We’re all familiar with the notorious “bad hair day”. What we are also pretty familiar with but don’t seem to take much note of is the just plain “bad mirror day”. You know the ones. You wake up and you have several sets of wrinkles that weren’t there yesterday and your skin, which has taken on a pasty or blotchy look just hangs there. Of course, the older you get the worse shockers bad mirror days can be, but the young experience their own version of these things. It’s just as traumatic to be 20 and wake up looking 35 as it is to be 55 and wake up looking 65 (or worse).
If you spent the night before slamming down daquaris or margaritas, the bad morning might not be such a surprise. We all know if we get a bit toasted, that is what our face is going to look like in the morning. Sometimes, though, why we look so awful some mornings just isn’t instantly apparent to us. We may wonder for a few minutes, do some sort of fix or make an attempt to hide the devastation, but in the long run how far do we go in examining why we look so much worse some days than on others?
The truth is that if you are experiencing bad mirror days fairly frequently, it is something you should be taking note of very closely. Your skin is an organ and when it is looking bad, it’s not going to be functioning all that well, either. If your skin is doing poorly, many other organs that you can’t see may be suffering just as badly. The bad mirror day is not something to just blow off and ignore.
When you find yourself frequently waking up badly, you need to start taking notes. There are many reasons that you might be looking worse than usual, or that it is becoming more usual to look pretty bad when you wake up. It’s time to start making a check list for yourself to get to the bottom of the situation. You will want to examine all the things that you can think of that might have a negative effect on your skin so you can see if there is some pattern so you can avoid irritants before the damage becomes permanent.
The first thing to ask yourself is if you drank enough water the day before. Dehydration will take an almost immediate toll on the body. Fortunately this one is easy to fix if you do it right away and don’t allow yourself to repeat the dehydration too often. If your checklist includes a lack of liquids as a usual item, start right there and make sure that you can write it off your list in the future. That may be all it takes to correct the bad mornings. If not, you need to look further.
Lack of sleep is another reason for looking run down that is pretty easy to figure out. Not getting enough sleep once in a while is pretty normal. If you are experiencing lack of sleep too often though, you are putting your whole body in jeopardy. You might need to make some life adjustments to ensure you are able to sleep a bit longer each night. Perhaps you have a job that is too demanding for you and need to find a different company to work for that is not hazardously demanding. Maybe you need to hire someone to take care of a few odds and ends for you that keep you running just a little longer than is healthy. Perhaps your spouse needs to be made to understand that you are having too many demands on your time and you need to have more help or to be left alone to sleep longer. Whatever adjustments would aid you in getting the extra sleep you need should be made. Lack of sleep can do more than make you look like a zombie. It can be deadly.
What did you eat the day before? Did you eat a lot of processed foods or drink soda pop? Write down everything you can remember. You might find a pattern in what you eat and how you look. Processed foods and beverages contain a myriad chemical additives and all forms of sugar and sugar substitutes. By writing down what foods you ate each time you wake up less than prime you may be able to narrow down exactly which foods you are having the worst reactions to and can get them out of your diet before they destroy your whole body’s health. The more of these chemicals and sugars you can cut out of your diet, the more generally healthy you will be and the better your skin will look.
Was your room too hot or too cold the night before your mirror screams at you? If your checklist shows that your room was either hotter or colder than normal when you wake up looking bad, you have an easy solution on hand. A room that is too hot can make eyes puffy and lined. A room that is too cold can just upset good sleep.
Are you exposing yourself to forms of pollution some days that you aren’t always exposed to? When you wake up looking bad, take a washcloth and pour some rubbing alcohol on it and wipe your face. If you are wiping off blackish dirt, think about where you were the day before. If you can avoid going somewhere that always results in black film on your skin, avoid going there any more often than you need to. If you have to go there, make sure to wear a non-toxic makeup foundation when you go. It’s much better to have toxic waste sitting on your makeup than absorbing into your body through your skin. Be sure to wash your makeup off thoroughly when you get home. If you remove brownish residue when you wipe your face, you aren’t getting your makeup off well enough before you go to bed and need to improve your cleansing routine. Even the best non-toxic makeup will still clog pores and keep your cells from breathing freely at night. After you wipe your skin clean with the alcohol, be sure and moisturize with a non-toxic moisturizer. Alcohol is a great cleanser, but it will dry your skin if you don’t moisturize after you clean with it.
Are you getting enough aerobic exercise? Your skin may suffer if you are not. Conversely, if you are exercising daily or most days and your skin is breaking out or otherwise looking bad, your body might be expelling toxins through your skin. Some of the previous points on the checklist will reveal if you are taking in too many chemical toxins. If you can’t correct the problem with better hydration and nutrition, you may have something more serious going on that you need to look into.
Illness can also show up on your skin and if all other points of your checklist don’t show up a problem and you are cleansing your skin thoroughly each night, you might need professional help to find out if you have a deficiency, imbalance, or even an illness you are not aware of in your body that you need to address.
No matter what you do, you will never be able to completely avoid an occasional bad mirror day. By keeping track of your activities though, you can reduce them to a minimum. . A little bit of applied vanity can go a long way in maintaining your body’s optimal health. It won’t hurt your self esteem to look better most days, either.
©2010: Sally Taylor