Winter has definitely arrived! Here are 10 great healthy and anti-aging skin tips to keep your skin looking fabulous in the colder months….
1. Incredible skin fact – It’s estimated that our skin can absorb more chemicals and toxins than those we ingest from food. Pores are tiny holes in the skin and they are a two-way transport system on the surface of the body . Skin not only expels sweat and oils, it absorbs anything we put on it. Soap, creams, perfume, body sprays and deodorants all enter the body through the pores. And that means any chemicals the products contain also go into your body: and from there into your bloodstream. Blood travels round your body at approximately 200mph: that’s about 4 seconds from your foot to your head. So it’s easy to see that being careful what you use on your skin reduces the chemical load on your system.
2. Nurture your skin – with products that will not damage it, or burden your body with chemicals. There are so many things put in skin products that really shouldn’t be there: artificial scent and colours, chemicals to improve the ‘feel’ of the product, artificial preservatives. e.g. Formaldehyde is a common ‘skincare’ chemical that’s also used for furniture stripping. Mineral oil is refined crude oil, and creates a film on the skin that literally suffocates it. Some shampoos contain chemicals that in high concentrations, actually dissolve hair. Try to choose products with a minimum of ‘nasties’ – it’s often not possible to avoid all. Even organic brands are permitted to have chemical preservatives or a percentage of man made chemicals in them. Look for plant names : usually written in Latin, plant extracts and plant and seed oils.
Great Book: Find out more about chemicals in skin and household products with ‘What’s In This Stuff?’ by Pat Thomas.
Check Online: EWG Skindeep Cosmetic Database gives a 1-10 rating for over 71,000 products with green/amber/red codes. Check specific products: high ratings are usually not across all products in a brand, e.g. the Trilogy oil I recommend below is a 1, but they have another product that’s a 7. It can be eye-opening looking at some major skincare brands.
3. Protect your skin – wrap up in natural fibres like cotton that allow your skin to breathe. Remember those pores in your skin I mentioned? They can’t breathe if you cover up in man made fibres. If you are prone to eczema and rashes when it gets chilly, this could be the reason.
4. Anti-Aging Winter Tip –Trilogy Organic Rosehip Oil . I’ve been recommending this award winning facial oil for 10 years. It’s great to keep mature skin – and skin of any age – protected from the elements . Use it alone or add a couple of drops to moisturizer or foundation. Trilogy have added one with extra antioxidants for even more protection to their range of wonderful skin products.
5. Don’t ditch the SPF – Despite the sun being weaker at this time of year, areas exposed to the elements will thank you for using products with sun protection. Most day creams and foundations now contain sun protection, and it’s wise to use an SPF of 15 and above.
6. Feed Your Skin – Include raw food in your diet: fruit, salads, vegetables. The antioxidants in raw food defend against cell damage. Even though it’s getting colder, it doesn’t mean you should leave salads out until next Spring! Add some warm elements like cooked potato, sauteed mushrooms or a slightly warm salad dressing to add interest. Phytochemicals in fruit and vegetables are plant compounds that also enhance our immune system and help to stabilize hormones. I love to do a warm salad on a big platter with grilled salmon: a mix of whatever salad I fancy, a few olives and warm baby new potatoes, the salmon plonked on top and drizzled with warm homemade dressing (olive or hemp oil, white balsamic vinegar and herbs). No time to cook? You can get great recipe books with express main meals. I’ve got ‘Totally Simple Food’ by Gill Dupleix (ISBN 1-84400-167-9), or EAT by Nigel Slater (ISBN-978-0-00-752615-4). Clear chemicals out of your system with Spirulina – read the article here.
7. Healthy skin from the inside – Guard against the cold weather with a multivitamin supplement. Not only will it help your skin look perfect during the Winter, you’ll be less likely to fall ill with winter colds and infections. Shop smart: Cheap vitamins use cheap ingredients your body can’t use. Instead of supermarket or drug store ‘own’ brands, look for professional quality products: I use Biocare or Lamberts here in the UK.
8. Hydrate your skin – It’s not just in the heat you need water: the wind and cold dries out skin too. As well as water, drink green tea or spiced fruit and herb teas to boost the immune system and support your body over the winter months. Look for natural antiviral/antibiotic ginger and licorice, or systemic tonic herbs like Ginseng or Rhodiola. If you have a sore throat or a cold, sweeten your tea with incredibly healing Manuka honey.
9. Body brush – Your body before a shower or bath with a natural bristle brush. A 5 minute brush, 3 or 4 times a week removes dead skin cells and stimulates your blood and lymph circulation – it’s a great way to wake yourself up in the morning too! Clearing away the dead layer on top means your moisturizers work more effectively. Body brushing also strengthens your immune system and helps to reduce cellulite.
Body Brush Tips: use 6 strokes per section of skin, with medium pressure. Skin should look pink and glowing after, but not red. Always brush towards the heart. Start from the feet, brush up the front and back of legs, up over buttocks, and sides of the body. Up the right side of stomach, across and down the left in a circular movement, following the flow of the large intestine. Brush arms from wrist to shoulder, gently down sides and back of the neck and shoulders. Avoid the face, delicate areas, broken skin and prominent or broken veins.
10. A word on animal testing – If you want to avoid animal testing, products labelled as vegan are the answer. The ‘Not Tested on Animals’ label is not always a guarantee: a company does not have to declare animal testing on outsourced ingredients that they put into their brands.
What I use: My biggest ‘chemical load’ saving is household products: I dust with a water spray with essential oils of Bergamot and Spearmint (it smells divine): it’s a great natural room scent too. I take the spray off chemical cleaners and use them with a cloth to avoid breathing in the invisible cloud. Skincare products are as ‘nasty’ free as possible, but it isn’t possible to eradicate them all – I use nutrition to chelate chemicals and clear them out of my system.
Enjoy looking fabulous! If you have any questions, just ask via our contact page.
Elaine Bartlett, Dip. ITEC, Nut. CERT. Faceworks founder and Natural Health Therapist