This month my editor at Bottom Line (Margie) and I were exchanging ideas for my next blog topic when our conversation moved to our favorite subject: our new puppies! This past July, I brought home two—a golden retriever named Teddy and a border collie named Luigi. Later in the summer, Margie joined the fun when she got her standard poodle, Taffy. Since then, we have been exchanging tips and ideas and mostly funny stories about how exhausting-yet-fulfilling this experience is for us. We both agree that we do some pretty crazy things for our puppies.

That conversation made me change direction on my blog idea and move towards this topic. I think most of us have done some pretty outrageous things in the name of beauty, too. Today, I’d like to share some things that I have heard about and tried myself and explore if they actually do help.

Sleeping in Sunglasses

I still laugh whenever I picture this in my mind. My sister-in-law used to sleep in a large pair of sunglasses (picture Jackie O-style) because she didn’t want to roll over onto her face and cause wrinkles during her sleep. Her husband would share stories like this (and others) during holiday gatherings and have the family howling with laughter. Was she onto something?

Actually…yes! Studies show that sleeping position can affect the formation of wrinkles. When you sleep on your side, you apply pressure to the facial muscles, skin and underlying collagen. Over time this leads to a breakdown in collagen and more wrinkling. The same can be said for any repetitive motion or pressure in the facial area such as smoking or squinting. Bottom line: The best sleeping position for anti-aging is on your back.

Running Around with the Deer

While I’m on the subject of my zany sister-in-law, I need to share one more story. She was a school teacher with five children and very little time for herself. She is a slender woman—a result of excellent genes and a determination to keep her figure. Each morning before school, around 6:00 am, she would hang her laundry out to dry in the back yard. The property was large and rural, about two acres, and there were always deer hanging around on the property. She would hang a few items of clothing and then take a lap around the yard. It was not like jogging five miles before work, but she got in about four or five bursts of running during this morning chore…while the local deer looking on with puzzled expressions.

Was this unconventional approach to exercise having any positive impact? Again, this one sounds a little silly, but these short bursts of activity are just as good for your health as an extended session. Many studies have proven that short, intense bursts of energy yield great benefits. In addition, she expended energy and stretched her muscles by hanging her laundry instead of putting it into the dryer. Maybe she wasn’t so crazy after all…

Peeling Your Feet

Earlier this summer, I was frustrated by the condition of the bottoms of my feet. I was spending a lot of time outside with bare feet, taking puppies in and out to go potty without taking the time to slip on some shoes. As a result, my feet had grown calloused and thick-skinned. I read online about a chemical foot peel and decided that was just what I needed.

You would think that as a beauty professional I would have completely read through the instructions (including post-care) before proceeding…but I didn’t. One night after my shower, I wrapped my feet in the wet little booties provided in the peel kit, put socks on top and laid in my bed for the time indicated. Afterwards I removed the booties and went to sleep. I didn’t really see anything happening for the first few days but then, on about day three, my feet started to peel. And boy did they peel! They peeled in thin sheets of skin. Every millimeter of my feet shed, and it looked awful!

I had a wedding to attend that week and, being summer, of course I was wearing sandals. I decided to go for a good pedicure and see if we could speed up the peel process and improve the look of my feet. The nail technician worked so hard trying to exfoliate my feet and trim off the excess skin, but it was fruitless. My toenails were polished very nicely but the peeling skin persisted.

Later I decided to finish reading those instructions I had put aside. They warned that the peeling would come and that it would last for quite some time. They also gave post-treatment instructions to soak your feet in warm water frequently to speed up the process. After about two weeks, my feet were done peeling and they truly were like brand new.

Is a foot peel a good idea? Maybe. I think that similar to using chemical peels on your face, when deciding to do a chemical peel on your feet you need to understand the post-treatment care and downtime involved. I also would not recommend over-peeling any part of your body. Depending on your skin type, maybe no more frequently than every three to four months. Bottom line: Our skin can benefit from exfoliation but be careful about how deeply and how often you do it so you don’t cause more harm than good.

Treating Pimples with Windex

My final example of a crazy thing we do for beauty came to popularity as a result of the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The Dad character (played by Michael Constantine) believed that Windex would cure just about anything that ails you, including pimples. This started a trend and people all around America starting using Windex on their skin!

Does it work? It might…but with some potentially counterproductive side effects. Windex’s key ingredients are forms of alcohol and ammonia. These are harsh chemicals that will dry out the skin and kill bacteria, that’s for sure. The issue is that it will completely strip the skin of the healthy lipid layer—drying out the pimple, yes, but also triggering the skin to overproduce oil to compensate. As for killing the acne bacteria, yes it will be destroyed but so will the beneficial bacteria that live on the skin and protect us from having bad strains settle in. Bottom line: Skip the Windex when treating pimples, and stick to healthier alternatives like salicylic acid and cortisone cream.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about some crazy things we do in the name of beauty. And that the next time you are tempted to add something unconventional to your beauty regimen, you take a moment to research and think about the potential outcomes before you actually give it a try.

Click here to read Ginger Hodulik Downey’s book The Esthetician’s Guide to Outstanding Esthetics.

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