The Truth About Picking

skin pickingI am a recovering skin picker. My “joke” is that I went to esthetics school because I ran out of stuff to pick out of my own skin. I relapse occasionally, like I did last week when I improperly picked a blackhead and turned it into a nasty mark on my chin. When my acne was at its peak, I struggled not to pick. And I still get frustrated when I get a spot that I can’t seem to let go of.

Skin picking, or dermatillomania, the clinical name for extreme skin picking, can be a serious problem for many people. It can be an annoying problem for even more people. It’s easy to beat yourself up when you succumb to picking. I know from my own personal experience and the experiences of my clients that many people struggle to stop picking their skin.

Picking is more than just wanting to pop a pimple. It can be rooted in causes such as anxiety, depression, stress, boredom, and even anger. Picking a spot can feel like a release, a stress relief, and a feeling of satisfaction. It may give you a temporary high.

I’ve managed to (mostly) conquer my picking with soul-searching, tough love, and some serious skin care. Here’s what I can share about what’s helped me control my picking.

  • Get to the issue behind the picking. When you catch yourself, try to stop and ask yourself what’s really going on. What’s causing you to obsess over this spot? Is it textural? Are you bored? Are you stressed? Are you angry? Just being aware that something else is going on can be a huge help to decoding this habit. As you start to figure out the emotions under your picking, you’ll be able to come up with healthier alternatives.
  • Invest in some solid skin care. The fastest way to stop picking is to stop having stuff to pick. Ultimately, I didn’t conquer my picking habit as much as I conquered my acne. I found that investing in products that worked for me gave me a feeling of control so that I didn’t feel so helpless. And not having the bumps simply removed the temptation.
  • Pick in a healthy way. If I have that bump that’s screaming at me, I make sure to go through my proper picking protocol. Investing my picking time in a method that won’t cause scarring still gives me the satisfaction of doing something about my blemishes, and keeps my mind off further digging.
  • Reward yourself for not picking. Investing in a facial can be a reward for not picking, as well as a deterrent to further picking.  It encourages you to keep your hands off your own pores, as you are spending money to have someone else handle the problem. It also relieves the stress of having that feeling that something is stuck in your skin and needs to be removed.

These tips are not intended to replace the advice of a licensed professional. If you suffer from extreme picking, dermatillomania, trichotillomania, or any other compulsions, help is available. Please reach out if you need help.

 

 

I make a conscious effort to control my picking. Do you struggle? What works for you to stop? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

The Worst Critic

I had an experience last week that drove home a point that I have spent a lot of time thinking about in the last few months.

Tulips near Central Park, I needed some nice shots for this website. So I went out to the park and had a little photo shoot with myself. I posted one of these pictures on my Facebook profile. My friends all loved my picture, and I was flattered to receive several compliments. But even after seeing my friends’ responses, I looked at the photo and realized that I still see only my flaws. I see that I took over 250 pictures that day and deleted over half of them immediately. I photoshopped the three or four that I felt were passable. I also see that I walked into the bathroom the next morning to see that I had a big pimple on my chin and a sheet mark on my face.

I am telling this story, not to fish for compliments or to complain about what I perceive as my Violets near Madison Avenueflaws. I am telling this story because I know I am not the only woman who does this. I notice this all the time in my treatment room. Women come in and immediately start listing all the bad things they see on their skin. And maybe their list is longer because I start off by asking what their concerns are. It’s an invitation to mention every flaw you see when you look in the mirror. But often, I don’t see the flaws they mention- the huge pores or the wrinkles. And I never really know how to respond. I don’t want to belittle my client’s feelings, but I also don’t want to give her more reasons not to see how beautiful she already is. Ultimately, I want to help her feel good about her appearance, and through that, to feel better in general.

 

In Fort Tryon Park, near the CloistersYears ago, I read an interview with Uma Thurman in People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People issue. I think they had asked her something inane, like “What’s it like to be so beautiful?” She stated that when she gets up in the morning, all she sees is her face. Partly I find that humble response refreshing. Someone as beautiful as Uma Thurman would be insufferable if she was always aware of her appearance. But partly, I found it sad. Does she think she’s beautiful at all? Does she look in the mirror and only see the lines around her eyes, or the pimple on her chin?

As someone who works in the beauty industry, I struggle with my role. I got into this business because I loved the transformative power of makeup. I loved it when someone walked a little taller when they felt better about how they looked. But I hate that I also play into a business that can women feel worse about themselves. I want people to believe in themselves, and sometimes I’m afraid I just validate their feelings that they aren’t as beautiful as they want to be.

Join me on my soapbox. What do you think? Are you seeing flaws in the mirror that aren’t noticeable to the rest of the world? Do you see your own beauty, or do you always compare it to someone else’s? Are you your own worst critic?

Speak your mind! Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

 

All photography in this post is mine. All rights reserved.

 

Squeeze in More Time for Skin Care

how to squeeze in more time for skin care Who needs more hours in the day? Between working a full-time job and building my own business on the side, I need to know where I can apply to get an 8 day week or a at least a 28 hour day. And I know that I’m no different from any of my clients. Sub in a family for the business, or finishing a master’s degree, and my clients are as pressed for time as I am. So how do you stay looking your best? I’ve talked about beating stress before, but when will you action these tips? Here are a few tips that I use to multi task.

  • Do your evening skin care earlier in the evening. Everyone has a moment when they walk in the door and either change clothes, drop a bag, or kick off shoes. Wash your face then, and follow-up with your evening routine. This way you guarantee it’s done before you start passing out on the couch.
  • Mask while you work. I wrote this post with a mask on my face. No joke… I tweeted it here. I figured if I wasn’t getting a full night’s sleep, I might as well cheat one while I work, right? Bonus points for wine while you do it. You can also mask during your favorite TV show, if that’s the only down time you have a week, or while you cook dinner.
  • Benefit from shower time. I do enzyme or hydration masks under the steam in the shower. The steam softens the skin so the mask penetrates better and I get an extra boost to my routine. Plus, it’s easy to remove this way.
  • Mix your serums. I like to spike a hydration serum into my treatment serum and get more bang for my buck. The ingredients of both serums will all penetrate, and it saves me a few extra seconds in the morning.
  • Take just a few minutes to breathe deeply. Ever notice that when you’ve been busy and frantic for a long time, it seems like you can’t remember the last time you took a breath? I trick myself into inhaling. I have calming essential oils by my bedside, and right before I turn out the light, I take just a few seconds to inhale deeply. I’m obsessed with these chakra balancing oils. If this tiny practice of self care helps me sleep more soundly at all, then I’ve done wonders for my skin.

Taking time for yourself can be hard. We’re busy, and it’s just too easy to put everyone else first. If you can carve out even five minutes for some self care, you and your skin will benefit. [Tweet this!] If you do it consciously, even that small amount of time will reduce stress. Take that time. You deserve it!

 

 

Speak your mind! What do you do to squeeze in skin care? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

How To Save Your Skin From Stress

tips to stop your stress from showing on your faceNo matter how perfect your skin care routine is, we all hit points in life when we look less than radiant. Often it’s stress that zaps your glow. And the last thing you need when you’re feeling run down and tired from stress is looking like you’re run down and tired.

Stressed skin usually looks dull, and a dull complexion needs three things: exfoliation, hydration, and nourishment. [Tweet this!] Stress causes your body to deplete its vitamin stores, and your skin loses its nutrients first. It’s also more likely to break out as cortisol changes oil production. Here are some of my cheats to revitalize skin that needs extra help.

  • Mask, mask, mask. Facial masks can do just about anything you need for your skin. Fresh Rose Face Mask When my skin is looking dull and tired, I let a mask soak into my skin, even if I just squeeze in a few minutes in the shower. Whether I’m getting an extra shot of vitamins, a bit of exfoliation, or even a dose of hydration, my skin loves the help. Some to try? I love the Fresh Rose Face Mask for hydrating and revitalizing. Another favorite is the Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel for extra exfoliation.

 

  • Brighten with a multi-vitamin serum or moisturizer. If you’re not alreadyiS Clinical Poly Vitamin Serum using a serum that lists vitamin C or niacinamide among its ingredients, get one now. Since your dull complexion is telling you that you’re lacking nutrients, make sure to add as many as you can. Some of my go-to skin care products are the iS Clinical Poly Vitamin Serum, which covers all of your needs with a blend of glycolic acid, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, or the Astara Antioxidant Light Moisturizer, which infuses tons of botanicals and nutrients into one lightweight product.

 

  • Grab a green juice. Finding time to eat healthy can be a challenge, and stress just makes me want to eat brownies. Maybe I’m the only one? Sometimes it’s easier to drink my veggies on the go. Greens have tons of phytonutrients and vitamins, and giving your body this boost will also help your skin get the nourishment it needs.

How do you save your skin when stress takes its toll?

Taking Care of You

 

West Palm Beach sunrisePeople who know me personally know that I have been going through a very difficult time in my life. It started one Friday afternoon in late April when my perfectly constructed world crumbled in a few careless text messages, and it recently culminated in the stifling heat of July. Throughout this time, I’ve became aware of how much I’ve been relying on my beauty rituals to lift my mood. In the midst of tears, sadness, and anger, I’ve been using my crazy beauty obsession as an anchor in my day.

The point of this post is not to compare difficult times, or to belittle your personal experiences, or to throw a pity party for myself. I can point out a million examples of people who are struggling more than me. It’s also not to say that something little is going to take away your stress or grief. I know that it is not easy to take care of yourself when your world seems like it’s falling apart. The point is that there are some little things that you can focus on to pull you through. It’s so easy to say that we don’t have time to take care of ourselves. In times of stress, it’s easy to let these little habits slip. But these little habits are the ones that don’t have to take a long time but can have huge effects on the way you feel about yourself in down times.

These are some little habits that I’ve been relying on to pick my mood up, even if just for a quick minute.

  • Taking a shower and using a shower gel with a fragrance I love. My personal favorites are the Korres Shower Gel in Jasmine  and Japanese Rose. I follow with the matching body butter (either the Jasmine or the Japanese Rose) and take a few minutes to breath in the fragrance. Time needed? Whatever I spend in the shower plus 2 more minutes.
  • Doing a face mask while drinking a glass of red wine. I justify the wine because the resveratrol found in red wine is a potent antioxidant that has been shown to boost the skin’s glow. Double the effect and try a glow-boosting mask while you imbibe.  One of my faves… Astara Green Papaya Nutrient Mask. Time spent? 5-10 minutes, but don’t rush that wine.
  • Making sure that I follow my regular evening routine. Sometimes just managing to do a quick routine makes me feel better, just knowing that my skin will fake what I don’t feel. And performing the same routine is a comforting constant when everything else in life has been flipped upside down. Time needed? No more than 3 minutes.
  • Trying a little strategic makeup. Light concealer around the eyes hides dark circles from sleepless nights. Bright pink blush gives a little life to a dull complexion. A shimmery highlight cream fakes the glow I know I don’t have. Hiding behind a few cosmetic products at least gives me a little relief from the “You look so tired” and “What’s wrong” comments that I don’t have the energy to ward off. Time needed? 5 minutes.

Finding small pampering moments for yourself won’t put more money in your checking account or make the kids stop screaming. But finding two to five minutes to maintain a beauty ritual can boost self-esteem and confidence, as well as temporarily lifting your mood. I speak from personal experience when I say that I know how hard it can be to take care of yourself, but I also know how much it can help. Build healthy habits now that you can lean on in tough times. If your tough time is now, be sure to take some time and effort to take care of yourself.