skinThe other night as I was washing my face and getting ready for bed, I looked at myself in the mirror and was suddenly horrified over how old and haggard my face looks. For the first time in a long time, my complexion is dull and blah. I'm starting to get a little bit of loose skin around my eyes. And I just don't look, well -- in my 20s anymore.

And even though I know very well that the reason I don't look like I'm in my 20s is because I'm 35, I still don't like the idea of looking 35, you know?

What's really weird is that as early as two years ago, I really could've passed for a woman under 30 (or at least I thought so).

And based on how much rougher my appearance has gotten over the time span of a couple years, I think I know what my problem is. I stopped being diligent with my skin care routine.

You see, back in the day, I did the whole spa party biz thing. I was really "in the know" when it came to how to successfully take care of my skin so I don't wind up looking like the inside of an old catcher's mitt in my elder years. And when I stuck to a strict beauty routine, my skin literally glowed. It looked healthy, fresh, and youthful.

And I never should've slacked on it. Ever. And as of now, I'm starting to back up again and making sure I take good care of my skin in the hopes that I'll get the glow back and won't regret taking a couple years off.

Trust me, if you haven't gotten into a good skin care regime yet, you need to do it now. Like RIGHT now.

Here are nine things you need to start doing right away so your skin will thank you later.

  1. Pick a skin care line -- And stick with it when you do. Each line's products are made to work together, so it's a good idea to stick with a brand instead of mixing and matching too much. I've always gotten better results when I stay with one line.
  2. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate -- If you aren't using a mild scrub once or twice a week, then you have dead skin cells building up a layer of ick on your face. The longer you go without exfoliating, the more the layer grows. Ew. And at least once a month, use a deeper exfoliate, like microdermabrasion, to reveal fresh, new skin cells.
  3. Use toner -- Toner does more than get rid of excess dirt and makeup your cleanser left behind. It also balances out the pH level of your skin, which makes it easier to absorb moisturizers, anti-aging creams, and the like.
  4. Moisturize twice a day -- OMG. If you are washing your face and not applying moisturizer afterwards, you're basically asking for your skin to dry up like a raisin. Even if you don't think you need it, you do. And the older you get, the more you need.
  5. Invest in a good eye cream -- Even if you aren't keen on using other anti-aging products, get yourself an eye cream and apply it every night before bed religiously. The skin around your eyes is the first place you show signs of aging, and it needs moisture and regeneration just as much as the rest of your face, if not more.
  6. Steam your face regularly -- Whether you use an actual steamer or just run the hot shower in your bathroom, steaming opens up your pores so toxins and impurities can be released.
  7. Clean up your diet -- Believe it or not, simply choosing whole, healthy foods can have an impact on your skin's radiance. You can never eat too many fruits and veggies!
  8. Up your vitamin intake -- Something as simple as taking vitamins C and E supplements can have just as big a benefit on your skin outside as they do for your whole body inside.
  9. Get out of the house or office -- Oxygen is essential to keeping your skin looking beautiful, and without enough of it, skin cells start to die. It can be so tough, especially in the winter months, to get outside, but by venturing out even for 20 minutes a few times a week, you'll notice a difference in the mirror.

What is your current skin care routine?

 

Image via Mary Fischer