Our skin is our largest organ in the body and one that we sometimes take for granted because it’s always there, it doesn’t seem to ‘do’ as much as our other organs, however without it, we would just be a really gross looking exposed human walking around… not cute!
I was a teenager in the early 2000’s, so my skin health back then consisted of Seabreeze astringent, Oxy Cleansing Pads and Victoria’s Secret Love Spell lotion. I really had no idea what moisturizer was, and if I stumbled across it in my mom’s makeup, I would just write it off, ‘that’s for old ladies!’ Also, this was back when tanning beds were a weekly occurrence in the winter months and I lived at the pool during the summer.
My mom and grandmother have had the softest, plumpest skin, never seemed to burn from the sun, would easily tan, and had hardly any freckles or moles. Well, I must’ve ended up with all of my Dad’s German genes… I’ll never forget my pediatrician commenting on the mole that I had on the side of my mouth and saying, you know - you’ve got to watch those! I thought they were just what made me unique, not something that I should ‘watch.’ Then after the 10th time a stranger told me I had chocolate on the side of my mouth, I pleaded with my mom, “Can we please have it removed?” She agreed, there were several moles that were distracting that needed to be removed.
Little did I know, those three moles were just the beginning! I grew up in the 90’s, Brittany Spears was popular and all of the girls were competing to see who had the darkest tan. It was a challenge to see who could be the most tan by Spring Break every year - visiting the tanning bed two times a week. Everyone would justify it by saying “Oh - well this way we won’t burn when we get to Florida!” This was way before anyone really knew the real dangers of indoor tanning and skin health.
My outlook on skin health changed completely in 2012…
I was working in an inside sales job, not really loving what I was doing. It was spring and I was wearing a skirt, I crossed my legs and noticed a pink raised blemish on the inside of my thigh. It looked like the end of a pencil eraser, perfecting round! I thought, “hmm, I’ve got over 100 moles but none of them are pink!” I have seen a dermatologist annually since I had pre-cancerous cells removed from my shoulder when I was 20 (and loving the sun). My next appointment was in a few months, so I figured I would just ask the Derm about it then. A few weeks passed and half of it had turned really dark brown. Immediately, my instinct said “Call the doc!”
Sure enough, the doctor scheduled an appointment for the next day to biopsy and found out it was melanoma in-situ. At age 27, I was in the best health of my life, wasn’t drinking or smoking.. and yet hear the “C” word was quite a difficult pill to swallow. I was devestated but also extremely grateful because it was caught SUPER early. “In-situ” means before it gets to the fat/bloodstream - meaning full removal was possible!
It was quite the wake-up call for me… I was working in a job that felt lifeless, living 1,000 miles from home, and not following any of my passions. After the full removal - about a 2 inch deep and 2 inch wide chunk out of my thigh, I started to reevaluate and reprioritize my life. That experience is what actually motivated me to get into wellness! I moved back closer to home and haven’t looked back.
Melanoma and skin cancer awareness mean a lot to me … and I have particiapted in many advocacy events to help spread awareness and support organizations that are funding research and medications.
Surprising facts about Skin Cancer:
Every hour someone dies from melanoma.
Women age 49 and under are more likely to develop melanoma than any other cancer except breast and thyroid cancers.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a proven human carcinogen (aka tanning beds are like street drugs!)
More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined.
People who use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher daily show 24 percent less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily.
Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent.
Melanoma is the fastest-growing cancer in the world, especially in people under 35. It is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25-30.
*Additional stats can be found here.
Here are some way you can get involed:
Miles for Melanoma 5K (actually won 2nd place in my age group in 2014!)
The Big See - more info coming soon!
My morning skin routine
My morning routine starts my day and really sets the tone for the rest of my day. I love starting off with a healthy breakfast and a quiet moment to read and journal. After grounding myself, I move on to my bathroom routine. I start off with exfoliating using Tata Harper’s exfoliating regenerating cleanser with the foreo cleanser tool (love this thing!) Followed by my fave serums, moisturizers and eye cream. I don’t have a very complicated skin care routine - I like to keep it pretty simple. I love Tata Harper, Drunk Elephant, Beauty Counter, and Sunday Riley. I’ll venture off and try other things here and there, but I usually end up going back to these guys. I also really love this amazon find for taking off makeup - Bioderma Sensibio H2O.
Then onto makeup - again simplicity is my thing! I love Tarte and Beauty Counter but I also use NARS, Anastasia, etc. I like to follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to clean products. If a product is maing me break out or stinging my skin, I don’t use it - even thought it may look beautiful on others. It’s all about what works best for YOUR skin.
I cannot live without my Suntegrity 5 in 1 tinted moisturizer! Seriously such a game changer for me. I wanted to be sure I was protecting my skin from the sun but didn’t love the sticky, oily, thick face sunscreens and moisturizers that were out there. They would either sweat off or flake. Suntegrity is a top-notch product and contains certified organic aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber and green tea to help provide hydration and a boost in sun protection. Zinc-oxide not only protects the skin from the damaging UV rays, but may also help soothe skin. Plus it provides mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 30 protection!
My evening skin routine
My evening routine is hit or miss, don’t get me wrong! As much as I would love to be religious with it - like I am in the morning. I don’t always get around to it every night - just keepin’ it real ya’ll! Just a simple swab with my makeup remover is sometimes all I get around to!
When I’m intentional.. I follow the same steps as my morning routine - cleaner + moisturize but I usually will add in a face mask or extra moisturizer for added self-care. I love using my gua sha and jade-roller for depuffing, helping reduce fine lines, and relaxation.
Favorite sun protection products
Moisturizers with sun protection:
Suntegrity - the GOAT. Ya’ll I’m not kidding about this one - highly recommended! If you’re wanting to protect yourself from sun and add a high quality moisterizer to your routine with a pretty glow… this is it! Antioxidants and even protects against blue light!
SuperGoop! - 100% mineral sunscreen - no harmful chemicals
Murad- C-Day moisturizer with SPF 30
Sunscreens: (on the cleaner side)
Coola - light, gentle and sheer - smells like mangos!
Shisheido - invisbile face and body sunscreen
La Roche-Posay - 100% oil-free matte finish, great drug store find! Derm recommended
Beauty Counter - lightweight mineral sunscreen & water resistant
In sun(mary).. hehe.. see what I did there
No matter what your age, it’s imporant to prioritize your skin health. It is truly the one organ that takes on all of the wear and tear of our daily life and SHOWS it. Stress, sun damage, health issues, aging all show up on your skin. The sooner you start taking care of it, the better! And no - I am not a fan of putting artificial toxic chemicals in or on your skin in order to look like a baby face when you’re 90. Aging is beautiful and toxins are bad for you..no matter where they come from. But if you’re a botox believer, go for it! It just ain’t for me!
Happy to share additional details and my experience with various clean products, reach out anytime!
I hope this gives you a good place to start when it comes to protecting your skin!
xoxo - GH