Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'm no doctor, but maybe I can help.

It's amazing to me how many people confuse my job title, esthetician, with one of an anesthesiologist.  Right away, I am typically asked how long it took me to get my degree.  You should see the look on their faces when I tell them I finished up in about 6 months.  I let them worry for a split second, then explain that I'm an esthetician, which is a skin care specialist, and not a physician.

I have learned a great deal about the skin care industry. I've worked for many years in the spa atmosphere, and now most recently I've moved to the medical side of esthetics, working for a dermatologist.  I have been getting several requests to post good, age defying skin care tips in my blog, so here is some of my best advice. The most important thing I have learned is that your skin care regimen does not have to be complicated, or contain 16 different steps. You will get much better results by being very consistent with a simple, basic regimen like the one I've posted below.

1. Wash your face every night, no exceptions. Use a gentle cleanser, and luke warm water.  Dirt, bacteria, and makeup left on overnight can irritate skin, clog pores, and trigger breakouts. If you are in your 30s or younger, wash your face in the morning as well.  Once in your 40s, oil production dips with hormonal changes, so it may dry out your skin to wash both morning and night.

Eau Thermale Avene : Extremely Gentle Cleanser for Intolerant Skin
Avene extremely gentle cleanser for intolerant skin.  Excellent for all skin types.

2. Use a moisturizer with SPF (that block both UVA and UVB rays) every morning, and a good hydrating cream at night. Even 10 minutes of daily exposure to UVA "aging" rays can cause changes that lead to wrinkles and sunspots in as few as 12 weeks.

Perfect for daily moisture and SPF protection.
Pevonia Botanica Age-Defying Marine Collagen Cream
Pevonia Marine Collagen Cream makes an excellent night cream.

3. Exfoliate twice weekly. There are 2 different kinds to choose from.  You can use a manual exfoliant (like a cleanser with gentle exfoliating beads) or you could choose a chemical exfoliant (like an enzyme that is applied like a mask, and left on for about 10 minutes).

Gentle Cream Exfoliant
Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant. Affordable and hydrating.

You don't have to buy the most expensive products, or go under the knife of a plastic surgeon to improve the look and health of your skin.  If you do opt for plastic surgery, please be sure that there is an anesthesiologist, and not an esthetician, on hand to put you under.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Glam or Ma'am?

Don't you love when magazine companies send you one or two free copies of their publication in hopes that you will buy a subscription?  I'm a sucker for a freebie, and an even bigger sucker for a juicy read. I used to get trials from cute shopping and style magazines like LUCKY, IN STYLE or GLAMOUR. At some point those free trials switched from "glam" to "ma'am" mags.  I now receive titles like PREVENTION, WOMAN'S DAY, and most recently one called MORE. I usually chuck these in the trash immediately. I think that I'm afraid if I actually flip through one of them, I might find out I have more in common with the topics and styles inside them than I willing to admit.

Last week, a free copy of the magazine titled MORE came addressed to me.  Hmm... MORE.  More fashion?  More beauty tips?  More insight?  I like more.  Maybe this will be good. Michelle Obama was on the front cover, which did make me a little fearful that this was once again a magazine for mature ladies. But she is the First Lady, and she does have a keen fashion sense, so I got tricked into flipping through it.  The first several pages were big, bright advertisements laid out beautifully just like all the young, hip magazines have.  OPI, Cover Girl, L'Oreal.  Love them all.  This was promising.  I was going in for more MORE.

The first article I set out to read was titled "How To Let Go of Wanting to Look Young".  Oh no.  Here it comes. It's going to tell me to dress more conservatively after 40.  It's going to tell me to walk every day, and lift weights moderately to help my bones from becoming brittle.  It's going to tell me to (gasp) cut my hair shoulder length or shorter. I wanted to smack the magazine closed before having to endure any of this, but the beautiful woman pictured at the top got my attention. It was a split shot of her as a professional ballerina at 20, and then today in her 50's.  I have to admit, she was beautiful in both frames. So I read on.

In this article, psychologist Vivian Diller (ex ballerina) talks about why even very confident women are thrown when they start to see signs of aging.  She calls this an Uh-Oh moment (goes right along with Oprah's Ah-Ha moment). These changes reach down to a place more deep than just outward appearance. It makes women wonder what their future holds, and who they are as a woman. This can cause one to panic, and to try to fix the outward signs of her aging, so that she will still know who she is. Once you have your Uh-Oh moment, let yourself feel sad about the loss, then move on. If you don't go through this, you can't open up to the possibilities of what you may become. After all, we're not talking about the next 20 years anymore.  We're talking about the next 40 years.

I liked this article very much.  O.K., I liked the entire magazine. I may pick up a copy next month as well, and see where it goes. Maybe this can be my first step into getting over my Uh-Oh moment (which has actually been an Uh-Oh year, really).

In the meantime, even though I don't get free trial magazines from those publications geared towards the twenty/thirty something women, I still buy all the subscriptions.  I can make them send it to me, dammit.  How's that for graceful?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Still Doing It!

It's Friday night, and date night. I'm proud that we are in our forties and still go on date nights. We have been really good about this, even when our kids were younger. Back then it meant setting up a babysitter, getting dinner ready for the kids and the sitter, making sure all pajamas were clean and laid out and finally showering myself and trying to look a little less "mom-like". It sometimes seemed like more trouble that it was worth, but now I can see that it was so important and worthwhile. Our children are on loan to us for 18 years or so. That is really just a small part of what I hope will be a good 50 to 60 year marriage. While the kids are young, it can be very easy to focus only on the parenting and nurturing of the children, and neglect to nurture the relationship with each other.

Coming up with date night ideas isn't easy after 20 years. Thank goodness we are both major foodies and we both love a nice cocktail. A good meal, and a few drinks is usually a perfect date night for both of us. Today, however, my husband let me know before he went to work that he is "ready for some fun".  I'm not exactly sure what this means. Should I be planning a scavenger hunt? Is he ready to go clubbing? Does this mean it's time for me to put out? I thought date night would be less work now that the kids are older.  Then again, it's never a good idea to stop working on your relationship.  I don't know what we'll end up doing, but at least we're still doing it.

UPDATE*****  So it was so cold and rainy on Friday night, it was hard to come up with a good plan for "fun".  I decided to take hubby to a tiny little restaurant/bar in El Dorado Hills called "Sauce'd".  The atmosphere was great, they had a fire in the fireplace, we sat and chatted on black leather couches and had a delicious pizza.  They also have a fabulously fun cocktail menu, and they were soooo good. Great little spot!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wait... when did I become middle aged?

Well, hi.  My name is Tricia and I am 41 years old.  This is my first ever blog entry.  I have been following and reading different types of blogs for some time now.  I find people, and their ideas so interesting.  Most of the blogs I follow are written by clever young twenty/thirty-something year olds, just beginning their journey through life.  I thought it might be interesting and somewhat entertaining to blog the life of someone heading into her middle aged years... and trying to do it gracefully.

This is not an easy thing to do.  I didn't wake up one day and feel older, or ready for middle age at all.  When I pass a mirror, I am always a little surprised at who I see in the reflection.  I expect it will still be that fresh faced girl, far from perfect, but at least perfectly young.  Wrinkles crept up on me. The hair on my head is graying and thinning, while obnoxious thick hair grows in places I had never imagined.  Gravity is no friend to any of my parts.  And while I still consider myself mainly a stay at home mom, I do have a very part time job in the beauty industry as an esthetician.  I'm sure being in this industry makes me more critical of myself, and of my appearance. The physical part of aging sometimes leaves me feeling defeated.

That being said, I know now at 41, that I am wiser.   I know that I understand, and appreciate things more completely.  I know how to love, and how to be loved in return.  I know that I am so close to accomplishing what is, in my mind, the best thing anyone can accomplish.  I am raising two of the most amazing kids, who have already shown signs that they will be productive and compassionate human beings.  I have a daughter who is a senior in high school, and a son who is a sophomore.  I am not done parenting them yet, but I am so proud of the people they are today.  My next challenge will be learning to let them fly on their own.  I can't believe that day is almost here.  This is going to be so hard for me.  But I can do it.  And I will keep trying to do it gracefully...