Why is it that many of us have our hair, nails outfit, and makeup game on point but our skincare routine is close to nonexistent? Unfortunately, many of our mothers, grandmothers and aunts instilled in us that black don't crack as they greased our faces with vaseline and sent us on our merry way!
While the rich melanin we posses does in fact cause our skin to naturally age slower, we still need to protect it! Here are ten reasons why your skincare routine or lack thereof is simply not working for you!
1. You aren't exfoliating.
Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin. Many women simply wash their faces, then pile makeup on top of dead, dry and flaking skin. Removing dead skin is important because it makes way for newer, healthier skin to come through and gives the skin an overall more beautiful, clean appearance. As we age, our skin cells don't rejuvenate as often making it even more imperative to remove that old nasty dead skin. Exfoliating should be done anywhere from 1 to 3 times a week. Invest in a good scrub or brush and start exfoliating today!
2. You don't regularly change your pillowcases.
How often do you change your pillowcases? Do you see grease stains on your pillowcase in the morning? Sweat, dirt, grind, makeup, dead skin and bacteria all love making a pillowcase their home. If you are sleeping on a dirty pillowcase, guess where all of those things are going to. Your face! You should be changing your pillowcase at the very minimum of once a week, if not more. You should have spare pillowcases in between wash days so that you change it as needed.
3. You aren't washing your makeup off before bed.
You absolutely have to wash your makeup off before bed every single night! Our skin absorbs what we put on it. If you are going to sleep with makeup on, it's getting under your skin. Do you ever wonder why your skin appears blotchy, you get frequent breakouts, or dark circles often? It could definitely be due to you not washing your makeup off before bed. Purchase makeup removal wipes for nights you are dead tired and can't seem to make it to the sink. For most nights however, you should be washing your makeup off thoroughly before going to bed, then applying a moisturizer.
4. You don't moisturize your skin.
Some women don't apply moisturizer because their skin is naturally oily and they don't want to appear greasy, others simply never knew that it was a necessity so never bothered with it. If your skin is oily, you still need moisturizer. Sometimes skin produces excess oil because it thinks you need it. Applying moisturizer helps to regulate the amount of oil our skin produces. If your skin is dry, your body is not producing enough oil and you need moisturizer to keep your skin soft and supple. Find a moisturizer that works best for your skin type and use it regularly, especially before your makeup application so you can have a smooth flawless finish.
5. You have never seen a dermatologist.
When you are sick, you go to a doctor, right? When you have a toothache, you go to the dentist. You have annual exams with your gynecologist. Why don't you see a dermatologist when your skin is going haywire? Skin is the largest organ of the integumentary system. Your skin plays a major role in protecting you against loss of water and harmful pathogens in the environment, so why aren't you letting an expert assist you with it? Anytime you have a skin issue, whether it is a skin tag, discoloration, persistent acne, rash, whatever, you need to see an expert. Sometimes Google simply isn't enough. Have your doctor recommend a great dermatologist to help you tackle any skin issues you may have.
6. You have no clue what an esthetician is.
I'm guilty of this. I had no clue what an esthetician was, until I decided I wanted to go to school for skincare and became one. An esthetician is a professional who specializes in skin and skincare. Licensed estheticians give facials including; chemical peels, microdermabrasion, LED Facials, oxygen treatments and more. It is recommended to see an esthetician once a month when you are first starting off until you have a handle on your skincare routine and then as needed. Estheticians are able to expertly determine the type of skin you have and what products are needed to ensure your skin is at its absolute best.
7. You are using the wrong products.
It's easy to run into Walgreens and grab the first facial cleanser we see but is that really what our skin needs? Everyone's skin is unique and what works for you may not work for the next person. It's important to know whether your skin is oily, dry, combination, breakout-prone, aging, etc to know what is going to work best for you.
8. You aren't extracting.
Extracting is the removal of blackheads. Blackheads can occur when dirt and oil become trapped under the skin's surface. You can purchase an actual extractor at Sally's or your local beauty store, or you can use q-tips to extract as well. Steaming your face first opens up pores for easy extractions. Never extract an actual pimple or whitehead as it could leave scarring. Only blackheads should be extracted. If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, see an esthetician for a facial and analysis and advise them of the areas where you are prone to blackheads.
9. You aren't drinking enough water.
Water helps skin to maintain a healthy appearance as well as keeps skin moisturized and youthful looking. If you notice consistent dryness in your skin, it could be because you are either using products that are too harsh or drying for your skin, or not drinking enough water. If you aren't taking care of your body on the inside, there isn't much you can do on the outside that will help.
10. You are eating bad foods/drinking too much alcohol.
Alcohol is drying. If you notice that you have a lot of dryness in the space in between your eyes, it most likely is due to dehydration. Dehydration can be caused by excessive alcohol intake or lack of water intake. Limiting your alcohol usage can help your skin look and feel better. If you are eating tons of meat, junk food and processed foods you could be experiencing dull, dry breakout-prone skin. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables not only helps you to look amazing physique-wise, it also plays an important part in keeping your skin looking great! Add more fresh fruits, vegetables and water to your diet and cut back on the unnecessary foods and drinks, your skin, body and overall health will greatly benefit!
Featured image by Getty Images
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here to receive our latest articles and news straight to your inbox.
- 8 Reasons You Should Get A Facial Regularly - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- The Best Skincare Routine For Your 30s - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Here's the Best Way to Wash Your Body - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- 10 Signs That Your Skin Care Routine Isn't Working For You ›
- 12 Reasons Your Skincare Regimen No Longer Works | You're ... ›
- What to Do When Your Skin Care Stops Working ›
- Why is my skincare routine not working? | Clinic in Knightsbridge ›
- How to know if your skincare routine is working | Well+Good ›
- Why Your Skin Care Routine Isn't Working - Skincare Tips And tricks ... ›
- 5 Reasons Why Your Skincare Isn't Working – Beautiful With Brains ›
- Is Your Skincare Routine Working? | Paula's Choice ›
Ashley Renee is a soul food enthusiast, sometimes vegetarian, writer and spoken word poet, who doesn't trust boxed macaroni or cats. keep up with her @ashleyreneepoet on Twitter & Instagram.
Chief Mom Officer: 23 Quotes From Working Moms Finding Their Balance
The truth is, Black moms create magic every single day. Whether we're juggling motherhood with a busy 9-5, a thriving business, or staying at home to run a household, no day is short of amazing when you're managing life as a mommy. This Mother's Day, xoNecole is giving flowers to CMOs (Chief Mom Officers) in business who exemplify the strength it takes to balance work with motherhood.
We've commissioned these ladies, who are pillars in their respective industries, for tidbits of advice to get you through the best and worst days of mothering. Here, they share their "secret sauce" and advice for other moms trying to find their rhythm.
Emmelie De La Cruz, Chief Strategist at One Day CMO
"My mom friends and I all laugh and agree: Motherhood is the ghettoest thing you will ever do. It's beautiful and hard all at the same time, but one day you will wake up and feel like 'I got this' and you will get the hang of it. After 4 months, I finally felt like I found my footing to keep my kid and myself alive, but it took vulnerability to take off the cape and be honest about the areas that I didn't have it all together. The healing (physically and emotionally) truly does happen in community - whatever and whoever that looks like for you."
Alizè V. Garcia, Director Of Social & Community Impact at Nike
"I would tell a new mom or a prospective mother that they must give themselves grace, understand and remember there is no right way to do this thing and have fun! When I had my daughter three and a half years ago, I was petrified! I truly had no clue about what to do and how I was going to do it. But with time, my confidence grew and I realized quickly that I have all the tools I need to be the mother I want to be."
Nikki Osei-Barrett, Publicist + Co-Founder of The Momference
"There's no balance. I'm dropping sh*t everywhere! However, my secret sauce is pursuing interests and hobbies outside of what's required of me and finding time to workout. Stronger body equals = stronger mind."
Lauren Grove, Chief Experience Architect, The Grant Access, LLC
"I try to give myself grace. That’s my mantra for this phase of motherhood…grace. I won’t be able to get everything done. To have a spotless house. To not lose my cool after an exhausting day. Those things can’t happen all of the time. But I can take a deep breath and know tomorrow is another day and my blessings are more plentiful than my pitfalls."
Rachel Nicks, Founder & CEO of Birth Queen
"You have the answers within you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Curate your life to work for you. Ask for help."
Tanisha Colon-Bibb, Founder + CEO Rebelle Agency + Rebelle Management
"I know love doesn't pay bills but when I am overwhelmed with work or client demands I take a moment to play with my baby and be reminded of the love, energy, science, and Godliness that went into his birth. I am brightened by his smile and laugh. I remember I am someone's parent and not just a work horse. That at the end of the day everything will work out for the good of my sanity and the love within my life."
Christina Brown, Founder of LoveBrownSugar & BabyBrownSugar
"Learning your rhythm as a mom takes time and can be uncomfortable when you’re in a season of overwhelm. Constantly check in with yourself and assess what’s working and what’s not. Get the help you need without feeling guilty or ashamed of needing it."
Mecca Tartt, Executive Director of Startup Runway Foundation
"I want to be the best for myself, my husband, children and company. However, the reality is you can have it all but not at the same time. My secret sauce is outsourcing and realizing that it’s okay to have help in order for me to perform at the highest level."
Jen Hayes Lee, Head Of Marketing at The Bump (The Knot Worldwide)
"My secret sauce is being direct and honest with everyone around me about what I need to be successful in all of my various "jobs". Setting boundaries is one thing, but if you're the only one who knows they exist, your partners at home and on the job can't help you maintain them. I also talk to my kids like adults and let them know why mommy needs to go to this conference or get this massage...they need to build an appreciation for my needs too!"
Whitney Gayle-Benta, Chief Music Officer JKBX
"What helps me push through each day is the motivation to continue by thinking about my son. All my efforts, though exhausting, are to create a wonderful life for him."
Ezinne Okoro, Global Chief Inclusion, Equity, & Diversity Officer at Wunderman Thompson,
"The advice I received that I’ll pass on is, you will continue to figure it out and find your rhythm as your child grows into new stages. Trust your nurturing intuition, parent on your terms, and listen to your child."
Jovian Zayne, CEO of The OnPurpose Movement
"I live by the personal mantra: 'You can’t be your best self by yourself.' My life feels more balanced when I offer the help I can give and ask for the help I need. This might mean outsourcing housecleaning for my home, or hiring additional project management support for my business."
Simona Noce Wright, Co-Founder of District Motherhued and The Momference
"Each season of motherhood (depending on age, grade, workload) requires a different rhythm. With that said, be open to learning, to change, and understand that what worked for one season may not work the other...and that's okay."
Janaye Ingram, Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement at Airbnb
"My daughter's smile and sweet spirit help me to feel gratitude when I'm overwhelmed. I want her to see a woman who doesn't quit when things get hard."
Codie Elaine Oliver, CEO & Founder of Black Love
"I try to listen to my body and simply take a break. With 3 kids and a business with 10+ team members, I often feel overwhelmed. I remind myself that I deserve grace for everything I'm juggling, I take a walk or have a snack or even head home to see my kids, and then I get back to whatever I need to get done."
Jewel Burks Solomon, Managing Partner at Collab Capital
"Get comfortable with the word ‘no’. Be very clear about your non-negotiables and communicate them to those around you."
Bridget Bogee, Marketing Lead At Meta
"Ask for help and always prioritize making time for you."
Julee Wilson, Executive Director at BeautyUnited and Beauty Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan
"Understand you can’t do it alone — and that’s ok. Relinquish the need to control everything. Create a village and lean on them."
Salwa Benyaich, Director Of Pricing and Planning at Premion
"Most days I really try to shut my computer off by 6 pm; there are always exceptions of course when it comes to big deals or larger projects but having this as a baseline allows me to be much more present with my kids. I love the fact that I can either help with homework or be the designated driver to at least one afterschool activity. Work can be draining but there is nothing more emotionally draining than when you feel as though you are missing out on moments with your kids."
Brooke Ellis, Head of Global Marketing & Product Launches at Amazon Music
My calendar, prayer, pilates class at Forma, a good playlist, and oatmilk lattes all help get me through any day.
Courtney Beauzile, Global Director of Client and Business Development at Shearman & Sterling
My husband is a partner who steps in when I just can’t. My mom and my MIL come through whenever and however I need. My kids have many uncles and aunts and they will lend an ear, go over homework, teach life lessons, be a presence or a prayer warrior depending on the day.
Robin Snipes, Chief of Staff at Meta
"Enjoy the time you have to yourself because once kids come those times will be few and far between."
Monique Bivens, CEO & Founder at Brazilian Babes LLC.
"For new moms, it is very important that you get back into a habit or routine of something you use to do before you were pregnant. Consider the actives and things that give you the most joy and make the time to do them."
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Westend61/Getty Images
- 20 Inspirational Quotes That'll Motivate TF Out Of You ›
- Tracee Ellis Ross Breaks Down What ‘Wander, Ponder, And Be’ Means To Her ›
- 20 Quotes About Black Love That Will Make You A True Love Believer ›
- 14 Quotes From Black Feminists To Inspire You To Boss Up ›
- 10 Inspirational Issa Rae Quotes For When You Need Them Most ›
What Is 'Vaginal Laxity' And How Can You Effectively Treat It?
If you’re either not yet (roughly) in your 40s or you’ve never given birth to a child, let me just tell you that something that’s probably coming your way that you probably never gave much thought to is some form of vaginal laxity.
Although I’ve been able to avoid it until, eh, the last several months or so, now that it likes to show up and out on occasion, I have definitely made it my purpose and mission to figure out how to get it under some level of control — not because I take issue with aging (I don’t); it’s just that, sneezing too hard and feeling a drip or two has never been a part of my life, so why start now, chile.
Yeah, vaginal laxity isn’t really something that a lot of women are running to the water cooler to discuss. Oh, but believe you me, it is something that affects quite a few women (around 40 percent self-report it; others prefer to “suffer” in silence).
So, just so you won’t find yourself freakin’ out or feeling some form of shame or embarrassment should it even come knocking on your own door (uh, so to speak), let’s take out a few moments to discuss what vaginal laxity is and how you can (relatively) easily treat it — even from the comfort and convenience of your own home.
What Exactly Is Vaginal Laxity All About?Giphy
Even though we all pretty much use the word “vagina” to address our entire genitalia, that’s not actually what it is. Technically, your vagina is a tube that connects your vulva (the outer part of your vaginal region) to your cervix (the neck of your uterus). Your vagina is how penises can penetrate you, and vaginal births are able to transpire.
As far as the walls of your vagina go, they consist of muscular tissue, mucus membranes, fibrous material, and collagen. Your vagina also has pleats of tissue called vaginal rugae; this is what makes it easier for your vagina to expand, whether it’s during sex or when you’re delivering a baby.
As we age, the potency of our vaginal rugae weakens. That’s because we start to lose estrogen and collagen. And whether it’s due to aging or giving birth, sometimes our vaginal walls can become weaker as well; when that happens, it’s oftentimes referred to as vaginal laxity.
So, what are some of the telltale signs of vaginal laxity (beyond what I just said)? Good question:
- Urinary continence
- Less vaginal lubrication
- Pain/discomfort during intercourse
- Less sensation during intercourse
- More vaginal “air sounds” during sex and/or exercise (because your walls are a bit looser)
- A lower libido altogether
And what if you’re slowly yet surely seeing some of this popping up in your own life? My two cents are to not ignore it because, if it is indeed vaginal laxity, it’s not really something that will just…go away. You will need to book an appointment with your doctor to discuss with them what is going on so that they can test your hormone levels, do a vaginal exam, and (if you do have it) explore some treatable options with you.
Options like what? That is also a good question.
Why Do Some People Treat It with Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgical Procedures?Giphy
Okay, so here’s the deal — if you are indeed “diagnosed” (I put that in quotes because many medical professionals say that vaginal laxity isn’t the easiest thing in the world to actually diagnose), you will need to go through some form of vaginal rejuvenation whether it’s surgical, laser or opting for some DIY approaches. Let’s touch on some of the professional options first.
Vaginoplasty: Although this term is being associated more and more with transwomen, it originally was created to help women to reconstruct their vagina (again, the actual tube) if there was significant damage done following vaginal childbirth.
Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation: This is when lasers are used to strengthen the walls of your vagina. A popular one is FemTouch, although I recently read an article about how the FDA should really take a deeper look into this procedure due to the potential risks that come along with it (like burning your vagina due to the intensity of the laser frequencies).
RF (Radio Frequency) Treatment: This is a skin-tightening procedure that consists of heating up your vaginal walls in order for it to create more collagen, elastin, and skin cells.
Potential risks aside, from what I’ve researched, it was hard to nail down an exact price for any of these. What I can tell you is that you’re easily gonna need a couple of thousand dollars to get the kind of results that you are looking for — and that’s on the low end of things.
What Are Some At-Home Remedies for Vaginal Laxity?Giphy
Listen, I don’t know about y’all, but nothing in me likes the thought of clipping, potentially burning, or draining my bank account if I can at all avoid it. Thankfully, there are some things that you can try at home (at least first) that are safer, cheaper, and that many physicians say are just as effective.
Kegels. If there’s one word that you’ve probably heard a billion times at this point, it’s kegels. They are exercises that help to strengthen your pelvic floor walls, which can definitely help to reduce incontinence and, as a bonus, intensify your orgasms too.
Squats. Usually, when squats are brought up, it’s in the context of creating a rounder butt. However, your vaginal walls can benefit from them as well. That’s because by focusing on strengthening your legs and working out your hips, it tightens your pelvic floor at the same time. So clearly, squats are a win all the way around.
Yoga. Last month, we published the article “5 Postpartum Yoga Poses To Reengage Your Pelvic Floor That Are Better Than Kegels.” I’m thinking that is pretty self-explanatory, although I do believe that it should also go on record that yoga also helps to reduce stress — and since stress can jack up your hormone levels and that can result in vaginal dryness, well…yeah, yoga is definitely something that you should consider getting into if you want your vagina to be “tight and right.” A site by the name of Wellness Travel Diaries even did you a solid by publishing “15 Powerful Yoga On Youtube Classes With Black Teachers.” #givethanks
Phytoestrogens. If your doctor confirmed that your estrogen levels are steadily decreasing, while you can do some form of estrogen therapy (definitely speak with your physician first), there are also foods that are rich in estrogen; they’re called “phytoestrogens” because they are a plant-based form of estrogen. Some phytoestrogens include cashews, garlic, peaches, broccoli, dried fruit, berries, and red wine.
Vitamin C-Enriched Foods. Remember how I said that vaginal laxity can lead to less collagen too? Well, since vitamin C helps to stimulate collagen production, also consume foods that are filled with this particular nutrient. Some that top the list include bell peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, white potatoes, citrus fruits, parsley, and strawberries.
Less Sugar. It really is wild how delicious processed sugar is when intel just keeps on revealing how bad it is for our health (especially when not consumed in extreme moderation). As far as your vagina goes, not only does the bad bacteria in it like to feast on sugar (which can lead to a chronic yeast infection), but it also has the ability to weaken collagen fibers. Yep, that’s why a lot of people see premature fine lines and wrinkles; they’ve been eating too much sugar!
Weight Management. Weight puts added pressure on the body, and your pelvic area is certainly not exempt. One way to avoid doing this to yourself is exercising and staying at a healthy weight. Your vaginal walls will be so much stronger for it.
Plenty of water. Every part of your body needs plenty of fluids; that’s because your body is mostly made up of water (reportedly, somewhere around 60 percent). When it comes to your vagina, specifically, consuming water helps to flush out toxins, reduce dry and itchy vulvar skin and, it can help to keep the natural juices down their flowing so that a lack of lubrication isn’t as much of an issue.
Again, vaginal laxity isn’t something that gets us excited as far as getting older goes — yet now that you know more about it and how to handle it, hopefully, you’ll approach it with grace and ease. Hmph. I know I plan to.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by wmich/Getty Images