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It took me an extremely long time to realize a cold, hard truth, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Teaching is aging me. While it's true that I'm hanging out somewhere in my 40's, I look in the mirror daily and just feel...unfamiliar. I shouldn't feel or look like this. Who is this stranger staring back at me, and how did she get here?
After a massive amount of introspective soul-searching, I was able to answer both questions with a truth that's still hard to accept: the job that I love is not taking care of me.
If you were to add up all of the cons of teaching, such as mental health issues, overwhelming workload, feeling under-appreciated, being micro-managed because we're just not competent, overbearing or absent parents, admin and procedural changes every other week, and the like, then they would all contribute in some way to one major effect: we as teachers are stressed.
Stress and Exhaustion: The Hidden Culprits Behind Skin Problems
We all know that stress and exhaustion can have negative effects on our overall health, but did you know that they can also wreak havoc on your skin? From acne breakouts to premature aging, stress and exhaustion can manifest in a variety of ways that affect your skin health. After doing what, for me, amounted to extensive research on this unwanted side-effect of a job I'm supposed to love, I knew it was time to do something about it.
But First, The Science Behind Stress and Skin Health
Stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that can cause inflammation and disrupt the skin's natural barrier function. This can lead to a variety of skin problems, including acne, rosacea, and eczema. Cortisol can also accelerate the aging process by breaking down collagen and elastin, two proteins that keep skin firm and youthful.
Exhaustion, on the other hand, can impact the quality of your sleep. When you're tired, your body produces more cortisol, which can further disrupt your skin's natural balance. Poor sleep quality can also lead to dark circles under your eyes, puffiness, and dull, tired-looking skin. I'm here to tell you right now, I'm getting pretty tired of looking like a raccoon. Age and dark circles? I feel ugly.
Finally, What I'm Doing to Fight Back (and win back my confidence)
First, I wanted to tackle what I saw as my worst damage, and that was the dark circles under my eyes. It took me a few weeks, admittedly, but I did manage to get my sleep to an extremely restful 7 hours most nights. I do run a business, so this doesn't always happen. But for the most part, I'm able to go to bed early enough to feel rested and refreshed in the mornings. Ready to slay the day, I am.
Next, I knew I needed to hydrate the heck out of my skin. I'm not sure about you, but if you're anything like me then self-care flies like a bird and you forget to moisturize. Or you're too tired. Likely the latter, am I right? Regardless, I searched everyone's favorite app, TikTok, for the answers to my woes. And I found this AMAZING moisturizer, and I am literally in love. My skin feels so soft and silky, and I'm noticing my circles are indeed looking lighter. It's definitely a combination of this moisturizer and my increased sleep hours, but if you're looking for lightweight, committed hydration, this would be the one.
I was always one to take the long way around and to the point, but if you've made it this far, you've made it to the good stuff. This is the entire reason I decided to write this post. I began to read and hear, literally everywhere, about collagen peptides and their overall health benefits. Most impactful in my decision to try this supplement is its supposed benefits to skin elasticity, hydration, and firmness. And here I am, sitting around in my 40's looking like I'm about to retire (and feeling like it too), so what do I have to lose? I found the most highly rated and touted to be this gem from Vital Proteins.
I have been taking this for about 2 months now, and when I tell you people are noticing, I mean they are noticing. My skin looks healthier, I have less redness and puffiness in the mornings (this is all but gone!), and I'm noticing the skin on my neck tightening up. At the beginning of this school year, on a Zoom meeting, I remember joking with my colleagues about my "gobbler" because I joke about my insecurities. Now, I don't even see anything there. That right there makes this product a 1000 out of 10 for me.
But that's not all. Prior to taking this supplement, I would feel like an 80-year-old trying to get out of bed and move first thing in the morning. My joints hurt so bad that it was tough to take that first step. Now, I have a spring in my step, and zero pain. ZERO JOINT PAINT. This, too, is unreal for me.
There are many more benefits that I have experienced (such as having tons more energy and losing weight like it's nothing), but those first two were the GAME CHANGERS.
So there you have it, my two-product routine that I will swear by until the end of time. If you decide to try either of these, come back and let me know what amazing benefits you experience. I'd love to compare notes!
Purchase the BEST moisturizer here!
And these collagen peptides - literally THE BEST!