When I was younger, I lost my mother early, so I didn’t get some of the lessons you’d need later in life as a woman. I never got the birds and bees, “monthly,” or boys talk. However, as I age, I realize there is another lesson to learn; the importance of taking care of the skin you’re in.

Living with my grandmother, the neighborhood adopted me and frequently invites me to my friend’s homes permitted me to roam freely and make discoveries. I’d find myself in their bathrooms transfixed by their mom’s self-care products with no idea of their purpose. As six-year-old I’d wonder how one person needed so much stuff. Or better yet, how could they know what to use, for what and when? As a kid, the most skincare advice I got was “the only thing that should tan is leather.” Not sage advice, but memorable at the least. However, what I think my grandmother was trying to say in her way was, protect your skin!

Your skin is your largest organ, and we wear it on the outside. It’s more exposed than the heart most of us wear on our sleeves (figuratively) and takes on all the world’s scars, yet skin care can leave some of us as baffled as I once was standing in front of that medicine cabinet years ago.

I’ve tried makeup subscriptions, clothing memberships, and jewelry clubs, but skincare is still an ongoing need so I figured we could all learn together how to both protect and renew our biggest asset. Yeah, you may have your go-to body butter or lotions for your main areas, but what about the specialty zones? Are you taking care of those?

Above the neck:

First, I will need us all to agree that products we use on our general body shouldn’t be used on our face. If our skin is our largest organ, your face is the most delicate portion and requires special attention. That SPF you’ve been using to protect your poolside isn’t going to work as well or as long on the soft skin above the neck.

Whether you are a sun worshipper seeking a tan or, like me, you hopscotch from one shady spot to another, the sun is damaging, and taking care of your skin earlier in life will yield more significant results the longer you live.

A light sunscreen that will allow you to layer it under your makeup or use it with other products is the best investment you can make. If you prefer to choose the level SPF protection you need or mix your sunscreen with your facial moisturizer like V-8 hides vegetables, it’s an important addition.

We are all particular in our focus on our skin ranging from age to acne, and the options can be overwhelming. Websites like Skin Store eliminate a bit of the guesswork, allowing you to search by specific concern or ingredients. The website also has great suggestions for eye cream, but that’s a whole other medicine cabinet we don’t need to open right now.

If you aren’t confident what products to choose or want something more personal, try Curology. Their website conducts a virtual evaluation (via a brief quiz and a few selfies) with their team of dermatologists. They review your info and develop a skincare regimen made for you. The best part is their sample box gives you 30 days’ worth of time and product to try their choices. Even after the trial, if you don’t like the products, they offer a 90-day money-back guarantee

Around the rear and down there:

Second, to the face, your butt is a bit of a diva and should be treated accordingly. Your bum takes many hits daily with all the ups and downs of driving and the past year working from our home offices. It needs a bit of TLC to lift its spirits. Whether you are looking to lose the cellulite, get a lift, gain a bit of clarity from the particular acne that creeps back there, or you want to bounce a coin off it like Serena Williams, there’s a cream for that. Here are a few of the bests.

For the particular areas around the front, I would always suggest speaking to your OBGYN first to ensure you don’t throw off your natural balance, but there is always a need for skincare especially post wax/sugar/shave. At these times your skin isn’t protected (by hair) and is a delicate as a baby’s bottom. However, that’s where the similarities end. Unlike a baby, its best to stay away from talcum powders and fragrances that can block your pores and lead to breakouts. Stick to oils or lotion-based solutions infused with good for your ingredients such as jojoba, tea tree, lavender, and vitamin C.

And let’s not forget the arms. Yes… the dreaded pits. Especially during the summer months when we tend to sweat more these areas need more attention. Detoxifying your armpits once a week will help keep the areas skin healthy. Body exfoliators can be a bit rough so try a mask like Mega Babe Happy Pits for a more gentle approach.

What are those??

Last and certainly not least when you are making your way around the canvas that is your skin, keep an eye out for those changes only you’d notice. Questions such as “did I always have that birthmark” or “is this a mole?”‘ are normal, but shouldn’t be answered by self diagnosis. Make an appointment to see a dermatologist and get ahead of any possible changes that aren’t positive.

As we age our skin can be our biggest confidant or a snitch. It’s can make us look younger, tell our age or make claims we are older. It’s all about how we take care of it.

Facials, massages and products aren’t reserved for someone else or some other time they are tools in your arsenal and should be used for self-care. Whether it’s a relaxation need for mental health or an aesthetic one. Taking care of you and the skin you are in shouldn’t be an option; it should be a requirement. So, make it a priority.