Skincare for the Overbooked and Overwhelmed: Back to the Basics

Overbooked and overwhelmed women in their 30s and 40s often struggle to stick with a skincare regimen. Here's what I tell them when they come to me for skincare advice...

Contributor: Darcy Manning

As a mother of two young girls, I spend a fair amount of time around overbooked and overwhelmed women in their 30s and 40s. I’ve been working in the skincare industry for 13+ years so the topic of skincare inevitably comes up during mom’s nights out, parent socials, and soccer games. The common thread in all of these discussions is that a lot of women, when given the chance to (finally) enjoy some free time, don’t want to spend it trying to wind their way through the maze of skincare information and regimens.

Many give up and do nothing at all with their skincare routine. Others simply default to what they can find in their drugstore or their dermatologist’s office. So here’s what I tell them when they ask for skincare advice (and you don’t need to sit through a kindergarten performance for the information):

#1: Wash Your Face Every Night

Nothing is more important than washing away your makeup and grime from the multitude of environmental stressors of the day. Nighttime is when your skin recharges and rejuvenates so it needs to be clean to maximize that time. Find a simple cleanser and make sure to use it every night. To make the most out of your cleansing routine, look for cleansers that include beneficial ingredients like the adaptogens turmeric and ashwagandha that also help build your skin’s resilience to stress. Clay based cleansers are also great for drawing out impurities.

But most importantly, just do it! Make it a habit and you’ll find you’ll love this part of your day. As tired as I am at night, I actually look forward to rubbing off the remnants of the day and the fresh, clean feeling that comes with it.

#2: Use a Quality Moisturizer

Our skin needs moisture but several factors can dehydrate the skin. Your diet, humidity, and even your overall health can either deplete your skin of moisture or keep it hydrated. Hydrated skin is supple and smooth and hydration can also help your skin heal and revitalize. Don’t be afraid to invest in a quality moisturizer or serum to keep your skin smooth and healthy. Look for moisturizers and serums with peptides, antioxidants and adaptogens and then apply right after cleansing.

#3: Apply Sunscreen Daily

As much as we need our Vitamin D from the sun, we also need to protect ourselves from harmful UV rays. Don’t rely on your foundation or BB cream for that much-needed layer of protection! Use a separate facial sunscreen and apply it every single day. Ideally, you’ll want to use a mineral sunscreen with an SPF of 25 or higher. Mineral sunscreens have come a long way and you can now find products that absorb easily into the skin without leaving any white residue. And remember to definitely get outside. Studies show that spending time outdoors helps improve our moods and has health benefits, both of which benefit your skin, too.

#4: Drink LOTS of Water

Remember how I mentioned hydration? Hydrating your skin from the inside is just as important as hydrating it from the outside. Drinking lots of water will also help to keep your skin looking supple, smooth, and radiant. If your body is dehydrated, your skin will show it! Make sure to drink at least 8 to 10 cups of water per day, and more if you are very active or live in a hot climate. Keeping a water bottle close by and getting into the habit of eating lots of water-rich foods, like cucumbers and watermelon, can also help you meet your hydration needs.

#5: Get Plenty of Rest

Rest for your mind and your body are critical to your skin. Take a mindful moment for yourself during the day, whether through a regular meditation practice or just a few calm breathes to let your mind rest. Meditation can even help you sleep better at night.

Speaking of sleep, signs of missed sleep usually show up on your face and a few nights of poor sleep will take their toll on your skin. Your skin repairs itself naturally overnight but can only do that when you reach the deepest state of sleep. If you’re not logging in enough hours of deep sleep, your skin can’t renew itself like it needs to. This alone can accelerate the aging process and make you look as tired as you feel(!) Make rest a high priority to look and feel youthful for many years to come.

What does your basic skincare routine look like? Share in the comments below!