With autumn and winter rapidly approaching, it’s a good idea to think ahead a little toward cold weather skin care. The dryer air and cold temperatures of winter can be challenging to healthy skin, damaging the sensitive lipid barrier and causing a myriad skin issues. With winter comes eczema, flaky and splitting skin, acne, and pasty, unhealthy tinged skin. With a little bit of diligence, though, you can get through to spring looking your usual gorgeous self.
The first thing you must remember is that your skin still needs Vitamin D. During warmer days you should consider getting out and getting some sun on your face. If the weather turns too cold to expose your face or other skin to the sun, an occasional trip to a tanning salon can give your skin the Vitamin D that it needs. While seasons change, your need for Vitamin D doesn’t. You don’t need to park on a tanning bed until you look like you live on a beach, but a twenty minute session two or three times a week will keep you from experiencing dangerous Vitamin D deficiencies throughout the cold months. You may also want to take supplements. If you do supplement, use Vitamin D3 supplements, which are far superior to the older Vitamin D (2) products. You can now get organic dairy products with D3 added as well. Vitamin D deficiency can wreak havoc on every system of your body, so make sure you get only the best supplements and as much of it from sunshine as possible. Contrary to widespread opinions, your skin will wrinkle faster with a lack of this vital nutrient than it will if you spend a few minutes in the sun each day. The Vitamin itself works to fight any wrinkling caused by normal amounts of sunshine.
A second consideration is that the Omega 3 oils are still important even if your body isn’t using them to alleviate the effects of UV rays. Omega 3 coats your cells in the type of oil they need to absorb both oxygen and nutrients. If you are considering a low fat diet for the winter, don’t consider compromising your Omega 3 intake. The added lubricant around your cells will also protect them from hostile low temperatures.
When it gets frigid outside you will be dressing to stay warm. Some types of materials can irritate skin. Wear cotton close to your skin and leave the scratchier wools for outer layers. Avoid synthetic fibers whenever possible. Synthetics contain toxins which won’t help you avoid eczema or dry itchy skin. If you must wear synthetic fibers, wear a soft natural fiber underneath it. You want to dress warm, but you also want your skin to be able to breath easily and keep it from irritation.
When outside wear a non-toxic healing balm on exposed skin areas such as your lips and nose. Inside, make sure your bath products are as toxin free as possible. Products with fragrances may be natural, but they can also be dehydrating so avoid scented products. Products that provide rich suds also dry skin, not to mention other damages they can do when absorbed into the skin. Always moisturize with a good toxin free moisturizer after bathing and again before going outside. If your skin needs oil as well as moisture, olive oil will provide good protection from the cold. If the air in your home is too dry a humidifier will help fight dry, itchy skin. If you don’t have access to a humidifier, boil a tea kettle or pan of water now and then to put some humidity in your air.
Moisture in the air isn’t the only moisture that becomes scarce in winter. In cooler temperatures you can be easily fooled about the amount of water you are drinking. You might not realize that your body sweats at low temperatures just as it does at high temperatures, too, so you won’t feel the dehydration as sharply or quickly as you will in the summer heat. Dehydration, though, will be just as hard on your body and skin as it is any other time of the year. Dehydrated skin is more susceptible to damage from dry, frigid weather than moist skin. Make sure you are getting enough to drink. Choose water that is not fluoridated as the fluoride can cause a whole new host of problems to contend with.
When winter is at it’s most damaging, by paying attention to these few details we can keep our skin looking and feeling good all year round. Your face will be just as radiant at the ski lodge fireplace as it was at the beach bonfire just a few months before the cold hit.
©2010: Sally Taylor
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
I was asked a question recently about whether wrinkles can be scrubbed off of the skin and thought it was a good question to answer online. The question was whether wrinkles can be scrubbed off over time.
It may seem that you can scrub wrinkles away to an extent. After washing our wrinkles don’t appear to be so deep. For a few hours they may not be as noticeable. The water used when we wash will temporarily hydrate and plump skin so wrinkles may appear to have been scrubbed away. Another reason wrinkles may appear lighter after a good washing is that gentle scrubbing can help exfoliate dead skin cells which will make wrinkles appear deeper and more pronounced than they may actually be.
All in all, however, the only way a good scrubbing can actually erase wrinkles is if you take the first layer of skin right off. It is not advisable to do so. Chemical peels are sometimes used in this manor to take the top eroded layer of skin off. It will take a few days for the skin to heal and accidents can happen. Nobody should EVER try this process on their own. Even trained professionals run into problems now and then.
The problem with the chemical peel is that it does not get to the root of the problem of wrinkling so it won’t be long before your skin looks just the same as it did before the peel.
If your skin is wrinkling, you can make it look a bit better externally by gently scrubs followed by moisturizers. You can also use lightly acidic face masks such as the one in my guide Secrets of Beautiful Skin and Hair Revealed. When used on a regular basis an acidic skin mask will keep pores clear and keep skin exfoliated properly. Use a mask that you need to wash off rather than a peel off mask as there is more drawing power in the wash off masks to keep your pores clear.
At the depth of the issue, however, if you want fewer wrinkles, you have to tend to those from where they originate – inside your body. Your skin is an organ and no amount of anything you can slap on it from the outside is going to keep it young and supple. While you must work on your skin from the outside, you must give this organ what it needs internally to stay healthy, too.
If you do not drink enough water, your skin will become dry and no amount of lotions or oils will be able to fix dehydrated skin – you must drink dehydration away. Your skin also needs the proper nutrients to function correctly and if it isn’t getting what it needs, the wrinkles are going to set in no matter what you do on the outside.
Only proper internal maintenance accompanied by a good external care system will fix damaged skin or prevent problems in the first place.
You get up one morning and look in the mirror. Gasp! You look ten years older today than you did yesterday. The wrinkles have set in something furious overnight. Grabbing your moisturizing cream you completely slather your face with it and go about your morning routine only to find when you return to the mirror that the cream didn’t do much for you. Before you panic or decide that life as you know it has taken a quick one way path to premature old age, just take it as a warning and relax. Much of the “overnight prune” syndrome can be fixed easily without a lot of expensive or lengthy treatment. Before you do anything, take time to study your face in the mirror. The areas that look bad are the areas you should pay close attention to in your daily care routines. Now that you have that information, it’s time to fix the damage. How your skin can degenerate so badly overnight isn’t usually a complicated question either. You may have already noticed that some days you look a lot younger and healthier than others. The explanation is almost always very simple. You are dehydrated. While the statistics vary a percent or two, they all concur that your body is over 90% water. Water keeps you cells plump and healthy. It allows toxins and wastes to be removed into the blood stream and filtered from the body and aids in the absorption of nutrients and oxygen. If you don’t have enough of this vital fluid in your system your cells shrivel and your skin becomes wrinkled and leathery. When this happens you also have cells being damaged by poisons that are not being washed away from them and nutrients not getting into them. Dehydration can be confusing because you won’t always feel thirsty when you are dehydrating. By the time you do feel thirst, your skin is already on its way to shriveling. Thirst does not come before dehydration; it is a symptom that tells you that you are dehydrated. Once you feel thirst, you have already got some catching up to do. Dehydration can also give false signals of hunger rather than thirst. If you are eating normally and seem to be continually hungry what you actually may need is a big glass of fresh clear water. Put down your fork and pour your self a nice pure glass of non-calorie remedy. As a rule of thumb you should be normally getting a half ounce of water per day per pound of weight. There are factors that will increase your need, such as exercise, altitude, heat, fever, and even drinking alcohol. If you aren’t sure if you are drinking enough liquid, watch your face and hands. Your skin will tell you if you are getting enough. If you didn’t get enough water during the day you will continue to dehydrate through your sleeping hours. When you wake up you will then get the shock of your life when you look in the mirror. If you do wake up shriveled, give yourself a twenty ounce glass of water. Water without chlorine and fluoride are best if you have access, and you always should. Drink that glass quickly then refill it and carry the second glass with you while you attend to your morning routine. Keep the glass with you. You will drink it if it is there. When that glass is near empty, refill it. Repeat that as often as you can manage without allowing yourself to feel bloated or sick. It is possible to drink too fast and your body will quickly tell you when you are doing so by causing discomfort. If you are already dehydrated, however, the normal half ounce per pound will not be enough to bring you back to proper hydration so don’t stop just because you have had you “quota” for the day. After a glass or two of just plain water you might want to drink a glass of organic milk, soy milk, juice, or tea between glasses of water. These liquids are all skin food and will nourish your cells while hydrating your body. Dehydration can deplete nutrition in the cells so a glass of orange juice with added calcium is a treat not only for your taste buds but for your skin as well. Do make sure that you drink mostly water throughout the day, though, as your body needs it’s pure liquid attribute just as much as it needs other nutrients. When dehydrated you need to take special care to stay away from coffee and soda pops or other liquids containing caffeine and sugar. While a cup of coffee might not hurt now and then in normal circumstances, while you are dehydrated you should steer clear of it. Soda pop should be avoided at all costs whether you are dehydrated or not. Your body recognizes carbon as waste and too much of that in your bloodstream will overload your immune system as your blood cells concentrate on removing it from your body. Alcohol, too, particularly wine, has argument for it’s health benefits in small doses, but when dehydrated it is the last thing you should be drinking. Alcohol will dry you out rapidly. It only takes a few hours to see the effects of alcohol on your skin. If you are continuously sipping water and a few skin fluids during the day you will start to see your skin becoming supple and smooth again. If the dehydration was allowed to get far enough it will take a little longer to reverse it, but it will reverse if you just keep the liquid going down. After a few terrifying wake up calls and seeing how water reverses the damage, you won’t need much coaching to be reminded to keep a glass of water with you as you go about your day.
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