Winter Skin Care Tips for Beautiful Skin this Season

As the weather changes, changes in the texture and appearance of your skin are inevitable, signaling you to change up your skincare tools and techniques – no matter the season! With winter coming – and in some cases, here already! – your skin may have already presented different needs, and you may not know where to start!

In today’s post, we offer not only skin care, but also DIY and diet tips that you can use to reveal your inner radiance with an outer glow this season!

As we mentioned in this springtime post, what happens on your skin, happens within, so let’s start with diet.

Eating + Drinking for Sensational Skin

Winter means drier conditions. Walk outside, and you immediately feel moisture evaporate from your skin; re-enter the home and office, and you’ll likely sense drier interiors from the increased use of heat.

Get plenty of water and non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated, non-sugary sources of hydration to naturally hydrate you from within. For every hot toddy or cup of joe, drink a glass of water to replenish from the effects of those delicious, but dehydrating, bevvies!

Omega-3’s and Vitamin E nourish and moisturize from within, so don’t skimp on healthy fats this season! Nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil and coconut oil offer plenty of health benefits and yummy flavors to your day (with the added benefit of keeping you fuller longer, stoking metabolic fire and fueling your brain, too!).

Eat whole foods and shy away from processed boxes, bagged and bottled noms to nourish your body far more than the quick snacks and meals. The extra anti-inflammatory, pH-balancing and blood-sugar stabilizing benefits of a diet free from these items also reduce redness, acne, and degradation of cells for longer-lasting health benefits overall.

Skin Care Products + Practices

Although nourishing your skin from within is a must-do, better products and practices offer quicker results and relief. Added bonus? You don’t have to break the bank with these!

First, let’s talk skin dryness. Winter brings redness, flakiness, dullness and even cracking to the point of bleeding on hands, legs, lips and even the face, itself. When I was a kid, my mom would slather Crisco on me immediately after a bath because it was the only thing that would treat the itching, cracking and dryness! (Skin issues often accompany auto-immune issues, like asthma, so my mom had her work cut out for her, but that’s another blog post. #thanksMom 🙂 )

As a result of encountering this myriad of skin woes over the years, I’ve experimented with, created and reviewed numerous products and rituals. Here are my favorite products, tips and tricks!

Cleansing

Gentle cleansers are always my favorite, even in the summer, but definitely in the winter! In fact, regardless of the season, I only cleanse underarms and “nooks and crannies,” and I only wash my face at night to remove make-up and anything else that may have settled while I was out and about during the day. In the morning, I may rinse again, using only water, particularly on my face.

Science has shown that the natural oils of our skin moisturize and condition as nature intended and excessive scrubbing or washing disrupts the balance, so why overdo! “Less is More” and “Keep It Simple, Sweetie” are my mottos; besides, overwashing and overscrubbing not only zaps the moisture from the skin, but can also create breakouts. Eek!

Products to consider: Cerave Hydrating Cleanser, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, any others provided by your dermatologist 🙂

Another step of the cleansing phase that I enjoy like a kid in new snow is making my own face masque! It’s like a smoothie for your face!

A Delightful DIY Masque for Brightening & Toning

  • 1 tsp kaolin clay
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • ½ tsp maca powder
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • Combine and apply for 5-10 minutes after cleansing; rinse. Proceed with regular skin care rituals.

Exfoliating

Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells that create a barrier to absorption of your skin care products. However, many products in this category can be painful and excessive, even if effective.

Because of the controversial nature of the barrage of info on exfoliants, let me start by saying, if you’re already using a doctor-prescribed product, keep with it, noticing if your skin responds differently this time of year. If you have an inkling that it might be too strong or not the right fit for you, stop using it or use it less frequently.

No treatment should leave you uncomfortable for a prolonged period of time, and you are the expert in your health and what is right for YOU, including skin care. So many of my clients have wanted to try out trending products, even under a doctor’s care, and have suffered through it. Listen to what your skin is telling you and adjust as needed!

If you’re looking for a gentle way to exfoliate, mix a tsp or so of baking soda into your cleanser and gently scrub, avoiding the eye area and the delicate skin in that area. There are also topical products that will remove dead skin, such as Koh Gen Do Soft Gommage Spa Gel, which take a few minutes to apply and remove and can be done as part of a DIY facial!

Moisturizing

During winter months, Nivea and Cetaphil are my go-to’s for full-body moisturizing. They’re fast-absorbing, very rich and leave skin radiant. If your skin type doesn’t need a heavy cream to retain oil and feel supple, go for what works for you! Lotions are just as decadent as the rich creams if your skin tells you so!

CAVEAT: Nivea & Cetaphil are do contain some chemicals, but with my allergies and skin care needs, these products are preferable for me during serious dryness. Sometimes, it’s a trade-off. If you’re into only all-natural, use a blend of coconut oil mixed with essential oils. It’s fun and fulfilling to create signature scents while getting the benefits of an all-natural, no-unprounceable-ingredients product!

For both body and face, oils are very effective, too! Many clients use coconut oil directly on the face. For me, Sea Buckthorn Oil (like this) has become a staple. I have a bar I use to cleanse a few days a week, and my daily routine includes Sea Buckthorn in the am and pm. I layer it on top of other products and underneath my sunscreen – another daily must-have, even in winter! EltaMD has a great product line that offers lasting sun protection without toxic additives. Their Clear Broad-Spectrum is a non-negotiable in my morning routine.

The Biggest Bang for Your Buck: Moisturize within 30-60 seconds of drying off to maximize the moisture retained in the skin and effectiveness of whatever product you choose.

Products to Avoid or Use Less Frequently

This time of year, go easier on scrubs (use exfoliants as needed, but pay attention to how your skin handles it and adjust the frequency). Retinols can still be used, but try to apply every other day or every couple of days if you are concerned about increased dryness, flakiness and peeling in the winter, and remember your sunscreen!

If your skin hurts, stings, burns or reacts severely with any product – whether discussed here or prescribed – discontinue use and follow-up with a dermatologist, if needed.

The Bottom Line

Even if the weather calls for gray days or dry flakes, your skin doesn’t have to follow suit! Try out these tips and let us know what works for you!

As always, we love hearing your feedback and seeing your generous shares of these posts! If you or a friend want some help adjusting diet and lifestyle for better skin health – or better health in any way – drop us a line below!

Cheers to your health!

Save on Skin Care by Switching Up Your Smoothie

How what you eat impacts your skin, picture of smoothie

Fact #1: Your skin is your largest organ.

Fact #2: Anything you take in – whether eaten or applied topically – impacts the health of every cell, muscle, and organ of your body, including your skin, and, by default, the radiance of your complexion.

Skin care, dairy and acne, what's happening on the skin is happening within

Enter your daily smoothie, that magically convenient cup (or bowl), rich with vital nutrients, such as fruits, veggies, protein, and other powerful superfoods.

No way can this magic concoction possibly be tied to a lackluster complexion? Actually, yes, whey.

Whey, a milk protein and a very popular ingredient of protein powders among even the most health-conscious, has been correlated to acne, including adult acne.

Research has shown that dairy – cheese, milk, yogurt, and whey – stimulates hormonal changes, including the production of IGF (insulin-like growth factor), which results in acne, redness, rosacea, etc.

We spend billions of dollars a year in the US on skin care, amounting to ~$8/day. Imagine if we made simple dietary changes that would be more effective, more natural and more affordable!

What to do if you find your protein powder (or favorite yogurt) may be to blame for your skin condition?

  1. Eliminate it from your diet and notice a difference. Be patient, as it will take time for the inflammation in your body and skin to go down.
  2. Make substitutions, such as:
    • Non-whey, non-dairy protein powder in your smoothie (try vegan, sprouted protein)
    • Unsweetened, non-dairy yogurt (steer clear of articifically sweetened anything, i.e. no aspartame, sucralose, nor acesulfame)
    • Coconut-, soy- or nut-milk alternative in your coffee or on your cereal; even if it says non-dairy, like the delectable flavored and seasonal creamers, skip it.

The bottom line?

Don’t fret if milk doesn’t do a body good. There are plenty of alternatives, and your skin (and your monthly skin care budget) will thank you!

Have you kicked dairy and seen changes to your complexion? Let us know! Likewise, if you’ve tried and can’t seem to give up the milk, send us a line, and we’ll cheer you on! We love our community, and the positive vibes it provides. A rising tide lifts all ships, and the wisdom you share is invaluable!

 

Relief for Extreme Fatigue & Chronic Stress

woman with arms outstretched in front of ocean with waning sunset, feelings of freedom and relief

Extreme fatigue is no joke. In the simplest, crudest of terms, fatigue (or any dis-function) is caused by stress, and stress is stress. In other words, whether the stress is chemical, physical, or emotional, your body does not differentiate one type from the other. The stress response is triggered, and your physical health suffers. In this post, we’ll talk about the three main categories of stress and some health and lifestyle tips, tricks and techniques to combat stress – and the resulting fatigue – without turning to coffee to make it through your day!

Types of Stress Defined

Chemical stress includes exposure to toxins, whether that’s mold in the house, inhaling cleaning supplies, heavy metals in our water, or even consuming foods or drinks (or prescriptions) with chemicals that are disruptive.

Physical stress can include working longer hours than you can sustain over the long-haul without necessary breaks, spreading yourself too thinly, not getting enough rest or nutrition.

Emotional stress may be rooted in a dysfunctional work environment, toxic relationships or in a phase of reshaping your identity. It can also occur as a result of any uncertainty related to an important relationship or factor of your life (i.e. raising a teenager, diagnosis of a loved one, stress in a marriage, etc.).

It’s important to understand the ways stress can manifest in your life, so you can begin to identify them, then manage them accordingly to avoid long-term problems. Any combination of these stressors, particularly experienced over a long period of time, takes a BIG toll on your body.

Breaking the Cycle

The more tired you are, the lower the threshold you have for any stress. Your stores of mental, emotional and physical energy are depleted, and you cannot function. The less you can function optimally, the more stressed you’ll feel, which will further exhaust you, causing more stress. What a vicious cycle!

Here are a few tips that can help you manage extreme fatigue and chronic stress:
  1. BREATHE.
    Deep breathing is going to be your active stress management partner forevermore. It activates the relaxation nerve (vagus nerve) and gets the parasympathetic nervous system online, giving the sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight response one) a break.
    When you’re feeling stressed, or you feel your blood pressure rising or your chest tightening, breathe. Focus on the area that is tight or otherwise talking to you, and breathe into that area. Mentally picture your breath flowing into that area. If you can close your eyes, and do this for 1-2 minutes, you’ll feel the difference.  Do this for 10-20 minutes a day, and you may accidentally develop a meditation practice. 🙂
  2. Take inventory.
    What are your stressors? List them.
    What can you let go of or delegate? Which items or activities can you postpone, avoid or say no to?
    What can you reframe in your mind to give you peace? Is there a belief, attitude or assumption that crops up in the moments you feel most stressed that would be in your best interest to change?
    Be aware of the underlying causes and take steps to change them.
  3. Tend to your stressors.
    What jumps out at you from the list that you feel most compelled to address? Trust your judgment as a guide to what to let go of, what to say no to, etc.
  4. Consider a few lifestyle changes.
    • Clean up your eating and upgrade your diet of processed, non-whole foods (i.e. soda, “diet” versions of food, crackers, candy, etc.) for better choices. Focus your grocery buying on the areas of the grocery store that are along the wall, i.e. produce section, fresh meats/cheese (go as cage-free, free range and organic as you can afford), etc. Minimize the amount of boxed or bagged foods you buy, particularly if the shelf-life is longer than two months. By fueling your body with better nutrients, you will allay some of the stress that might be caused by what you ingest while also giving your body the building blocks it needs to better combat the stress in other areas.
    • Cut back on sugar, caffeine and alcohol, which are counterproductive to reducing stress and anxiety.
    • Swap traditional cleaning and gardening supplies for better, non-toxic alternatives. Breathing in the fumes, vapors and chemicals in traditional cleaning products can contribute to auto-immune and allergic responses and hormone disruption.
    • Cultivate healthier relationships with friends and family who leave you feeling better when your time together is done. Speak up about your needs and allow loved ones to help you, even if that means cutting you some slack when you turn down invitations.
    • Find social or community outlets that allow you to learn new skills, like meditation, yoga, knitting, etc.
    • Talk to your doctor about critical nutrients you may be missing, like omega-3’s, B12, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Iron levels, all of which, when too low, lead to fatigue and brain fog.
      • Take a good quality multi-vitamin as a start, along with probiotics, which improve gut health. Mental stability and immune strength start in the gut; take care of it, and it will take care of you!
      • Look into adaptogenic herbs that help support the adrenal glands, like ashwaganda, holy basil, and rhodiola.
    • SLEEP! Good gracious, you need sleep more than ever, and it’s ok to go to bed early, say no to happy hours and take a nap on the weekends! Listen to your body and balance the need for social and community support with your need for rest.

The Main Takeaway for Fatigue & Stress Relief

Life can be stressful, and those stresses can take many shapes. Your individual tolerance for stress is unique to you, as are the ways to find relief. Take what you can from this list, apply it and tweak it as you learn what works. You are the most qualified to assess what you need.

One last thought: Avoid comparing yourself to others to determine what is “normal” or what you “should” be able to handle. Listen to your body and your instincts when you’re hitting a threshold. Ask for help, and be kind to yourself in your thoughts and activities.

If you don’t feel right after cleaning up your diet and lifestyle after a few months, see your doctor and ask him/her to offer more than medications to help you navigate this phase of fatigue.  Reach out to a health coach, who can help you translate any diagnosis into tangible, actionable steps, so you are stepping into optimal well-being without a slew of Rx’s.

Know someone who could use some stress relief? Share this post with them! We love our community and the knowledge you share with us. If you have a favorite stress tip, drop it into a comment below.

Wishing you a life filled with greens and grace … and peace in your mind and body!

Additional Reading:

Surprising Lifestyle Tip for Anti-Aging

Iris Apfel by One Kings Lane

Photo Cred of the one and only Iris Apfel: One Kings Lane

Want to glide into – and through – your sunset years without the unpleasantries we all assume will come with the aging process? Don’t we all!

What if I told you that a secret to great health benefits not only today, but also down the road has nothing to do with what you eat? It’s true!

Living with a sense of purpose and bringing it into your daily routine results in successful aging!

Here’s the scoop: A research study published in the journal Development Psychology reveals that the benefits of living with a sense of purpose include reduced depression, improved overall mental state, and increases indicators of successful aging. (In this context, successful aging means you are physically healthy and functioning, you’ve got your wits about you (no mental deterioration) and can move around, and you build and maintain social relationships and activities)(Psychology Today).

In short, purposeful living contributes to health and well-being both now and when you’re 80.

I don’t know about you, but I would love to age gracefully and with ease! I’d love to look, act and feel as young as possible for as long as possible with minimal chemical or cosmetic treatments while also living in overall bliss for all of my days. Even better if I can get started now! Sign me up! Wouldn’t you agree?

So, how do we do it?

Defining Your Sense of Purpose

For our discussion, I’ve defined Sense of Purpose below after a Google search left me unsatisfied.

Sense of purpose: the reason for being; the pursuit or expression of which makes you come alive. Innate gifts that you alone can offer to the world, fueled with heartfelt passion.

Ask yourself, your family, your friends, “over my lifetime, when do I seem to be my best self? What am I doing at these times? What activities or pursuits ignites my inner joy and energy? What natural talents do I seem to have that I enjoy pursuing and practicing?”

Make a list. Take time to hone in on what your sense of purpose could look like.

Then what?

After you’ve gotten clear on your purpose, bring it into your life on a regular basis.

Look at your job responsibilities and duties or where you spend your time socially and in your “off” hours.

Where are there opportunities to infuse your purpose into the seemingly mundane?

For instance, if you are creative, look for ways to create presentations or other communications collateral. Layout or design tips add flair, which differentiate you and your company from competition in the marketplace.

Make the business case to your boss to get involved, or just start volunteering to help.

Can’t find the time during the workday to put your passion at play at the office? Have you tried delegating?

Check out this post for tips to create time and bandwidth. Make the business case for why your unique skills and strategy (aka, applying your sense of purpose) will benefit the team, Client or company. Cite increases to business efficiency, employee satisfaction, team moral or motivation, Client retention, etc. to help bolster your argument… 

… or just start doing it! Delegate where appropriate, and get involved.

Fortune favors the bold, and you have unique gifts and talents to bring to the world.

If you can’t get the buy-in at work, volunteer outside of work to put your passion to use for a non-profit, small business or community organization. You may even be able to get paid for it!  

In the words of Eminem, “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance… This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.”

This one wild and precious life you lead is The Opportunity for you to express and pursue your sense of purpose!

The health benefits to your body + mind are compelling, and it is your responsibility to share your unique goodness with the world like no one else can!

Small or large, start infusing that sense of purpose into your life. There’s no better time than NOW.

 

If you have a friend who might be hiding her (or his!) unique brand of goodness, afraid or unsure to let it out, share this post with him or her.

A rising tide lifts all ships, and we love to hear how you bring this conversation to life! Let us know how you’re bringing your sense of purpose to your day-to-day or how you’ve been inspired by someone you know who does it well by leaving a comment below.

As always, wishing you a life of greens and grace, my friends!