Baltimore-based aesthetician Arika Casebolt knows good skin in every season.
American beauty culture is teeming with rules. Always do this, never do that, and for the love of God, don’t ever do the other, and herein lies the rub, literally and figuratively. Americans in general take very little time for massage, facials and other bodycare; in my experience over the last decade, well over half my clients view getting facials as a special treat rather than a legitimate practice for their overall epidermal health. What’s more, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, at least 60 countries far surpass us in vacation time, whether paid or unpaid, and anyone who has ever worked in a service profession knows that there’s a tacit implication that it’s noble to work while sick, despite all evidence to the contrary. We get less sleep than most countries’ citizens, thus cementing Americans in our position among the least kind to our collective epidermis, instead always searching for the quickest fix.
We are inundated with an ever-burgeoning glut of celebrity dermatologists’ cutting-edge procedures, technologies, and newly minted game-changers in the constantly churning active-ingredient market. I love a great moisturizer with retinoids or glycolic acid; however, I am skeptical of products that claim to do 10 things; surely if those 10 benefits existed in one product, at least three of the active ingredients would contraindicate each other. It’s just not feasible that a single moisturizer could contain a stable, and therefore realistically productive, combination of active ingredients in high enough amounts to actually do something.
I am not saying that nothing works, nor do I suggest that products shouldn’t be tested cautiously. In fact, I try almost everything; I’m a shameless beauty-product addict, having long ago become an aesthetician to parlay my obsession into a profession. I consider it part of my job to discover the next jewel in the rock-pile of What Works. To some, the mere thought is exhausting. To me, good times. Therefore, here are the five things that are tried and truly excellent for your skin—and to us overworked, stressed-out Americans, may feel positively decadent:
Eat guacamole as often as possible. Avocados are high in good fat and oil, and your face will thank you.
Get a facial at least every three months. This isn’t terribly expensive, and the more massage, the better; tell your aesthetician that you really enjoy the massage portions of your service. Facial massage stimulates cell turnover, circulation and collagen production. Plus, it feels really good, and you need that in your life, right?
Get more sleep. As I’ve mentioned previously, your skin does its best work as you sleep, making your products optimally effective and promoting fresh, bright eyes (and firming the surrounding tissue).
Put on a little weight if you’re thin. Your face loses volume as you age, and it can cause you to look haggard and more wrinkly (I got really skinny when I was injured a couple of years ago, and I can definitely attest to this.) The gorgeous and timelessly stunning actress Catherine Deneuve is rumored to have remarked that at a certain age, a woman must choose between her butt and her face. My face wins that hands-down. A lot more people (probably) see your face than your rear end.
Get down, make love. Sexologist and southern belle Dr. Gloria Bramer claims that having sex increases blood circulation, encourages cell turnover and amplifies collagen production, among many more epidermal bonuses. Just having an orgasm plumps lips, as well as producing dopamine and other happy hormonal bursts, all of which also increase cell turnover and circulation. Not to mention the sexy flush it brings to your cheeks!
So sleep late, get a facial massage, have some sex and eat guacamole I say it’s our duty as Americans to change our all-work-no-play image.
Arika Casebolt is an aesthetician and make-up artist with over a decade of experience practicing aesthetics and beauty science. She is fully licensed in Maryland and D.C. and has worked for Natural Body Arlington, BlueMercury Dupont Circle, Charm City Skin and Chop Shop… As a writer, Arika has contributed to the D.C. City Paper, Verve Scene and Style, The Baltimore Examiner, Scripps-Howard News Service, and more — her blog is BeautyforBeauty. She lives in Baltimore with her husband, pets, and a constantly growing embarrassment of beauty products.