Around this time of year, we all start gearing up for the cold, blustery days of winter.
Like squirrels gathering nuts, we scamper about with our wintertime To Do Lists: check antifreeze in car, clean out gutters, have chimney cleaned, stock up on hot chocolate, break out cuddly PJs and woolens… the list varies from household to household, person to person- but one thing almost always gets left off the list universally and without fail: the all-important act of winterizing OURSELVES.
But just how do we do this- and why does it even matter?!
The short answer: It’s not as difficult as it sounds- and it matters- A LOT.
The long answer goes like this:
With the passage of time, especially as we enter our 30s and 40s, our bodies begin to change: metabolism slows, circulation becomes a bit sluggish, sebum production (the oily/waxy protective coating of the skin) declines and the skin begins to dry out- becoming noticeably less vibrant and radiant. Pores enlarge during this time too. Oddly enough, the wintertime climate mimics these age-related changes and can exacerbate most of them.
Winter demands that we make peace with the elements- and calls us to shift the pace of our daily life. What better time to hunker down, slow down- and take extra good care of ourselves? If this sounds appealing- or makes good sense to you- here’s what you need to know to ensure that as the cold, gray days draw near, you and your skin remain rosy, radiant and ravishing:
Central Heating, blazing fires in fireplaces, coupled with the general lack of humidity now found in the air outside, cause significant moisture loss throughout the body and especially within skin tissues.
For achieving Personalized Hydration, here’s your Rosetta Stone: take your body weight, divide this number by half. This number then becomes the number of ounces of water per day you need.
Example: Say you weigh 140 pounds. Half of 140 is 70. You then need 70 ounces of high quality water per day to be properly hydrated.
It ain’t exactly rocket science but I promise you this little equation will make a world of difference in how you look and feel- ESPECIALLY now! Now when we tell you to DRINK we mean HYDRATING fluids: water, green tea, herbal teas… we do NOT mean toddies, coffee, or wine!
Exfoliate regularly- yet gently.
Dead skin cells can build up over time and trap oil and cellular debris, causing blackheads, whiteheads and pustules to form. Not attractive or healthy looking!
To make matters worse, this cellular debris can build up on the surface of the skin and stop moisturizers and other skin treatments from penetrating effectively or being of benefit, creating a vicious cycle of dull, dryness leading to more dull dryness. Regularly exfoliation- especially of maturing skin- can make a world of difference not only during the autumn/winter seasons but year round!
For maximum results it is suggested that exfoliation take place after cleansing and before toner application, on this regular schedule:
Oily/Combination Skin: 3 to 4 times per week depending upon degree of oiliness and number of breakouts occurring.
Sensitive Skin: no more than 2 times per week after cleansing and before applying Toner.
Dry/ Maturing Skin: no more than 3 times per week after cleansing and before Toner application, buffing gently.
It’s important to use exfoliating formulations that are designed to be effective- yet gentle and please, avoid the sensitive eye area.
EAT HEALTHY FATS- and lots of them!
Yes, you heard right. The truth remains that in today’s world: FAT is a four letter word and should be avoided at all costs- but nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to your health or beauty!
In actuality, the right fat- in the right amount can be a powerful, potent beauty and health elixir- especially during the dark, gloomy and DRY days and nights of winter. Just a few months ago in this very magazine, we discussed the importance of the Essential Fatty Acids especially during Peri menopause and Menopause. In case you missed that article, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of this all important subject:
Fats are required by the body to function optimally and in order to get ample amounts of the essential ones, must be supplied through a sufficient diet and supplementation program. The body does not manufacture Essential Fatty Acids on its own.
EFA’s are present in the cellular membranes of every single cell of the human body- so it’s easy to see how important they are!
Essential Fatty Acids work to combat aging and oxidative stress at the cellular level, allowing body cells to nourish and rejuvenate themselves. Some of these rejuvenated cells happen to be skin, hair and nail cells, so carrying this logic one step further, it becomes quite clear that these Omega fats are in fact Beauty Fats.
Getting plenty of these high quality fats in your diet should be a year round focus for you but during the autumn/winter months boosting your fat consumption will help your skin stay moisturized and hydrated.
Eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, flax oil, raw nuts and seeds- especially sunflower, walnut and hemp- fish/ fish oil, grass fed meat and butter, ghee, unprocessed/ fresh ground nut butters (avoid peanut), avocados… all of these are your best friends and should be in your diet in ample amounts if skin health and beauty are your primary goals. Women do themselves NO favors by adhering to low fat diets!
And last but not least,
Switch to a heavier moisturizer until springtime next rolls around and make certain you moisturize day and night.
If you use a humidifier in your home, please make certain it is NOT breeding bacteria! Check for mold and fungus often.
If you use a wood-burning stove in your home, place a kettle of fresh water on the top of the stove so that it will release steam into the air while keeping you warm and toasty. This will help your skin stay hydrated- as well as your nasal tissues.
Use an emollient rich lip balm –regularly.
If you follow these skin-friendly guidelines you won’t be a parched prune by the time April rolls around! Now that your To Do List is complete, let me congratulate you- and be the first to wish you a most magical and delicious season of chilly delights!
By Carrie E. Pierce – Original Article from Kalon Women November 2012 Issue