When professional photographer Alex Tricani sent this image, I couldn’t get past the giant red craters on my face.
I’ve always been incredibly lazy about beauty. This isn’t because I don’t dream of being an illustrious goddess who rides into the sunset with an equally exotic suitor, but because tending to my mind and soul has always taken priority. Every so often I’ll spend money on a nice haircut, but most of the time I do as little as possible to retain my youthful looks.
This philosophy used to work pretty well for me and my friends were jealous of my unblemished skin – until I lived in Viet Nam for four months. My skin has never recovered from Ho Chi Minh City’s pollution, and I’ve done a terrible job of bringing it back to life. Don’t be like me. Avoid the following five things to keep your skin looking so much better than mine.
1. Don’t Forget to Drink Water
I know that water is good for me, but I get so caught up with my work and coffee that I never remember to drink as much as I should. Hopefully you will avoid making this mistake. Almost all health experts agree that drinking a decent amount of water (approximately 64 ounces a day) is essential to good complexion and pretty much anything else. This is nature’s way of purifying your body from the inside out.
2. Don’t Forget to Clean Your Face at Night
When I was living in Viet Nam, where – like Egypt – unprecedented levels of pollution permeate every pore of the body, I scoffed at the ladies who carried around blotters and wore face masks, but I’m laughing last. Instead of cleaning my face every night and taking care of my skin, I was lazy and paid the price. The problem areas that emerged after just four months of living in HCMC flair up time and again. Do you think I learned? Of course not. Often by the time I drag myself to bed I’m so tired that I don’t remember to clean my face. Please don’t do this.
3. Don’t Smoke
One of the smartest decisions I ever made was to quit smoking, but it seems like that decision took up all my intelligence reserves – at least where my complexion is concerned. People who smoke not only get those unsightly lines around their mouth, but smoking deprives the skin of oxygen and important nutrients, completely altering the chemical composition and appearance. Smoking also destroys collagen, so smokers tend to have looser skin. Some scientists believe that smoking is linked to skin-cancer.
4. Don’t Use Harmful Acne Products
When Sicilian photographer Alex Tricani sent me the lead photograph, which he took while I was interviewing the one-eyed salt carver in Siwa, Egypt, I was mortified to see how terrible my skin looks. Although Alex is a first-class photographer and the overall picture is beautiful, I couldn’t get past the unattractive red craters on my face. After that, vanity trumped my green sensibilities and I went looking for zit blasting ointments, but I soon found that these can actually make the situation worse.
According to WebMD, products containing benzoyl peroxide “can suck the moisture out of your skin and leave it looking red and irritated.” And if you feel the need to cover them up, as I do, it’s better to use mineral-based cosmetics that “contain added ingredients like silica, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide, which both absorb oil and hide redness without irritating skin and causing pimples.” OnePure offers eco-products that are also halal. (WebMD)
5. Don’t Scratch!
I recently dated a man I met on one of my adventures. It didn’t last long (maybe he didn’t like my complexion), but he taught me at least one valuable lesson: “hands and face do not go together.” I’ve developed this terrible habit of scratching my face either while I’m working or reading a book. This is absolutely the worst thing to do because one little zit pretty soon turns into a colony of them and now my face is covered in small scars that may never go away. Occasionally I apply Vitamin E oil to my face before I go to bed and it seems to make a huge difference, but it would be so much better to quit this habit all together.
Check out Miriam’s response to my “rueful” post: 5 Natural Ways to Keep Your Skin Beautiful
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