Austin Opera Dinner photo

Skin Deep

We all know there are a number of negative factors that influence skin looking healthy; smoking, sun, sleeplessness. However, we also know there are many great things for skin; sunscreen, sea salt scrubs, surfactants. Add to that; good genes. I don’t have a particular regime, but I do have some tricks up my sleeve that I’ve relied on for years.

Firstly, wash the oil away. I have the “T” zone problem. Forehead to nose, I am always dealing with a bit of a shine. Oil production is, obviously, a natural process of the body, but if you lead an active lifestyle, it can be a nuisance. Sweating in yoga, during your workout, or while on a run significantly adds to oil production in your skin. Shower frequently and as quickly as you can post work out. That alone is a must.

Secondly, use a high-quality cleaner, soap, or astringent. I’m not too keen on using harsh products on my skin, but I am a fan of pharmaceuticals. Witch Hazel, a lightly abrasive astringent made from bark and leaves of an Asian ornamental plant, is an excellent skin cleaner. It is also inexpensive. I use a purifying cleanser product from Skinceuticals. I discovered the cleanser in 2011 and swear by it for keeping my super skin clean. I occasionally apply a pharmaceutical grade Retin-A cream (.025) at night to prevent inflammation or clear blemishes. My general practitioner provided me with a prescription to help with some of my skin issues. I also use a phyto-corrective gel to control redness.

Lastly, use sunscreen. Sun exposure is awful and very damaging for skin. I still love being out in it, but it does terrible things to the skin. I like a professional grade product that’s specifically formulated for the face and neck. If you have previous sun damage, like myself, there are measures you can take to improve your skin, namely photorejuvination. Commonly known as IPL or photofacials, these treatments (you’ll need more than one) can drastically improve skin’s appearance. Ain’t no shame in admitting that I’ve had the procedure. I swear by them. You can buy package deals to get your skin to a healthy state, then simply maintain annually with a couple of follow-up treatments. And don’t forget to apply on the tops of your ears and the back of your neck.

At 50, I know I’ve got an uphill battle, but I think I can age gracefully and even counteract years of sun exposure, bad health habits, and genuine neglect. I had boyish looks forever, but those times are behind me. I am certainly not quite ready to go under the knife. That drastic of an intervention not only scares me, but I have great anxiety regarding the potential outcome. So I adhere to the practice of care and maintenance. If you only follow one bit of my advice, please use sunscreen. I drove convertibles for years and the tops of my ears, my nose and my cheeks became sun damaged from my youthful “throw caution to the wind” attitude towards skin care ~ and I never used sunscreen. Bad Scott!

 

Skin Products photo

 

Want to have some fun? Send an email to someone you dislike in white letters.  Fucking Glorious.

 

 

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Scott Ballew, a long-time Austin resident who now lives in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. Scott works in publishing and his personal life is focused on supporting arts and charitable fundraising.