Waking up to an unsightly blemish, blotches, a new wrinkle (that you swear was not there yesterday), unwanted freckles (which we happen to love, by the way) or flip-flopping from oily to dry skin depending on the season can put a serious crimp in the way we feel about ourselves. We'll even venture a guess to say that something like a major breakout is enough to make some of us cancel that night out with the girls or to stay confined in our cubicle all day.
We are starting a romantic revolution to get all women to embrace their natural beauty and fall back in love with themselves! And that includes your skin.
So let's start by examining why so many of us feel like our complexion is less than "sweet."
"Body skin can be concealed or stuffed into a girdle, whereas facial skin is generally out there for the world to see and judge," said body image expert and "Body Drama" author Nancy Redd, who believes we are all subject to skin drama.
According to Redd, we go from worrying about acne to agonizing over wrinkles, so at any life stage it's easy to say that many -- if not most -- of us are stressed out about our skin and how it looks.
What's interesting though, is that no one cares about the condition of your skin half as much as you do. In fact, it's probably safe to say that most people don't even notice the flaws that may be keeping you from feeling your best.
Yet, something as simple as standing in line at the grocery store can make us feel self-conscious. The countless tabloid covers featuring models and celebrities who use an army of makeup artists, lighting specialists and airbrushing experts to look flawless continue to influence the way we feel about our skin -- even though we know those photos are often not "real."
"Let me tell you," said Redd, "the first time that I had a professional photo shoot with the soft lighting and expert airbrushing, I realized exactly what the problem is: We have no idea what real women look like, so every single normal blemish seems to be the biggest imperfection if we let the media hype into our brain!"
Harvard graduate and UCLA assistant clinical professor of dermatology Dr. Ava Shamban agrees. She said this could account for the 65 percent of women who she thinks are dissatisfied with their skin.
"The media and Hollywood play a tremendous role in how women feel towards their skin. There is an unrealistic portrayal of women in magazines with Photoshop and movies with stage makeup to cover imperfections and create the illusion of perfection, which unfortunately does not exist. Many women come to my office with magazine covers seeking to look like the 'flawless' celebrities who have been airbrushed or Photoshopped," said Shamban.
The main "flaws" that women seek treatment for today include skin imperfections, such as discoloration, skin tone and texture, and aging skin including wrinkles, fine lines around the mouth and crow's feet.
And while women are looking to achieve flawless, clear skin on their faces, their bodies don't go unnoticed either. Shamban said major concerns for the remainder of our selves include cellulite, stretch marks and sagging skin. In essence, women are looking for a beautiful silhouette.
Generally speaking, the older we get, the more money we spend in hopes of finding a miracle treatment -- which of course, doesn't exist. There are, however, a number of simple remedies you can do as part of your normal skin-care routine that will keep your complexion looking its best.
Here are Shamban's top recommendations based on skin type:
Dry skin: It is important to have a regimen that helps to lock in moisture. You can do this by using cream-based products that contain humectants and hyaluronic acid or by using hydrating masks (you can make homemade masks using oatmeal, organic olive oil or avocado oil). Also, don't wash your skin with hot water, as it will only cause further dryness. When it comes to moisturizers, apply it on damp skin for deeper penetration and reapply throughout the day as needed (listen to your skin). A humidifier at home can also work wonders.
Oily skin: Avoid ingredients that contain alcohol, which will completely strip the skin of its essential oils and cause more damage. Instead, use water-based skin-care products, such as lotions or mineral makeup. Products that contain ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acid or beta hydroxy acid are also beneficial for oily skin. A weekly gentle exfoliation (you can make a homemade exfoliant with yogurt and lemon) will help to strip away a layer of dead skin. Use an appropriate cleanser (preferably one that contains glycolic acid) that dissolves the oil sitting in your pores, and a Clarisonic brush is a great tool to cleanse skin and give it an extra boost.
Combination skin: It is best to stick with water-based skin-care products (including water-based makeup or mineral makeup). On the dryer areas of the skin, you can use hyaluronic acid serums for added moisture before applying your daily moisturizer. A gentle exfoliation or facial scrub, in addition to a hydrating mask, is also beneficial in controlling oil production and soothing the skin.
Aging skin: The most important guideline is to protect skin from the sun (with a minimum SPF of 30). Hydrate and lock in moisture for more youthful-looking skin by applying a moisturizer on damp skin for maximum absorption. Additionally, using ingredients that help with collagen stimulation while nourishing the skin can provide a plump, full look. Your dermatologist's office can also advise on laser and/or light treatments to rejuvenate aging skin and eliminate fine lines and wrinkles.
"We all have the capacity to love ourselves as we are, no matter what's on the surface," added Redd. "Generally speaking, however, it's the lovely ladies who make it to 80-plus who finally, truly, 100 percent are able to say, screw it, I love myself, just as I am! Imagine if we all were able to get that type of self confidence from the get-go!"
Want more tips on finding the right products for your skin? Check out these tips!