December 1, 2011

winter: holiday skin

Four things nice and easy things to do for your skin in the winter, that cost nothing and are long-term more effective than regular visits to a spa (seriously):

1. do keep drinking water. Even though you don't noticeably sweat, you still sweat. The air is much drier in the winter both inside and out so hydrate from the inside.

2. Do your skin a favor and take one day per week off from showering. I'm not suggesting a Steve-Jobs-lets-not-shower-for-weeks inducing your boss to put you on solitary nightshifts.  But one day a week lets the natural oils your skin produces stay on and protect on your skin.

Shower abstinence in the summer is not such a great idea because, well, it's hot and sticky and showers are refreshing. But winter is the ideal season to give your skin a holiday from water and suds (which, depending on the quality of your tap water, dries out your skin to varying degrees). I prefer weekends since skipping the wake-me-up effect on a weekday morning (when it's still dark outside) will not get me going..at all.

3. When you do shower, exercise your skin with a contrast shower: Begin with warm water. When you've done all the  suds/soap/shower gel thing and have rinsed it all off, turn on the cold water and shower for two minutes cold, then warm again, then cold again. Always end with a cold shower.

How to do it best: If you have a shower hose, start with the right foot, moving the nozzle up the right leg to the hip, then left leg, then right arm (hand first), left arm, finishing with the torso, neck and face. Last by not least, run the stream of cold water over the right sole of your foot (from heel to toes), then the left to finish off. I forget why but I learned that once at a spa I went to. It's great. Exercises the skin (elasticity!), gets the circulation going and totally helps the immune system. Colds will be a thing of the past. True story.

4. Take a day off using deodorant. You have sweat glands in your armpits for a reason: to expel toxins. If you stop them up with anti-perspirants all the time, those toxins stay inside the body. I'm no scientist but common sense (and some articles) leads me to believe excessive use of anti-perspirants is related to breast cancer. I totally get the angst sweat high-stress situation activates the sweat glands hence one needs deodorant -  but give it a rest on the weekend. And try to go for deodorant as opposed to anti-perspirant. Better.

Make the above part of your normal routine and you will definitely notice an improvement in skin elasticity, hydration and overall skin health.

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