The Skin You’re In
Keeping it healthy requires routine
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This year I turned 40. The physical, emotional and cultural implications of turning 40 are exciting . . . and challenging. As women, we are bombarded with images of how we should look: tight, cellulite-free thighs, and dewy skin. But, I have been horrible to my skin. I recently joked to a friend that I needed a pick to chisel off all the makeup I’ve slept in; I’ve substituted coffee for the water I’m supposed to drink; and I’ve used nothing but (gasp) soap and water to cleanse. And sunscreen . . .
Living in a desert environment adds to the challenges of caring for my skin. I spend the winters in Palm Springs, summers in Sun Valley. Both climates shamelessly encourage my sun-drenched, wind-blown, al fresco lifestyle. Needless to say, every drop of moisture is sucked out of my face. “No worries,” I usually say, and slap on some drugstore moisturizer. However, now I’m 40. Now it’s time to grow up and take care of the skin that’s been so good to me.
“It’s never too late to start taking good care of your skin,” says Jeannie Bell of Luminescence in Ketchum. “What’s more, it’s vital in the Wood River Valley’s high-desert environment.”
“I see women on the ski mountain,” Bell continues. “They are amazing athletes—they take care of their bodies—but they love the sun. Their generation was told the sun was healthy and good for you. But this environment destroys the skin.”
Jennifer Edmonds of Jennifer’s of Australia agrees: “People don’t realize how dehydrated their skin gets up here.”
Many local skin care specialists concur on the possible complications the high-desert climate poses: “It increases the potential for hyperpigmentation, rosacea, and the initial stages of skin cancer,” says Ali Sherbine, of Sister Salon in Bellevue.
Furthermore, in an outdoorsy area where looking as natural as possible seems to go with the turf, many women and men don’t take the time to engage in a skin care regimen that can combat the effects of this environment. I have, however, discovered that proper skin care has to be neither expensive nor a hassle.
“The secret to good skin,” says Nancy Kelly of 24-7 Skin Spa in Ketchum, “is staying consistent—you will see improvement in your skin in as little as seven days with a regular skin care routine.”
While Kelly maintains that eating well, reducing stress, and exercise all contribute to excellent skin health, most of the Valley’s estheticians recommend a four-step daily course of action: exfoliation, appropriate cleansing, hydration, and a liberal application of sunblock.
To combat extreme dryness, Hailey makeup artist Noelle Hodge-Willett recommends a mild daily exfoliate to buff off dead skin and regenerate new cell growth. Next, all agree that using the right cleanser is crucial in a dry environment.
“Soap strips the skin of its appropriate ph levels,” says Juanita Young of Bel Esprit in Ketchum.
Edmonds explains further: “Many soaps are made with fats and waxes. They don’t dissolve impurities, and they make your face like concrete, which makes living in a dry climate even more of a challenge for your skin.”
Bell agrees that the right cleanser is really important: “If you use a cleanser that dries [over-the-counter soaps or products that contain alcohol], you’ve done the first fundamental thing wrong.
Never use alcohol. It strips the skin.” >>>