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In June, my guiding mantra is “great things never came from comfort zones.” This holds true when starting, maintaining and growing through a yoga practice—especially when you enter into the wonderful world of yoga with fear, nervousness or insecurity. I know this feeling all too well. Two and a half years later, I now understand that fear does not need to be an action that holds us back, but rather one that springs us forward.
Before yoga, I was stuck in a toxic, long-term relationship. I was plagued with stress, depression and felt disconnected. My relationship, along with many other life factors, became a weight I was obligated to carry around, leading to an overwhelming feeling of stagnation. I needed to take action, or I knew my life would never improve, and my body would ultimately suffer. My first step towards personal recovery: yoga.
One day, I found a local Iyengar studio in my hometown. Starting with a beginner’s class, I was unsure how I would feel and if I would fit in, especially as a woman with a larger body. Yoga is only for fit people, right? I was worried about how I would appear to others, if I could handle certain poses, if I would fall…or fail?
That first class changed me. After years of neglect and disconnect, being in a yoga class where I was immediately forced to find my connection—even with some discomfort or tension as I settled into new ways of moving my body—was exactly what I needed at that phase in my life. Sometimes we stay right where we are, no matter the pain because we fear change. But in yoga I found change and fear to be synonymous with strength. I faced my fear and guess what? I didn’t fail. I blossomed.
I practiced Iyengar for a few weeks before I found and fell in love with vinyasa, which is all about heat, flow, and heart-racing movement. I have also since practiced Bikram, restorative, Buti and aerial yoga, but my heart is in vinyasa. No matter the yoga class, I have practiced with people of all shapes, sizes, and ages and there was never any judgment. I learned quickly that yoga is not discriminatory. It is for everyone. It is for every body.
Each instructor I’ve encountered since beginning yoga always inspires me with the same message: If we fall, we get back up (and we do fall in yoga, many times); we bend so we don’t break. Fear ultimately has the potential to turn into motivation, rather than a setback. By accepting this truth on the mat, I changed how I handle situations outside of the studio—trusting myself to face what I am afraid of. But this doesn’t mean life, or our yoga practice becomes easier.
Less than a month after finding yoga, I gained the courage to end my relationship. An incredibly significant, scary, and courageous decision that I couldn’t have done without learning what I did from my yoga practice. Don’t get me wrong, there are still moments of discomfort and weakness, but focusing my mindset on embracing fear shifts my ability to handle the hardships that come my way. Don’t be afraid to jump! Let yourself fall, and you’ll find that you do get back up. May your practice lead you to the fearless warrior you are inside.
Summer is officially here, and with that, there are so many fun activities that will motivate you to get outside to stay in shape and strive for those post-quarantine fitness goals. But before you decide to get outside to enjoy some walking, yoga, swimming, or hiking, remember these best practice skincare habits to protect your skin from common skin concerns, such as, sunburns, chafing, and excessive dryness.
Here, board-certified Dermatologist, Dr. Bottiglione, shares some advice to help your skin stay healthy as you embark into the great outdoors.
When going outside, the sun is going to be your biggest culprit for damaging your skin. While the sun boosts benefits like vitamin D production, take notice when your skin is overexposed to the sun’s harmful rays as it becomes dangerous. When overexposed to direct sunlight, the skin is irritated, causing sunburns, dryness, and sensitivity that can increase the chances for wrinkles and skin cancer as we age.
Luckily, staying inside when it’s so pleasant outside is not the only skincare alternative to avoid the sun’s damaging rays. Here are a few simple tips to prep your skin before stepping outside.
Opt to protect your skin with a clinical-grade sunblocking lotion of 15 SPF or higher.
“Anytime you go outside, you need to apply sunscreen to your skin,” advises Dr. B. “Ensure you apply sunscreen to the full body and reapply often. In the morning, after cleansing your face, is the best time to apply.” He recommends a spray for oily skin, or the Dermatologist’s Choice Sunscreen Enhanced Moisturizer for dry to combination skin types that needs a little extra hydration.
The key is the more intentional you are about proactively protecting your summer skin, the healthier it will be. It may sound simple, but your skin will be happier when you take a preventive approach rather than a reactive approach—for example, applying the sunscreen moisturizer before a walk to help to avoid the treatment of a sunburn after. When prepping your bag for the fun day ahead, make sure to add sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water.
Now the real excitement begins! However you decide to get your fitness outdoors, we have the skincare routine you need or a carefree and healthy day.
Deep breath. Like our favorite flow, these skincare tips will keep our mind—and our skin—at ease. If you take your yoga practice outdoors, wear an SPF shirt, and lay your mat under a nicely shaded tree to help shield you from excessive sun exposure.
“Avoiding direct sunlight and wearing protective clothing is smart to protect your skin from sun damage. Even if you are going for a relaxing walk or doing just a few sun salutations. Staying out of the direct sunlight will reduce your risk of sun damage and wrinkles.” - Dr. B
Swimming is one of the best cardio and strength training workouts, while also an enjoyable activity during the summer. Whether you are swimming in open water or laps in the pool, the excess amount of water with exposure to pool chemicals and environmental pollutants can cause skin irritation and dryness. To keep your skin hydrated and protected, Dr. B. recommends applying the Dermatologist’s Choice Pre-Bath Oil to your skin before entering the water. This will seal your skin’s protective barrier to avoid skin irritation from chemicals and debris. He adds, “The Pre-Bath Oil is what I give to all my patients with eczema or dry skin. It is the only thing that will protect and also deeply hydrate the skin.” Just apply this serum before you put on your sunscreen, and you're good to go!
With warm temperatures during the summer months, it’s the perfect time for hiking and exploring the mountainous outdoors. It is essential to take the necessary steps to avoid your skin becoming sunburnt, irritated, or breaking out. “Wearing a hat with a large brim that will shade your face and neck is key. A baseball cap is just not enough for the sun protection you need. After your hike, it is important to clean your face and pores of sweat, dirt, and toxins with Dermatologist’s Choice Glycolic Peel Cleansing Pads to avoid breakouts from occurring,” Dr. B. warns. Keep them in your bag for easy cleansing after a hike.
One of the biggest skin concerns cyclists or runners usually bring to dermatologists is chafing. Even if you’re just cruising along the seaside or taking a cycling class, those tight clothes and friction can cause some intense irritation and redness. “When you have an issue with chafing, you need to protect your skin. You need armor over the skin. Beeswax, for example, is thick to coat the skin and protect it. Another effective option is the hydrating Dermatologist’s Choice Pre-Bath Oil. For best results, moisturize your skin, and then add a piece of clothing to cover it (that is actually like armor),” Dr. B. shares. Are you a runner? Feel free to use this tip too before your next mile or 30.
At the end of your activity, the real results of that skin preparation set in. But sometimes, you need a little extra support afterwards. After any good workout, cleansing off the sweat, dirt, toxins, and irritant is paramount. Dermatologist Choice pH Balanced Cleanser helps to gently but effectively remove sweat, oil, and restore the skin’s natural pH levels.
Did you end up getting a sunburn, or is your skin dry from the elements? Soothe with the Pre-Bath Oil with natural oils like sunflower and jojoba oil for deep hydration and healing.
“Sun damage can manifest in multiple ways. Most often, you will notice a sunburn first, which can then lead to irritated skin—and over time, sun damage increases the appearance of wrinkles.” For safe measure, at night regenerate sun-damaged skin with Dermatologist's Choice Ultra Anti-Aging Cream with 15% non-neutralized glycolic acid to your skin. This powerful dermatology treatment rebuilds the collagen and exfoliates fine lines, sunspots, and acne on the skin. “Do not apply the Ultra Anti-Aging Cream on a sunburn or irritated skin,” Dr. B. shares. These are long-term habits to aid in maintaining your best skin health.
Capture your best skin with everything you need this summer with the Dermatologist’s Choice Skin Kit, and get 20% off your order with code MB20 at www.dermchoice.com.