Woman showering

Shower Habits That Damage Your Skin

Spoiler alert! If you enjoy taking steamy hot showers, do not read this article. To many of us, a hot steamy shower is the high point of our day. The little cubicle, your own private haven, the steam, unknotting the stress in your muscles and opening the pores of your skin. The acoustics of the tile, providing just the right amount of echo to make the renditions of your favorite pop songs almost listenable. How can this be wrong?

Unfortunately, pleasurable as they may be, long hot showers can be damaging to your skin. While there are ways to mitigate the damage, it may involve making small sacrifices. Read on to find out which shower habits may be harming your skin, if you dare.

Water Temp is Too High
While the water temperature may offer short-term pleasure, the long term effects may be less enjoyable. Hot water can strip skin of its natural oils, drying it out, and causing possible discomfort. Those with eczema should be especially wary of very hot showers, as the skin barrier of eczema sufferers is already weak. If you really can’t live without the steam, try blasting the hot water, allowing steam to build and them decreasing the temperature of the water before it comes into contact with your skin.

Dirty towels

Dirty Towels
Even though it may seem that we emerge from the shower clean and bacteria free, this is not the case. Dead skin cells transfer to towels and can result in growth of bacteria, and even mold. Wash towels regularly and try and leave them in a dry, well-lit environment to cut down on bacterial growth.

Harsh Soap
Although antibacterial soaps are great for stripping pores of dirt and bacteria, it may also strip skin of natural oils and good bacteria that helps skin to maintain a balanced pH level. While antibacterial soaps may work well on your hands, they are not recommended for all over cleansing. Also, you may want to swap the bar soap for a moisturizing, natural body wash. Bar soaps can accumulate bacteria from sitting in a wet, dimly lit shower.

Showering Without Moisturizer
Showers provide the best opportunity for moisturizing, and one that you should definitely take advantage of. Warm water opens the pores, allowing water to hydrate skin and allowing the moisturizer to lock the hydration in. For optimal results, use a soap that contains moisturizing ingredients in addition to your regular lotion.

Woman scrubbing

Overscrubbing
Scrubbing should not be confused with exfoliation. Roughly textured bathing accessories, such as shower brushes and loofahs, can break healthy skin cells, leaving behind raw patches on your skin. These tools also collect bacteria, which, when combined with vulnerable skin, is a recipe for damage. Use mild loofahs and try to keep exfoliation down to once or twice a week.

Hard Water
Unfortunately, the water most of us shower with is “hard.” This means it has chemicals and mineral to purify it. While this makes it safe for showering, it may not be the best thing for our skin, and may clog pores and strip skin of natural oil. However, you can avoid this by purchasing a shower head with a water filter to keep the hard stuff out.

What do you think? Is good skin worth the sacrifice? What price is too much for a great shower? Let us know!

Woman having a bath

Adult Bath Time Is Good For Stress

“The boss! The baby! The dog! That does it! Calgon! Take me away!” You may remember the classic 1970’s Calgon commercials. A woman comes home, the image of her angry cigar -smoking boss still fresh in her mind, her crying child and barking dog, still taunting her memory. It all melds into a spinning wheel of confusion; the woman throws up her hands in frustration.The scene changes. The same woman in a bath filled with Calgon bath bubbles. The soothing voiceover encouraging her to lose herself in luxury. The stress formerly seen in the woman’s face replaced by a blissful expression. She has found her escape.

For years, bath times have been viewed as a source of stress relief. The warm water, the soothing scent, all calling up a sense of comfort and intense relaxation. Are you more than ready to make your bath time into a tranquil escape from insanity? Here’s all you need to know about perfecting your adult bathing experience.

Set the Mood
You know lighting is a very important part of atmosphere. Ditch those regular wall lights and get experimental. Try some old fashioned candles or tea lights which you can strategically place all around your bathroom; just keep them away from the towels!

Crank Some Tunes
Music is a crucial element when it comes to relaxation, just make sure it’s something you like. You can get sassy with Beyonce or Adele, or go more traditional with some classical movement. If heavy metal is more your thing, just make sure you don’t rock all the water out of your bath!

Snacks
You can’t relax if your hungry and you sure don’t want to leave the bath to search through your kitchen, so make sure to have some of your favorite snacks on hand, just make sure your chips don’t end up floating next to your rubber ducky!

Temperature
The optimal temperature is an absolute must if you want to achieve bath time nirvana. 33.3 degrees celsius is the recommended water temperature; it should not exceed 38.3, which will be too hot and may leave you feeling drowsy.

Woman with red wine in bath

Red Wine
Red, red wine, it makes you feel so fine. Not only might you want to sip while you soak, but you may want to actually mix the wine with the bath water. It will not only smell great, but it will treat your skin to some beneficial antioxidant action.

Don’t Dehydrate
Just because you’re soaking in water, it doesn’t mean you are safe from dehydration. You might be surprised at the amount of perspiration a body can produce in a hot bath. Have a cool glass of water on hand and it may be useful to keep a flannel and jug of water close by so you can make yourself a cold compress if you start to feel sweaty.

Face Mask
While you’re pampering, why not apply a face mask? It will nourish and cleanse the skin on your face while the bath does the same to the skin on your body.

Self Massage
While your muscles are relaxing, you might as well address the problem spots. You can use a water proof ball resting it against a solid surface, while exerting pressure on it evenly. The water will help to control the degree of intensity you apply.

Bath Oils
The type of bath oils you chose may effect the type of benefits your bath can give. Lavender oil is known to encourage sleep and sandalwood oil can help relieve anxiety. Just add about ten drops when the bath is half full to allow even distribution and a sufficient amount of scent.

Support Your Head
The last thing you want is a stiff neck when you’re trying to relax. Fold up a couple of towel for a makeshift pillow.

How do you like your bathing experience? Do you have some anti-stress tips for us? We’d love to know!

Woman headache

Triggers For Cool Weather Pain

You may have heard the expression, “kill the messenger,” and indeed that may have been what you wanted to do when, on Groundhog’s Day, this year, the prognosticating rodent came out of his whole and saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter. As American columnist and author, Bill Vaughn once said, “The groundhog is like most other prophets, it delivers its prediction and then disappears.”

Although many of us have our own reasons to wish for the early end of winter weather, it is especially understandable for those of us who suffer from cold weather pain. However, if you are included in this number, there may be some precautions you can take before you go on a bloodthirsty hunt for old Punxsutawney Phil. Here are some common triggers of cool weather discomfort you may be able to avoid.

Winter Air
The two main sources for skin hydration are healthy fats and moisture from the air. However, when the air gets dry, there is less moisture for the lips and skin to absorb, which can lead to chapping and flaking. Lip licking can exacerbate the problem and lead to cold sores and dehydrated skin can crack and even bleed, leading to possible infection.

Barbara Doty, MD and family physician says, “Develop the habit of caring for your skin on a daily basis. Have easy access to lip balm, use a good moisturizer, and avoid excessive use of soap.”

Woman shovelling snow

Shoveling Snow
According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, about 11,500 people are treated for snow shoveling injuries yearly, and the wetter the snow, the heavier it is. Sandra Fryhofer, MD explains, “Shoveling puts strain on your heart. If you have heart problem get someone else to do it.”

However, even if your heart is in good condition, you need to take precautions. Fryhofer suggests waterproof shoes and an ergonomically designed shovel, which is lightweight and has a curved shaft to help keep your back straight when you use it, Dr. Doty advises that you, “Pick up smaller portions of snow for less weight per shovel.” It is also best to use your legs rather than your back to lift and to shovel in both directions, rather than in one, to avoid strain.

Dark Days
Headaches are signs of seasonal affective disorders. According to Laura Knobel, MD, changes in barometric pressure can trigger migraines and less sunlight can cause a vitamin D deficiency, which has been linked to an increase of headaches in the winter and fall.

“If headaches are due to lack of sun,” says Dr. Knobel, “natural spectrum lights can make a big difference for some people.” She also suggests using garden grow lights to grow indoor plants as a relief from winter blues, adding, “Seeing the seedlings grow can give you hope that spring is on its way.”

Woman coughing

Dehydration
Dehydration is a problem in winter as well as summer. Not drinking enough water can make you achy because it prevents the body from processing waste products efficiently.

Try to maintain a healthy water intake by sticking to plain water rather than warm caffeinated drinks, like black and green tea or water. Dr, Doty warns against caffeinated beverages, “which are diuretics,” and leave bodies at a hydration deficit.

Colds
Of course one of the biggest causes of winter pain is the common cold, or flu, and the dry air can make it worse. Doty says, “In winter, nasal passages get plugged more easily, and with a lot more mucus, it can get irritated down in the back of your throat, which means you can’t clear it as well.” To avoid sickness, get your annual flu shot if you haven’t already and try natural remedies and get plenty of rest to soothe symptoms.

Are you thinking of throwing rocks at the groundhog? If so, we want to hear from you. What are your most common cold weather pain triggers and how do you avoid them? Let us know!

woman with healthy skin in the fall

Tips For "Fall Proof" Skin

“To everything there is a season” and to every season there is a new skin regimen. In the summer, we sun proof, in the winter, we moisturize, and in the fall? What do we do in the fall? If you got questions, we got answers.

Fall is rough on the skin because it is a time of transition. Not only is the drying weather a problem, but new routines and busier schedules put our complexions under stress. Our skin is subject to imbalances such as, flakiness, and eczema breakouts and dryness. Here are some ways to prepare and keep your skin beautiful in this season of change.

1. Buy A Humidifier
One of the the reasons autumn is so dehydrating is drop in the humidity level. Dryness leads to inflammation, which is why rosacea and eczema are so prevalent in the fall months. The solution? Bring the humidity back with a humidifier. Use humidifiers to boost the moisture level in the home or office and increase hydration. It may also reduce redness and increase comfort levels.

2. Slather On The Oil
Nourish dry skin with some natural oil. Not only does oil help to maintain the skin’s elasticity, it decreases trans-epidermal water-loss. Worried about worsening acne? Don’t be. Lubricating skin loosens dry, pore- clogging sebum and helps to bring balance to acne prone skin. It is important that when choosing an oil, you aim for one with natural ingredients; mineral oil will not absorb as well. Your best options are olive, jojoba, and coconut oil.

3. Hydrate
Moisturize from the inside as well as the outside. Hydration includes the increased consumption of foods like moisture-rich fruits, leafy greens, and healthy fats. Soups and stews are great for you and great for the season. Avoid dehydrating dry meats, alcohol, starches, and caffeine.

4. Feel The Peel
Exfoliate! It gets rid of dead skin and clears pores allowing the skin to absorb oils and moisturizing elements to replenish skin and prevent dry skin patches form appearing. Peeling is also crucial for circulation and keeps skin looking young. While you may choose to use an intense scrub on your body, you may want to use a gentler product on the face.

5. Stimulate Circulation
Cold weather constricts the blood vessels making for dull looking skin. Strong blood flow transports waste from our skin cells while delivering oxygen, keeping skin healthy and bright. Use skincare with ingredients such as lemon, oil, Vitamin C, ginseng, and ginger. These will help to restore color, improve circulation and increase collagen for anti aging.

6. Nurture Your Skin
Pamper yourself with a facial. The pore extracting elements will help to purify skin and the massage portion with boost blood flow and brightness. Masking treatments can be tailored to your beauty needs and aid in stress relief.

If you have any fall skin tips, please share. We welcome your insight!

Woman in a park

One a Day for Health

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We have all heard the phrase, and we know it’s about more than just apples! Making healthy choices every day can be hard, but consistently doing things each day to make healthy habits is the best thing you can do for your physical and mental health. There are all kinds of little things you can do each day to help you lead a healthier lifestyle!

Woman drinking water

Drink Water!
Whether you think 8 cups, a gallon, or some other amount is best, drinking one glass of water in the morning is a perfectly simple way to get ahead for the day. Whatever your goal is, starting your day with one glass of water down is going to make it so much easy to reach it!

Start Your Day with Green Tea
Green tea has caffeine, so it is a great choice for a morning pick-me-up. Unlike coffee, green tea can actually help you stay hydrated, as well as give you a boost of energy. Green tea also jump starts your metabolism and is rich in antioxidants- who wouldn’t want to add this stuff in their routine?

Woman exercising

Do Something Active for At Least 30 Minutes
This can be anything! Even going for a short walk can boost your energy and metabolism. Doing yoga, going for a bike ride, exploring your neighborhood, or taking a spin class are also great ways to be more active every day. Mix it up and try new things so you stay motivated and excited to get your 30 minutes (or more) of activity every day!

Replace One Unhealthy Food with a Healthy One
Dieting is hard. It’s certainly not fun to always be thinking about what you eat, more specifically what you can’t eat. A simple way to ease into making better diet choices is to simply replace one unhealthy food with something more nutritious each day, and working up from there if you choose. This could be as simple as choosing a good old-fashioned coffee instead of a sugary coffee drink, or skipping the pop tart and opting for a smoothie in the morning. This method keeps dieting from getting overwhelming and breaks it down to each meal or snack. Creating good habits that are satisfying and manageable is really the only way to turn a diet into a lifestyle change.

Woman drinking wine

Drink a Glass of Wine!
This one is our favorite. It is no secret now, after new studies have shown all of the possible benefits of resveratrol, that drinking wine can actually be healthy. This antioxidant just so happens to be found in the skins of red grapes, so when we drink wine, we are getting a healthy dose of resveratrol, which can improve heart health, protect your cells from damaging free radicals, and prevent muscle fatigue!

Making an effort to add healthy habits to your daily routine can work wonders when it comes to improving your overall health. The best part is, as you can tell by this list, not every healthy habit is going to be difficult or unpleasant! Some are downright fun (thank you resveratrol)! So don’t ditch the apples, but there are tons of other little things you can do each day for your health!