By Simone I. Cohen Scott
(from a column for Il Nuovo Sole, December 2112)

One of the circumstances that influence your complexion’s health and radiance is weather. A very windy day will take the moisture out of your skin anytime, but as the seasons change, and stressful conditions combine, your face doesn’t bounce back, or heal, from this dehydrating effect.  .

As winter sets in, I think about winterizing my car, changing the oil, topping up the fluids, replacing anything that will wear out soon, and fixing whatever is broken, finally giving it a good cleaning.  That’s what we do to keep our vehicles working nicely, until we’re ready to trade them in on a new ones, don’t we?  How much more should we consider our faces, which need to last our whole lives?  But how?

No doubt you’ve noticed that your complexion feels different now than it did in August or September.  That old adage about the days of the month – Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November—is a good reminder for checking your skin care regimen. 

Here are three basic rules of complexion care: 1. Never use soap. 2. Exfoliate two or three times a week. 3. Use sunscreen rain or shine, summer and winter.  Within this matrix, although many elements need to be tweaked one way or the other, everything else is secondary.

I know you have questions.  Why not soap? Well, soap does not thoroughly rinse off  It packs into the top layer of skin cells, thickening the skin, clogging and stretching its’ pores, keeping it from breathing.. 

What does ‘exfoliate’ mean?  That’s just a more technical word for removing dead cells.  Exfoliating products, also known as scrubs, loosen and clear away the dead cells which accumulate on top of the skin. They are disguised as dry skin, and prevent creams and lotions from penetrating, or toxins from exiting.

Sunscreen all the time?  This is beneficial for two reasons.  First, each year the sun becomes more dangerous; especially between Fall and Spring Equinoxes.  Sun damage can happen in half-an-hour, even through the car window.  Second, when creams are layered, as with putting your sunscreen over your day cream, the effect is like a double or triple-pane window, protecting from cold, wind, weather, car exhaust, pollution, fluorescent lights, and any other effluvia.

In this first column, my intention is to share a few all-purpose, one size-fits all, essentials for a healthy, radiant, complexion.  This is just the beginning.   In subsequent columns I’ll deal with specific skin care concerns.  It will help me if I hear from men, women, teen-agers, baby boomers—all my readers.  Please send in your questions.