients on your facial skin to make a significant difference."
2. Don't forget to exfoliate.
As mentioned, our skin naturally sheds and regenerates new skin cells; however, nonabrasive exfoliation is an amazing process that can instantly refresh our complexion by speeding up the natural process with noticeably instant results. “Exfoliating not only eliminates the buildup of dead skin cells but also helps encourage your skin to quicken its cell turnover rate to reveal the healthy skin cells below,” Jordan Karim explains.
However, Bahraini has a slightly different take. “Exfoliation is a tricky subject as the skin industry has convinced us that we need to disrupt and exfoliate constantly with scrubs, masks, cleansers, and the list goes on. Our skin also has a natural process of shedding cells and regeneration that we actually prevent and disrupt by doing everything that is trendy.”
"Our skin also has a natural process of shedding cells and regeneration that we actually prevent and disrupt by doing everything that is trendy.”
She continues, “Most exfoliants strip your skin of the natural oils it needs to help natural skin tissue regeneration and dries out your skin which then means you need to add more product to your face to lubricate it after you strip it, it does not make sense to the body at all, but it sure makes sense to the pockets of big box skin industry.” When it comes to exfoliation, Bahraini suggests going the natural route without stripping the skin of essential oils.
3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Do you notice people who live well past their 80s and 90s typically have one thing in common? Healthy lifestyle habits go a long way, quite literally. Easier said than done, one way to ensure ageless skin is by practicing a lifestyle of self-care from the inside out. “Reduce the amount of alcohol intake and drink more water. Use sunscreen. Have a couple days a week where you do not make healthy food choices, but most days of the week, you should be incorporating walnuts, avocados, blueberries, honey, olive oil, lemon, red onions, fish, deep leafy greens like kale, spinach, and arugula,” Bahraini advises. Easier said than done for most, eliminating alcohol is a long-term solution for achieving ageless skin.
4. Don't forget your neck.
For most women, the first signs of aging begin to appear at both the hands and neck, caused by various environmental stressors. With noticeably dry, thin skin beginning to appear in both of these areas, I frantically began my search for anti-aging ingredients that would tighten and brighten my newfound problem areas. “Vitamin C and Gotu Kola are great ingredients to look for in anti-aging products," Karim shares. "Flora & Noor's Vitamin C Collection will give you tighter, brighter, and hydrated skin which includes a 4-step regimen to promote healthy collagen production using our Boost and Brighten Cleanser, Vitamin C Resurfacing Toner, Bright Side Serum, and the Super Glow Moisturizer."
Courtesy of Flora & Noor
Flora & Noor doesn't use retinol since it's not halal. However, the company created a plant-based alternative. Karim continues, "Gotu kola, a plant-based retinol alternative which, is another great ingredient for anti-aging. Gotu kola's benefits concerning skincare include decreasing aging signs, promoting tighter and firmer skin, and it is anti-inflammatory using nutritional elements, including beta carotene, amino and fatty acids, and phytochemicals to fight aging signs from setting into the skin."
5. Wash with a gentle cleanser.
Using cleansers with harsh and/or toxic ingredients can do more harm than good to our skin, especially as we age. Recently, I discovered an app called Yuka that helps consumers choose healthier products. Yuka scans a range of products from our favorite brands assessing the health benefits with a rating of harmfulness while recommending healthier alternatives. This is a great option for those who want to get a comprehensive breakdown of harmful ingredients that may be in our favorite cleansers.
In addition to Yuka, to avoid products that may do more damage to our delicate skin, Bahraini suggests going back to the basics. "At night, if you wore makeup, use a natural baby shampoo to lightly remove makeup. Most cleansers that remove makeup strip your skin of everything good, which makes your skin's job much harder."
She recommends washing your face with water only, especially if you do not wear makeup, and applying a morning and night oil with only a couple of drops to balance out natural oil production, even with oily skin.
6. Moisturize every day.
Dry skin can significantly advance the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which is why moisturizing every day is essential to slowing down premature aging. We’ve learned that cleansing can strip our skin of vital oils and nutrients, so following up with a moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more luscious youthful appearance. This should become a routine habit within our skincare regime. However, Bahraini explains it takes more effort than using just any moisturizing product.
Bahraini suggests PPBody’s night and morning formulas reduce wrinkles formation, tighten existing wrinkles, lighten dark spots, minimize bags under the eyes, and provide deep hydration for an ultimate natural glow. “Cream-base moisturizers do not penetrate skin the way oil does as most are stuffed with fluff ingredients and water. Another key ingredient, prickly pear seed oil, is non-comedogenic, which means it does not block pores and fully penetrates all skin types with a plethora of vitamins, minerals, plant acids, and fatty acids that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.”
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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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