(This video is from a fun commercial I acted and modeled in for Pumpkin & Spice nighttime skincare.)
As a teenager, I had such bad acne that I went on Accutane, which could be unhealthy long-term, just to try to heal my skin. Miss USA Kristen Dalton had terrible cystic acne as a teenager too, so I suppose I’m in good company.
Fortunately, my skin gained some clarity in college when I started employing tips from my brother’s then-girlfriend, who had worked for Laura Mercier, and it totally healed when I went on The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin after college in Kansas City and, simultaneously, started doing a variety of homemade masks with my then-roommate Sophie, who also drilled into me tip #2 (which had been a game changer for her). Though I haven’t kept up #TheMakersDiet perfectly, I have found some of its tenets to be crucial for my ongoing skin health.
Once I started acting in commercials in Los Angeles, I thought it would be an honor if I could model skincare products, but I wasn’t sure if my skin was good enough for that. Still, I decided to apply. After all, I was feeling challenged to do plenty of other things that I had previously not felt worthy, confident or otherwise "enough” to do, so why not add to the list and try something else I felt that way about?
I was starting to believe that maybe anything really is possible through Christ.
Well, God has healed my skin to the point that apparently it is good enough to model skincare. Thank You, Lord! :)
From along the way, here’s my Seven Skincare Secrets :)
1. Look to the Lord. The Word says that when we look to Him in worship, our faces become radiant! As I shared in my “Radiant Light” post, I have actually had an experience in which I came out of worship and people commented that my face was literally glowing! the Bible is literally (and philosophically, poetically, and figuratively) true.
2. Sack the sugar. This is the tip that has made the biggest difference for me. Sugar may be one of the most delicious and common food elements, but its effects on skin is anything but sweet. Sugar causes inflammation, which leads to acne (pimples, breakouts) and breaks down collagen (leading to fine lines and wrinkles). I still eat a minimal amount of refined white sugar, but I have mostly removed it from my lifestyle and replaced it with stevia, raw honey, fruits, and other sweet-tooth satisfiers that are both yummy and healthy.
3. Take in what builds you up. If sugar breaks down your skin, protein builds it up, so I do my best to eat and drink a variety of bovine, poultry, eggs, bean, nut, dairy and lentil sources of protein, as well as bone broth, which has both protein and collagen, and fish, which has not only protein but also healthy oils. Also, I eat as many veggies as possible because they are full of nutrients that help give skin what it needs. As stated in the UK’s Telegraph, “Researchers from the University of St. Andrews and the University of Newcastle found that women who eat more fresh produce have a healthier and more attractive glow than those who eat less — or don’t eat any at all.” (Note: I was originally trying to find a study
4. Sabbath is not a suggestion. Stress and lack of sleep can make anyone’s skin look less than stellar, but for busy people facing plenty of challenges, these issues can be nearly impossible to magically fix or immediately quit. That’s why it’s critical to take a day every week to set aside stressors, catch up on sleep and do what recharges you. Last week, when I was low on sleep and my stress level was higher, my skin wasn’t looking as bright and plump as at other times. But after Anthony and I took Saturday (which day isn’t important; just setting one is) to rest, recharge, get spiritually fed without leading (which looks for me like listening to sermons while doing something easy with my hands, like coloring or washing dishes), and not do any job-work or discuss anything stress-inducing, I noticed that either that night or the following morning, my skin looked healthy again. Sabbath is essential and restorative.
5. Good oils versus bad oils. When we have unhealthy boundaries, we let the bad in and keep the good out, as described in the wise book, Boundaries, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Also, I have found that, at least when it comes to skin, if we shut out the good, we will start auto-producing the bad, and then we have a downward spiral. Such is the case with oils. Growing up, I had always thought that my skin was oily, but it turns out that it’s actually dry. It was simply producing bad oils in attempt to moisturize itself. Once I started using a gentle moisturizing cleanser and got consistent with my lotion, the oils decreased. Also, I started working on the opposite side to continue removing any oils my skin did produce by sleeping on a new pillowcase every other night (flipping sides in between to have a new surface nightly) and making sure to sleep with my hair away from my face. Next level, it’s gotten even better since adding eye cream and oils like olive and grapeseed to my bedtime “routine” (in quotes because it’s sporadic, but I hope to get more regular with it again). Note: Some people also use coconut oil for this but I have found that it its thickness clogs the pores on my face. However, I love to wash my body (and sometimes my face) with homemade coconut-sugar scrub; let me know if you’d be interested in buying some!
6. “Stay out of sin and sun.” This was the quote of a 30-something girl I met at International House of Prayer - Kansas City who looked about 10 years younger than her age. On the sin side, I will tell you that ongoing fear and held-in anger both are awful for skin, but faith and forgiveness help release your skin — and soul — into youthfulness, joy and peace. On the more physical-slash-tactile side, the sun’s rays are one of the most common reasons for premature aging. The sun is good for us in other ways, which is why I recommend sunscreen — ideally one that is more organic than synthetic and is mineral-based. I have noticed that my skin does better with sun plus sunscreen than with no sun at all. So actually, I would modify her quote to say, “Stay out of sin, and wear sunscreen.”
7. Exfoliate often. Whether you use a coconut-sugar scrub like mine, or another oil-based scrub like this one from Pumpkin & Spice (which I have been using frequently as of late), get yourself some kind of weekly or bi-weekly exfoliation routine. I especially love how my skin eats up oils after exfoliation and feels so silky-smooth.
Bonus tip (I couldn’t call it "eight skincare secrets" because, where’s the alliteration in that?): Get steamy. Steam works wonders for your skin! I have sometimes held my face over a pot of nearly-boiling water (which is a little scary if you’re concerned it’s about to start rolling and splashing you with scalding hot liquid) but my favorite way to steam my skin is in a hot bathtub. When the mirrors get all foggy and you’re not quite sure how much you’re wet from sweat versus water, you’re doing it right :) Steam opens up pores and helps them get cleansed deeply. Finish with a cold rinse to tighten the skin and close the pores (plus the cold rinse is great for your hair). To be honest, I don’t do the cold rinse every time, because often, I just want to go to bed after bathing and the cold rinse kind of wakes me up. But going from hot to cold is great for your skin and immunity, so I’d recommend it, when you feel like you can handle it.
Be kind to yourself. And to others. (And, above all, to Jesus, because He’s always kind to you.)
I hope these tips are helpful for you. However, I’m sure there’s plenty of great guidance — and products! — I missed, so please let me know your favorite skincare hacks and go-to products in the comments.
Because “skincare secrets” should not be kept a secret.
Note: Though I did a paid commercial for Pumpkin & Spice, this post is not an ad and it is not sponsored. This post is of my personal perspective and experience.