Disclaimer: A close-up photo of Carol's face without glasses as well as a candid discussion of age are contained within this post. Viewer discretion is advised.
This past April, I turned 36 years old. While 36 can hardly be counted as old, it's certainly hard to think of it as young (let's be real - I'm only 4 quick years short of 40, after all) and thoughts of my advancing age were certainly with me as I passed by and through that milestone. I'm fortunate in that I look younger than I actually am. This is something I hated when I was a teenager (no 17 year-old likes being mistaken for 13) - except when playing that carnival game where the barker has to guess your age. You know the one I mean? Suffice it to say, I always won that one. People used to tell me then, "you'll appreciate your youthful looks when you're older."
Their predictions have come to pass. I do appreciate my youthful looks. When I bemoaned the fact that I was turning 36 this year, friends were kind enough to assure me that I could pass for a woman in her 20s. I didn't really believe them (I thought they were just being nice) until my younger sister and brother (who actually is in his 20s) confirmed that they agreed (siblings can be pretty ruthless).
If I actually do look as young as they claim (some days I believe them and other days I really don't) I attribute it to my skin, and in regards to that specifically, three things: 1) my Asian genes, 2) good skincare, and 3) sunblock.
Having grown up under the southern California sun can be brutal and back in the late '70s and '80s of my childhood, sunblock was almost totally eschewed for tanning oils (anyone else remember that stuff?). I remember regularly getting sunburnt when swimming at my friends' homes during the summers, because people just didn't seem to think about sunblock a whole lot back then. In fact, I blame the (albeit minor) sun damage on my face to the fact that my mom never thought a whole lot about sunblock. This despite the fact that she thought about skincare a whole lot - so much so that when she saw that my sister and I were using Noxzema cleansers (we thought that tingling sensation meant it was really cleaning our skin), she went out and bought us an Estee Lauder cleanser and admonished us, saying, "You only have one skin. Make sure you take care of it."
I think I was 13 at the time.
This stuck with me as I got older, and by the time I graduated from college, I had begun regularly using a cleanser, eye cream, softener, and moisturizer from Shiseido's skincare line (I still use Shiseido products though not the same ones I used when I was in college). But it wasn't until I was 22 years old that a colleague of mine (I was teaching at the time) convinced me it was a good idea to start using a daily sunblock. I'm grateful to her that she started me on this path, because I do think that it's helped keep my skin younger looking, and only regret not having started protecting my skin from the sun at a younger age.
When I say "daily sunblock," I mean, "daily sunblock." Applying sunblock is part of my morning skincare routine, and I put it on whether it's clear and sunny or pouring rain. I even wore it during snow storms, over the years I lived in the Northeast. I have no idea if it was at all necessary during those days (probably not), but it's a habit and one I'm thankful for, as it means it's very likely that I am wearing sunblock on those days when it's working hard on my skin's behalf. So here I am, just a couple weeks ago, aged 36 years old, with only eye& eyebrow make-up on (I don't usually wear any foundations or tinted moisturizers):
I'm sure things like two pregnancies and smiling a lot (drat those facial expressions) have contributed to my skin's aging. I'm also fairly certain that my skin looks a lot better when I've been getting plenty of sleep (something in low supply for me in the last few months) and drinking lots of water. But still, with the summer sun beginning to beat down on us, I'm grateful for the sunblock I reach for every morning, and would highly recommend it to others as well. If you're looking for one to add to your morning routine, here are some to try:
1. Shiseido Ultimate Skin Protection for Face and Body, SPF 60 (This is my daily - one bottle lasts forever. When applied to just the face, a bottle can last for over a year...)
2. Shiseido Ultimate Skin Protection Stick Foundation, SPF 35 (unlike the first one, this stick runs down super fast. However, it's handy to have in your purse for reapplications on those long outdoor-days)
3. La Mer 'The SPF Fluid Tint,' SPF 18 (I love a high SPF, so when I do wear this, I almost always have it layered over my SPF 60 - I don't know that it's necessary, but like I said, habit...)
4. Kiehl's Vital Sun Protection, SPF 40 (for kids) and SPF 30 (for adults) - good for those days when you're planning to be active (will protect for up to 80 minutes, in the water)
5. Kiehl's Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+ (haven't tried this one, but I've had lots of good experiences with Kiehl's products, so imagine this would be similar)
6. Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunblock Stick, SPF 60 (I bought this when Kate was a baby and use it now for myself too. Cheaper than the Shiseido stick version, higher SPF, and feels nice and non-greasy on the skin)
What about you? Do you wear a daily sunblock? And if so, which ones? If not, is it something you'd consider doing? Are you concerned about aging or is it something you don't think much about? Let us know, below!