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!

The Simplest Test of Good Health & You Can Take It At Home!

Stress, inflammation and chemical imbalance throw the body into dis-ease, which, when measured and monitored early, can lead to prevention! It’s all about body chemistry, pH actually. If your body chemistry (pH levels) is conducive to health, your mind is clearer, your body moves freely and easily, and you feel great! By doing things to keep your body in that happy pH place, you also get more oxygen to your cells, reduce systemic inflammation and prevent acute and chronic illness.

What is the pH happy place?

Let’s take a quick trip back to middle school chemistry. Remember the pH scale that ranged from 0-14 with 0-7 being acidic and 7-14 being basic? It’s the same principle!

Put simply, if the pH of your body is too acidic, there is not enough oxygen and other good stuff flowing, which creates an environment that is welcoming to bacteria, yeast, and viruses. This chemistry also allows inflammation and weakens the immune system along with other systems in your body.

However, when the body is more alkaline or above 7.0 on the pH scale, you know you’re in healthy territory, starving the colds and viruses and feeding the cells that fight off disease and inflammation. Lucky 7 keeps you feeling your best! Ideally, a pH of 7.2 on the pH scale is healthiest for all your systems and cells.

How do I know my pH?

You can measure it at home for almost pennies! Using pH paper, like this one, you can test your pH by placing it under your tongue for a few seconds or in your urine stream to get a read.

if you’re around 7.2, you’re on a roll!

If you’re below 7.2, that’s ok! It’s temporary and within your control to change!

pH-Balanced Best Practices

  • Choose foods, drinks and lifestyle habits that reduce the acidity in your body
  • Reduce coffee, soda, alcohol, sugar, dairy, processed foods
  • Invest in organic fruits and veggies, particularly those on the Dirty Dozen
  • Choose organic, free-range and cage-free chicken, eggs, and red meat
  • Opt for sustainably farmed fish and organic dairy
  • Drink more water!
  • Mind your mental garden (more on this coming soon!) by being intentional and mindful of where your energies are spent
  • Spend time exercising, like walking, jogging, playing tennis or doing yoga
  • Set aside 15 minutes a day (or however much you can) for quiet reflection time
  • Many individuals reap significant benefits from meditating, journaling, developing an affirmation practice or taking a quiet walk in the woods in as little time as a few weeks!

Your pH is information that you can use to know when and how to adjust your lifestyle towards healthier habits.

Your pH is not the be-all-end-all metric for your health, and of course, it is no substitute for blood work and other labs that are crucial in the management of your health, particularly if you are managing a chronic disease.

The Best Practices we discuss above provide a myriad of benefits that reduce stress, aid in weight loss and weight management, prevent disease, manage chronic pain and bolster mental health.

Adopt just a few and see what a difference they make in your health by simply measuring your pH!

Do you already manage your health by your pH? Share your best practices with us below!

Stopping the Shame Game.

Each of us is awesome. Body shaming and comparing ourselves to one another is not necessary.

I got very stirred up while listening to E! News yesterday.

In discussing a recent Instagram post by Paris Jackson in which she was pictured almost nude and, as a result, subsequently received body-shaming comments online, Catt Sadler (one of the hosts) mused that she could not understand how people could body shame Ms. Paris because she has a beautiful body.

It was at this point that I had to change the channel lest I start arguing with the TV while on the elliptical machine and be removed from the gym. (The irony that I was at the gym while hearing this was not lost on me.)

By no means do I believe that Ms. Sadler was intimating that body shaming of anyone is acceptable; however it got me thinking about how easily we criticize one another, particularly around our outward appearances.

Body shaming, or any shaming of any sort, directed at any human being, is a counterproductive, negative practice that only ensures the race to the bottom of civilized society as we know it. Regardless of the body shape, size or style of the recipient, is it not, by now, an outdated practice that we would all like to see discontinued?

Shame is a scare tactic, not a technique for lasting, positive change.  Click to tweet.

To stop these unhealthy, harmful practices, we can do a few things, but first, we must let go of the belief that our outward appearance – and the exhausting practice of ensuring ageless perfection at all times – is our primary source of worth, value or beauty.

Once we acknowledge that we are more than the skin we’re in, we can begin speaking to ourselves with more kindness and grace and encouraging our daughters, friends and yes, even the men in our families and communities to, instead, see and elevate the true beauty within us all. Regardless of age, shape, gender or race, each of us is a gift to our families, communities and organizations, and to truly lift up these institutions to reach a fuller potential, we must start by building each other up as individuals, and that means stopping with the shame game.

If you have a friend, colleague or family member who could use a dose of positive feedback, take a moment and send them a quick note or share this post. Both of you will be better for it! 

We’d love to hear what’s working in your world that helps stop the shame game and gets the conversation going in a different – and more positive – direction! 

Milk Allergy or Lactose Intolerance?

Diary allergy, cows milk, health coach atlanta, gluten free, food allergy, kids with allergies
Diary allergy, cows milk, health coach atlanta, gluten free, food allergy, kids with allergies
photo cred: petakids.com

Let’s talk about a very important topic: recognizing food allergies, specifically a dairy allergy.

Over the past few weeks, milk & dairy allergies has been at the forefront of many conversations with clients to colleagues to a guy at the car dealership. (I know, crazy, isn’t it!?)

One thing was clear from all these conversations. Distinguishing an allergy from lactose intolerance is not as easy or as talked-about as it should be.

Let’s consider this very common scenario: After explaining your or your child’s allergy to milk and dairy, the friend/hostess/colleague replies with an understanding nod and “oh, you’re (your child is) lactose intolerant?”

Until recently, the only physical response to milk that made the news was indeed lactose intolerance, so we can’t blame the friend/hostess/colleague for assuming she was understanding and empathizing properly. She really doesn’t know the difference between an allergy to dairy and an intolerance to lactose, and it’s important we understand the basic science, symptoms and solutions of each as they become more prevalent.

Here’s the skinny on how to recognize an allergy vs. intolerance.

Lactose Intolerance
Symptoms: gassy, digestive tract discomfort, diarrhea, abdominal pain within a short time of consuming the food ( 30 minutes – a few hours)

Potential Solutions: Lactaid, Lactose-free milk, Lactase supplement, dairy-free diet, milk alternatives

Lactaid products, lactose intolerance, health coach, gluten free, food allergy, kid with milk allergy, milk allergy, health coach atlanta
A Variety of Lactose-Free options

The Story: As we age, our natural production of lactase, the digestive enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk so that it may be digested, declines.

If we can’t produce the lactase to break down the lactose, then the lactose stays in the digestive tract, acts as a laxative, and results in gas and loose stools within a few hours of intaking dairy. This is why Lactaid or lactose-free products are more easily digested by those who are lactose intolerance; a lactase insufficiency can be eased by lactase-enriched products, like Lactaid.

Milk Allergy, on the other hand, is a bit different.

Milk Allergy
Symptoms: Rashes, congestion/runny nose, itchy mouth/throat, hives, abdominal pain or any other combination of an immunological response

Solutions: Steer Clear of Dairy! And don’t fret, there are a variety of milk alternatives that will allow you or your munchkin to still enjoy cereal, ice cream and mac n’ cheese!Dairy free, allergy to dairy, milk allergy, gluten free, health coach atlanta, kids with food allergy, kid with milk allergy

The Story: Food allergies involve the body’s immune system, which is the body’s way of fighting infection and invaders. However, if you or your child is allergic to a particular food, the immune system sees that food as a danger to the body. The immune system then overreacts to proteins in that food, causing an allergic reaction and a release of histamine. Tingling in the mouth, swelling lips, hives and itchy ears are often symptoms that indicate an allergic reaction.

This type of reaction, in contrast to the digestive reaction to a lactose intolerance, can happen within moments with potentially far worse consequences. Any time you, your child or your guest starts “feeling funny” after consuming any foods, particularly the Big Allergens like gluten, dairy, nuts, shellfish, eggs, etc., get medical attention immediately.

As with any food allergy, it’s always best to steer clear of the food/drink and see your doctor.

For more information on dairy allergies and lactose intolerance, visit the NIH website for lactose intolerance or Kids Health’s article on milk allergies.

As always, we love to hear your questions and comments, so leave us a note below!