Glowing Skin in Time for Spring

by Annegret Pfeifer

As there is certainly no gardening this weekend in Montana, why not spend some time to set up a routine that will get your skin glowing for spring - it will make for a fabulous weekend, despite all the fresh snow!

Interesting Skin Facts

Let's start with some notable information. Our skin is the largest organ of our body and the primary physical barrier between our body and the environment. Besides the physical it is also a chemical barrier that interacts between the body and its environment. 

Did you know that up to 60% of what you apply to your skin will get absorbed directly into your blood stream? Unlike food, ingredients of oils and lotions do not get broken down or neutralized by your saliva and stomach acids or filtered out by your kidney and liver. In fact, active ingredients applied to your skin are almost 10 x more effective than if you digest or inhale them. Just think of a Nicotine patch or medicated hormone creams. Thus, to us, it is of the utmost importance to know what we apply to our skin and how it affects our body and organs.This why we are so passionate about making body care as natural as possible.

Keep in mind that there are three areas of your skin with an absorption rate higher than 60%.

Do you know which ones those are? You might initially think the thin areas of the skin, yet this is not necessarily so. The top three are the scalp, the palms of the hands and the soles of your feet. This is the reason why one should watch out for healthy ingredients in shampoo, especially the ones for babies and small children, in hand sanitizers and in foot crèams.

Now, how can you take care of your skin after a long dry and cold winter? The number one skin issue in the winter we hear is dry and flaky skin.The second one is skin irritations, often caused as a result of dry skin. Dry skin can be caused by many factors – chemical exposures to harsh washing detergents, environmental exposure like cold, sun, wind, smoke, nutritional deficiencies (such as the lack of essential fatty acids) and the lack of hydration – topical and internal.


Hydrating - let's get started right now

Before we continue, why don't you pour yourself a glass of water. ... Got it? Good! The sufficient hydration of our body is easily neglected, yet it is responsible for flushing out toxins and waste material of our body, including through the skin. Sufficient hydration plumps up the skin and lets it appear with less wrinkles. 

Proper hydration does this quite nicely, and naturally. A rule of thumb in our society has been to consume about 8 x 8fl oz of liquid during the day.That would be 8 cups. Start out the morning with a glass of water instead of coffee and keep drinking 7 more cups throughout the day. If you really want to reinforce the healthy habit, write down how your body feels after 5 days of this routine and examine your skin closely as well. I bet that this change in itself will already make a huge difference if you were lacking hydration before.


Exfoliation - wonderful quick results

For immediate results, exfoliation of the skin is a wonderful routine to slough off grey, dead skin cells and expose fresh and younger looking skin. Exfoliation of dead skin cells also avoids  clogged pores and breakouts. Done gently, yet regularly, it will give immediate results that will have your friends marveled about your healthy looking skin.

Let’s look at methods of exfoliation that can easily be done in a home spa environment.

Dry Brushing

This is one of my favorite methods to exfoliate my skin, as it is so invigorating to my body. Done in gentle circular motions it also invigorates the lymph system and helps the body to detoxify itself. Just dry brushing your skin 3 x a week will not only put you on the path toward glowing skin, but also a tighter, healthy looking skin. Jeanette Cheney from the Wellness Education Center in Kalispell wrote some neat instructions for Dry Brushing and it’s wealth of benefits that you can download here.

Scrubs

Another favorite of mine are sugar and salt scrubs.You can make them at home or buy lovely creations. I like the experience of different ingredients and scents myself. They sure liven up the shower experience. Scrub your skin gently, by moving the product in circular motion over your skin, without pressing so hard that your skin itself moves. Scrubs that are made with natural oils also tend to moisturize the skin at the same time – often no lotion or body oil is needed after the shower.


Moisturizing - let your skin soak up some goodness

Make sure to moisturize your skin with an effective moisturizer after each washing . As described in our journal Body Lotion Secrets 101 , standard body lotions can have up to 85% of water in their formulas. Thus, due to the evaporation effect of the water, your skin will get more dried out than hydrated with each lotion application. Look for lotions and cremes  that have a high ratio of botanical oils for moisturizing your skin and protecting it from environmental exposure throughout the day - not just for a few minutes. You should be able to feel the soothing effect of a good moisturizer still hours after it's application. 

Nutrition - to avoid dry and tired looking skin

Dry skin can not only be caused by chemical exposures, such as washing detergents, environmental exposure such as cold air and wind or the lack of hydration.  It can also stem from nutritional deficiencies. One crucial building block for healthy skin are essential fatty acids. 

External - look for ingredients in your skin care that is high in essential fatty acids to soothe dry and irritated skin.  Such ingredients would be between others. The oils of Sunflower, Safflower, Avocado, Jojoba, Grapeseed, Olive and even more effective Vitamin E, Evening Primrose , Argan, Rosehip Seed, Royal Jelly, Pomegranete, Lavender, Neem, Geranium ... are good hydrating oils that deliver essential fatty acids to your cells. Those oils absorb quickly into your skin, making it look glowing and healthy.

Internal - To go beyond skin deep, add fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet as well as nuts and seeds. Keep latter two stored in the fridge to ensure the freshness and effectiveness of the essential fatty acids. Good nutrition in general is rich in vitamins, fiber and essential fatty acids which will reduce inflammation in the body and make your skin look less stressed.

Invigoration - the final touch for healthy skin appearance

Exercising 

To help flush out metabolic waste, exercising will pump oxygen through the skin cells.  Yet, it is also helps to tighten the fatty tissue and give a more plump appearance of the skin.  Regular exercise will have a dramatic effect not only on the glow of your skin, but also the firmness of the fatty tissue underneath the skin.  Walking briskly, running, swimming  and biking are some great exercises to get your cardiovascular system going and your fatty tissue invigorated.  And, as much convincing as it might cost you to get up and going, have you ever regretted to have exercised?  Speaking for myself - never.  Moving your body briskly has also an amazing calming effect on your psyche, reduces your adrenaline levels and results in better sleep. There is nothing not to love about regular exercise.  Pick the one you like best and make sure to switch up your routine to keep it fun and invigorating for your mind as well.

A Cold Shower

In the winter we all like to take a  hot shower - an effective treat to shake off a Montana winter chill.  However, hot showers open up the skin's pores and are super drying for the skin. Yet, once your body is warm, you can finish the shower with cold water.  The  icy cold water will not only close the skin pores, but also invigorate your circulatory and vascular system, making you feel refreshed and invigorated for hours to come.  Forget the second coffee, it will be not needed anymore. 


You see, while healthy glowing skin is based on good exfoliation and an effective moisturizer, it also needs a healthy and invigorating lifestyle. Why not finish up that glass of water and enjoy a walk in nature that is just about to wake up for this season? You and your skin will love it.