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Skincare. It's so important. Oh, hi!

Written by Jennifer Bland

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Posted on August 12 2022

Hi, I’m Jen. I suppose this is my intro and blog launch, so let’s rock out the basics. I’m the founder, owner, maker, designated worrywart, and one-woman show for Veranda Soap Company, which has existed in one form or another since about 2015. Before that, I had another company which made bath products as well as wax candles and tarts. All told, I’ve been making bricks of soap for 13 years, since 2009. I’m a mom to three kids (13, 10, 6). My teen is trans, my littlest has type 1 diabetes, and my middle kid will kick your butt in karate. We’re a lot. I’m stressed just typing this, but truly I have such a great life.

Left: close up picture of an adult white woman with brown cat eye glasses and long, curly brown hair. Right: a mountain range in the distance with a viewing platform, trees, and three kids in the distance on the platform.
That's me! And the kids. We're a pretty rad bunch.

Small business owners are often encouraged to start/maintain a blog. Blogs are often kinda narcissistic and boring, right? Sometimes. There are a few really great, really entertaining bloggers out there whose posts I still think of and chuckle to myself over. Metal chickens are really never the same anymore, for one. Mostly I just want to get past grandma’s life story to that delicious recipe before I shut it down and mutter that caramelized onions take way longer than a couple minutes, so what do they know?

This isn’t one of those entertaining blogs. Oh no. I’m so sorry. Alternatively, though they were lovely women, you're unlikely to read about my grandmothers.

However, I do have a huge, nerdy interest in skincare. I have a company which makes bath and body products. I have no outlet for discussing said skincare interest in depth. BUT. According to the I-can-make-your-business-great gurus out there, I should be writing a blog. Sure. Okay. Do they even know if I can string a sentence together? Maybe I’m just lucky to get my ingredients list straight? Am I open to criticism/help with this? Have I ever accepted help once in my life without a knock-down, drag-out fight? I think you know the answer.

I’m not a doctor. Not an esthetician. I’m more of a lay person with skincare. I like to keep stuff accessible, and hopefully by not getting too mired down in technicalities, I can impart some of the basic skin health wisdom I’ve gleaned over my 41 years.

Maybe I should start with expectations. So should you, if skincare interests you. I should disappoint you early and just admit that there’s no magic potion that will make you 22 again. Personally, I don’t want to look 22 anyway. I do want to look like I sleep my full 7-9 hours every night. I want to look like I drink all 8 glasses of water without fail. I want to look like I eat my vegetables every day. I want to look like a woman who meditates. In reality, you can catch hot mess me rolling through the car rider pickup line, nagging my 6 year old about remembering her diabetes pack, and most likely, a random water bottle may tumble loose. My bad. But that well-rested, hydrated, spa day skin? That skin is attainable!

Women laughing at salad meme. "When your salad keeps making jokes..."
Yep, they've never held up the car rider line.

Another caveat: so, so much of skincare comes down to another unavoidable reality – genetics. Some people just age beautifully. Some people never get acne. Some people just splash water on their face and have nary a blackhead to be seen. You know the kind. Maybe you are the kind. Is your battery always charged too? Congratulations. I hope you still find some helpful stuff in here; even perfect skin needs protection and to stay clean. Use your powers for good!

And this is getting long. They say you shouldn’t do that. But. I feel like I wouldn’t be passing on anything useful to you unless I gave my number one, absolute die-hard, best piece of skincare advice: Wear. Your. Forking. Sunscreen. Every day. Yes, even if it’s overcast. Yes, even when you aren’t at the beach. Yes, even if you think you don’t need it. You do. Trust me. TRUST ME. This is the most critical component of taking care of your skin. Even if you never return to my blog, take this piece of wisdom with you and apply it to your life. And your skin. Liberally, every day.

Face of an older man with significant aging and sun damage on the left side of his face from a career as a truck driver.
This man was a truck driver for 28 years.
Photo credit: New England Journal of Medicine.

Before you can get into fancy retinols and alpha hydroxy acid products, which sensitize your skin to the sun’s rays, you need to be on a solid sunscreen use regimen. Some medications will also sensitize your skin (notably some common antibiotics, tricyclic antidepressants, and quinine, to name a few). Always seek the advice of your doctor or pharmacist and get clarity on whether you need to be extra careful around UV rays. Again: not a doctor here. Just think of me as a concerned friend who wants the best for you. A friend whose chin burned because the sun visor in my car only came down so far and my retinol-drunk skin did NOT love that. How do you explain a half red face? How quickly did a tube of sunscreen find a home in my car?

I owe a much longer, more in-depth discussion about sunscreens for sure, but for now let’s just cover the essentials. I’m going to drop a sentence of wisdom that I often use: The best sunscreen is the one you’ll use. Hate that white cast? The weird taste that makes its way onto your lips? The burn of it in your eyes? Does that sound like a sunscreen you’ll reach for every day? Shop around; not all sunscreens are the same. Not all protect the same. Not all apply the same. Not all feel the same. You’ll also quickly learn that the best sunscreens are often made overseas, due to the FDA being very, very behind the curve on approving new technology.

Personally, I love using Bioré’s UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence (SPF 50+ PA++++), a sunscreen made overseas. Every morning, for many years, without (much) fail. It goes on clear, absorbs quickly into your skin (no greasy layer), no weird taste, doesn’t irritate my eyes as easily, and I have yet to find a skincare product that doesn’t play nicely on top of it. If I need a waterproof/sweatproof sunscreen (usually when I work out outside), I reach for Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Body Mist (SPF 70). It is invisible, doesn’t budge, and I can easily spray it into my hands and apply to my face (also readily available in the U.S.). Both of these options have a fair amount of alcohol in the formula (hence the dry touch/quick absorption feel - which is why I prefer the Neutrogena spray formula over the tube). For some people, that’s a nonstarter. And of course, everyone’s skin and needs are different so what works for me, might be awful for someone else.

There’s so much more to say about sun protection. This isn’t even close to all the sun protection tools I have at my disposal. I could do a 15-part blog series and it wouldn’t even include everything. So, if you still have questions, if you still wonder what may work best for you, stay tuned. Hopefully I don’t abandon this blog and you’ll be on your way to better-protected skin. And good gravy, I hope I don’t need all 15 parts. But I’m wordy, as you can see. Best to be prepared.

What does all this have to do with Veranda and soap? Eh. It’s all skin. I love good skin stuff and sun protection is essential. I don’t make drugs, which is what sunscreens are. And ultimately, you have to wash off that sunscreen, right? There. The business gurus can rest, knowing I still brought my business into this discussion. (Phew. Thanks for getting through that with me!)

Until next time,

Stay Fresh, Cheese Bags

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