I was just in the bathroom attending to my skincare routine, which consists of daily cleansing and serum treatment application both morning and at night, when I noticed that the fingers on my right hand have been eczema free for months now. If you saw them, you would never know that I even suffer from random eczema breakouts or that the dry cracked skin that once lined the web of the two middle fingers sometimes hurt so much I had to distract my thoughts so that I could focus on other things. Treating eczema is a process. It doesn’t go away overnight the way a pimple sometimes does.
Several months ago I dedicated myself to drinking water with a splash of ACV every morning before anything else and rubbing castor oil on the parts of my skin where eczema was raging every single night before bed. I did that for a couple of months. And I saw changes. I kept seeing changes until one day I nearly forgot why I was following this regimen.
When the things I do to treat my issues, physically, mentally or emotionally actually work, I sometimes forget to celebrate that. There is so much that is broken in our world right now that it can be overwhelming, not to mention depressing and useless to take stock of it all. I look at myself in the mirror each day and try to be gentle and positive with myself in my varying degrees of progress. I try not to be upset when fall back, eat too much sugar, oversleep or lose my temper over something small because underneath it all I’m actually anxious and pent up and not addressing those root causes.
Instead, I try to focus on doing things I know what will make a difference. I have to remember how powerful that is. It’s proactive and loving and self-affirming to care for yourself. And I’m all about using social media and online resources to find those people who have similar challenges and see chat has worked for them and then intuitively gauge my capacity and or willingness to try it myself. I’m not saying the ACV and castor oil will work for everyone’s eczema. That’s not even what this post it about. But I learned about it online and I tried it because I just knew I had to try something. I had to tune in to what my body was telling me.
Drinking water everyday when my skin is starting feel inflamed and acne starts popping up works for me. Going for walks in nature to get my blood flowing and clear head works for me. Dancing as a form of exercise and going to therapy works for me. I actually made a video for my YT Channel last week on the theme of surviving 2021. I’m certain I’ll be carrying a lot of those things over into 2021 and adding more along the way.
A focus on what works and also showing gratitude for having anything in your life that you can rely on to work for you when you need it is a bigger priority these days than it ever was. So when I look at the fingers on my right hand, I have to remind myself to be grateful that they are smooth, blemish free and pain free because I committed to healing myself. I was vigilant, patient, consistent and determined.
Being forced to shelter in place has also forced many of to learn about how to care for ourselves in a whole new way. Take stock of what works, what’s been serving you, and honor it.
I visited my first Ulta Beauty this weekend on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. This is only special because I’d started to feel like Ulta Beauty was only the province of those who live upstate, out of State or in Queens. LOL! I did peep one when I was in Philly but I was in the car with my husband and I know if I had asked him to double back so I could go to Ulta, he would have just given me a blank stare and kept driving. LOL!
I didn’t even know there was one in Manhattan until I Googled it last week. It is literally one door down from a Sephora in a neighborhood I used to frequent when I was in high school.
It is huge. It is bright. And it has brands I have only ever seen before online, like Morphe, Colourpop, Flesh, Skinfood, Dose of Colors and more. But I didn’t really go crazy. I got a stick foundation I’ve been curious about, an eye shadow, a skincare item and like three sheet masks. Truthfully, I’ve been more skincare obsessed than ever lately, particularly since my skin has been experiencing the worst hormonal acne ever. I’ve just been applying Bentonite clay masks, toning, moisturizing and trying to cut down on too much make-up, which has been a struggle because I love putting on make-up.
It is good to know there’s an Ulta Beauty I can go to if I need to check out a new brand that only gets released there. But overall I sometimes feel like the beauty market is flooded with hundreds of products from a multitude of brands, both new and established that all claim to do the same thing and I’m like, how do you know what really works? All the brand reps are gonna tell you that their product is better than the next. I’m a packaging junkie so I get pulled in easily by color, and lettering and shiny, sexy containers. But I also read and watch reviews voraciously because it’s the only way I can narrow things down for myself.
I also have a pretty good idea what I need and don’t need. I don’t need any more lipsticks or glosses at the moment. I’m presently sheet mask obsessed and sheet masks are relatively cheap so I can stock up without too much guilt.
My haul was modest, though still pricey but I’m happy with it because it’s stuff I love as well as new stuff I’ve wanted to try for a while. So some Youtube reviews are on the way. Check out my latest video on three of my favorite Black owned bath and body care products.
I was resistant to Korean skincare for a while because I felt like, how can a people so fair have skincare rituals that would benefit melanated skin? But after visiting the Korean Spa so many times, I started to notice that Korean skincare is onto something. I mean do you ever look at Korean women’s skin? They be on their skincare game! And it’s not that complicated. It’s just that they do what they do on the regular. They treat it like a job. And I really like that. I mean just the fact that Korean Spas are such a thing tells you that they dedicate more time to being purposefully pampering to their whole bodies in the East than we do here.
Sheet masks are a craze for a reason. They are a very superficial version of a more involved process of skincare that Korean women do every day. But there are some sheet masks that I absolutely love for my skin, particularly those made my Dr. Jart,Boscia and It’s Skin and I Dew Care. I generally go for the ones with hydrating, pore minimizing and detoxifying benefits.
In America, we’re so preoccupied with obsessions and crazes and instant gratification. A lot of the time, I want something to treat whatever is bothering me immediately, otherwise I’m like, this shit don’t work! But in my skincare routine, which borrows from Korean skincare, I’ve learned that you have to stick with something for a while before you see results and whatever works overnight may not be the best thing for your skin in the long run.
I try to use products with the most natural ingredients I can find, though I will say that even natural things can harm you, so I no longer place all my faith in that something has to all natural ingredients in it in order for it to be beneficial.
There are a couple of books I want to read on Korean skincare this summer and then I just want to look into understanding the skin as an organ in general. I met a man recently who explained to me that collagen, a protein that our bodies naturally produce, and a skincare ingredient most of us are familiar with, is the underlying foundation which acts as a scaffolding to maintain the condition of our skin. The nerd in me was fascinated. Also the vain narcissist. LOL! So I need to learn more about collagen production as well.
As an American born woman, I don’t know if I can ever completely curb my desire for fast results but I do know that when I try something for a while and see it working, I’m more likely to keep doing it without fail. And the thing is, I really enjoy it. And if you can do anything purposefully and religiously in a joyful way, you’re already benefiting greatly.