Woman weight training

Try Weight Training For A Flatter Belly

Over the years, we have watched the shirts get higher and the pants get lower. Unless our dryers are just getting more powerful, there seems to be an American obsession with the abdominal area. If Gwen Stefani and Beyonce are any indication, midriff exposure may be the new black. And we all know that dedication to fashion can take hard work. If you want to show off your killer abs, you have to have the killer abs to show. Weight training is a great way to get your belly in shape so you can model the latest crop top/ hip hugger combo. Here’s how!

Spot Reduction Demystified
It may seen logical that exercising one part of your body is the best way to trim fat from the area; hence, performing crunches will strengthen the abdomen. The truth is, that while crunches may provide for a more toned appearance, they won’t burn fat around your stomach. If your goal is weight loss, you need to burn more calories than you ingest, and burning calories includes a strong aerobic component. Circuit training is a great way to combine aerobics with strength training.

Circuit Training
Circuit training includes a variety of exercises performed consecutively without rest in between. It helps to calories and raises the heart rate. Combined with a healthy diet, circuit training can help you burn fat all over your body, belly included.

Circuit Training Exercises
You can include almost any type of weight training exercise into your circuit, as long as you keep moving for a minimum of twenty minutes. Lifting free weights and using exercise machines are both acceptable circuit training activities, however, because you want to avoid taking breaks, you may not want to do multiple barbell exercises that require the addition or removal of weights or any machines that have to be set up.

Vary Muscle Groups
For best results, you should give your muscles 48 hours to heal between sessions. You might choose to do a full body workout every two days, or work your lower body on one day and your upper body the next.

Abdominal Exercises

  1. Barbell Crunches: Lie on an incline bench face up. Your knees should be on the bend of the bench and your feet should be below the foot pads. Use an overhand grip to hold a barbell with your arms extended upward and your hands a shoulder width apart. Exhale, curling your upper body in the direction of the ceiling keeping your arms vertical and your lower back on the bench. Inhale and lower yourself back to the starting position.
  2. Dumbbell Pullover: Lie down face up with your upper back across the bench and your feet pressed flat to the floor. Your body should be straight from your shoulders to your knees. Grip the dumbbell with both hands and extend arms past your head horizontally. Exhale while lifting the dumbbell over the upper chest, then inhale while you return the weight to its starting point.
  3. Low Pulley: Lie on the floor in front of a low pulley machine and attach the straps to both your ankles and the low pulley. Grab a support behind your head. Exhale and bring your knees to your chest using your hips and knees, and then your lower back. Inhale and return to starting position.

Are you doing circuit training to keep that six pack firm? Let us know how you do it, send us every sweaty detail.

woman with junk food

Give Up These Dead Foods In 2017

“Dead” food is the newest title given to food that has had the life packaged, preserved, or cooked out of it, to the point where it has become sadly void of virtually all nutritional value. If you are interested in healthy eating, you will probably want to identify and avoid foods give this monicker.

What is Dead Food?
Dead food refers to processed food or food without nutrients. It is called dead because it has been refined to a point that it is bereft of minerals, vitamins, and fibers. However, dead food is in no way inedible. In fact, it is extremely tasty and easy to digest. Herein lies the problem. At least half of what we eat is “dead food” and its causing our bodies to store fat, which leads to inflammation. Inflammation is a prime source of diabetes, strokes, and cancer.

Fillers: Fillers are the items like white rice, bread, sugar, soft drinks, and chips, otherwise known as the staples of most American diets.
Processed Food: Anything preprepared, like frozen dinners, desserts, and snacks.
Fast Food: Almost anything you get at fast food chain restaurants.

What is Living Food?
Live food is raw, or uncooked food. It is considered alive because when food is cooked certain enzymes are denatured, or killed. Hence, raw food is food which still has working enzymes. Enzymes are responsible for doing all the work inside a cell. Denaturization usually occurs when food is heated over 105 degrees.

Dead Foods To Give Up In 2017

Energy Bars
Although energy bars are often promoted as health food, nutritionists more commonly think of them as candy bars with protein thrown in, which makes for poor taste and texture combined with refined sweeteners and preservatives. You are better off with an almond nut mixture.

Veggie Chips
More junk food in disguise! Veggie chips are a perfect example of good food gone bad. They are traditionally deep fried in oils and become denatured by light, oxidation, and heat. Stick to raw dried kale chips as a healthier alternative.

Agave Nectar
The name may sound natural, but the product is anything but. The chemical used for the manufacture of agave nectar is almost the same as the corn refiners used to make high-fructose corn syrup. Agave nectar goes through a chemical process that converts it into 70 percent pure fructose. Fructose is linked to fatty liver disease, obesity and has been known to break down collagen in the skin.

What are some “dead” foods you’re giving up for 2017? And what are you thinking of replacing them with? Let us know your take on the whole thing!

Woman de-cluttering

The Calm That Comes When You De-Clutter

When Madonna proclaimed herself “A Material Girl” in the 1984 song of the same name, she was surely not the first or last to claim a preference for excess. Men and women alike have been singing the praises of material possessions since time immemorial. In 1953, Marilyn Monroe paid tribute to jewelry with her performance of “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” and, Little Wayne paid his salute to the Benjamins in his 2006 rap single “Make It Rain.”

However, despite the fact that the sentiment, “More is better” is often held as true, sometimes too much can be too much. Clutter is not only a symptom of stress, it can also be a cause of stress. If you are finding yourself getting lost in excess, here is some expert advice.

Why De-Clutter?
According to Peggy Caruso, life coach organization is the key to a less stressful life. However, the New York Times reports that those who suffer from depression, emotional trauma and chronic pain can find cleaning to be a daunting and almost impossible task. If you’re having an especially difficult time attacking the clutter in their home, Caruso suggests starting from the inside.

Steps To An Uncluttered You

1. Clear Your Mind
Because clutter is directly associated with high stress, Caruso suggests that a calm mind is the first step toward an organized home. The coach advises morning meditation as a way to focus your energy and keep you from procrastination.

2.Write Down Your Thoughts
A daily journal will help you to prioritize what needs to be done without distractions.

3.Cut Down On Social Media
Cyber clutter can exist! Negative feeds from people can crowd your life with unnecessary upset. Caruso advises removing the bad blood from your social media to keep energy positive.

4.Be Grateful
If you are thankful for what you already have, you will be less likely to want more. Keep down clutter by taking a moment each day to count your blessings; it will also help you forget your problems and get through the day more easily.

5.Make Appointments
While your making appointments for work, take some time to schedule one for yourself. You don’t necessarily have to make one to clean, set some time aside to do something you enjoy, like reading or taking a walk. You owe yourself a little downtime.

6. Decide
Deciding what to hold on to and what to get rid of can be difficult. Caruso advises that you ask yourself three questions when determining the value of an item:

  • Would you want to save this item if there were a fire?
  • Does the item serve a purpose?
  • Does the item make you happy?
  • The answers to these should help you tackle your de-cluttering process.

7. The One Year Rule
s a general guideline, if you haven’t touched it in the last year, you’re not likely to in the next year either. Even if you like those ridiculous shoes that don’t fit, it might be time to get rid of them.

8. Enlist the Family
While you’re doing something good, make yourself and example. De-cluttering with kids can be a valuable lesson in saving and sharing and may make the task more fun for you as well.

Is de-cluttering on your list for the New Year? Let us know how you de-clutter? Provide us with your valuable knowledge!

Woman with 80s double-hair bun style

Bring Back These Old School Trends

Throwback Thursday. The day when everything old is new again. Everyone loves to see pictures of other people before we knew them, before they were cool, or just before they realized that their hairstyle was out of style- especially when the other people are celebrities. Instagrammers can see anything from snaps of Gigi Hadid blowing out candles on her Lakers themed 11th birthday cake, or Taylor Swift at 12 going through her “braids phase.”

Why is it that people love pictures from the past? Research from the University of Southampton found that nostalgia “fostered social connectedness, which subsequently lifted self-esteem, which then heightened optimism.” So with the aim of increasing positivity, let’s look at some old school trends from the past that we want to see again.

School Supplies

The Mead Trapper Keeper
What ever happened to the Trapper Keeper, that loose-leaf notebook with the velcro closures? It held all your class notes, plus had some really cool laminated covers, from Superheroes to unicorns.

Multipoint Pencils
Remember the multi’ point or “push” pencils with the miniature pencil point cartridges? When the lead ran out, you just put the cartridge in the back of the pencil and the next one would slide out of the front. Of course, if you lost one of the points, it became a little difficult to work the pencil.

Rubber Cement
Rubber cement was alleged to stick together anything from wood to constructions paper by dipping the brush (attached to the lid, so you couldn’t lose it.) and applying it to anything you wanted to attach to anything else. Of course, that often meant gluing your fingers together in the process or just letting the product dry up and sort of stick to itself.

Fashion

Drop Crotch Pants
It seems like every boy band in the 80’s were wearing parachute pants, made out of that silky fabric that whistled when you walked. Well, the drop crotch is back and droopier than ever, as you may have noticed on the likes of Kanye West and Justin Bieber, often topped with athletic shorts to complete the fashion statement.

Power Suits
Sharp shoulders, loose pants and a whole lot of swag. In the 1980’s Men and women, from the likes of Don Johnson to Bianca Jagger and Grace Jones effortlessly sported these. Now we can see the power suits resurgence on the everyone from Selena Gomez to the lovely Georgia Jagger.

Crop Tops
Madonna was bearing her midriff way back when she was still a virgin! (or like one.) She’s still doing it today, along with fellow celebs Rhianna and Taylor Swift.

Fast Food

Wendy’s Super Bar
Who doesn’t love unrestricted access to nacho cheese sauce? Maybe not the freshest of fare, but we still miss the chocolate pudding.

The Macdonald’s Pizza
How bad can a pizza be? If you’re one of those who will not eat a pizza that was not made by an Italian, don’t even try to find out. Good-bye, McPizza!

The McDLT
The “hot -side cool- side burger was the first to acknowledge that warm lettuce and tomatoes may not be the tastiest option. Jason Alexander (a.k.a. George Costanza) was in the commercial; unfortunately, not even he could make it stick.

When it comes to nostalgic items that should, or shouldn’t make a comeback, we know we haven’t even cracked the surface. What items do you think should or shouldn’t come back? Let us know!

Women jogging on the beach

Yes, Women Can Be Fit

“I’m not flawless. I have unattractive feet. unruly hair and oversized calves, but I push this body to its absolute limit and it has never let me down.” These are the words of Ironman Chrissie Wellington. Chrissie’s sport of choice is one which entails completing a 3.8 km swim, a 180 km bike ride and a full marathon, consecutively executed. Athletes staggering toward the finish line is not a rarity in this challenge. Wellington won the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in 2007, on her first attempt, easily outperforming many top male athletes. Talk about endurance.

Although women may never be a physically powerful as men in general, recent studies show that women can exercise at the same intensity as men for a longer time. Read on for what these studies show and what this means for ladies.

Why is This Important?
Knowing the differences between the way women and men perform may be helpful in determining which sports are best for each gender. A new paper published in the “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” journal reports that most studies on performance and activity are only done on men. However, the few that do involve women have shown that routines designed for men may not be well suited to women.

Men and Women Are Different
Sandra Hunter, PhD, associate professor of exercise science at Marquette University says, “The bottom line of training or rehab is that you have to fatigue a muscle in order to increase its strength. So if men and women fatigue differently, they should be treated differently.”

Research that women have more strength in their legs after cycling or running for a long time than men. Ladies can also hold isometric contractions (flexing a muscle, making a fist)for longer periods of time at maximum strength as their male counterparts. “We perform these types of subtle contractions all day long,” says Hunter. “They’re important for holding us up, for example, while we’re standing or sitting upright.”

Another reason for women’s increased endurance has to do with their metabolism. Women’s bodies burn fewer carbohydrates and more fat than men, which, as Hunter says, “sets them up to perform potentially for longer periods of time. But they have smaller hearts, smaller muscles and more body fat than men, so it can be hard for them to keep up with men in a sport like running, while in activities like swimming the differences are less important.” Hunter refers to Diana Nyad, “The first person to swim from Cuba to Florida was a woman.”

The Tougher Sex?
While it would be nice to claim it, there is still no hands down winner for the title of “The Tougher Sex,” but for now it is safe to say that women get more points when it comes to withstanding fatigue. However, it is a small victory for women in that they’re being recognized as a force in the athletic arena and that they’re specific concerns are being addressed. Thank you, Chrisse Wellington, et al.

So, what do you think? Does this give women the edge or are men still on top when it comes to sports? Let us know! And, if you’re a female athlete, let us know how you endure!

Woman receiving booster shot

Schedule These Boosters Now

“It might hurt a little but it’ll help a whole lot!” That’s the catchphrase from the “Sid the Science Kid Getting a Shot: You Can Do It!” video clip. The short is designed to make kids who dread getting their vaccinations an idea of what to expect. Of course, the goal of the clip is to make the child more comfortable. Does it work? Well, the needles still look pretty darn scary, but it may help you convince your kid that there is a likelihood of getting a nasal spritz instead of an injection. Also, the song is pretty catchy.

Although most of us associate the thought of vaccinations with cartoon character band- aids and lollipops, there are some important booster shots that adults should not go without. Here are some boosters that you should be thinking about scheduling so that you and your family can stay healthy throughout the year.

Tetanus
If you’ve got a hunky handyman working on a project around the house, you may want to get him a tetanus booster in case he gets a wound or cut. Men under the age of 59 are three times more prone to get tetanus because that have not had their booster shots. The TD vaccine for tetanus and diphtheria needs to be administered every ten years. Both tetanus and diphtheria are serious diseases that are caused by bacterial toxins. Be sure to get yourself immunized.

Chickenpox (varicella) Chickenpox can be serious if it develops after childhood. Adults who are not already immune should get this vaccination. The chickenpox vaccine requires two doses and is not recommend for pregnant women and individuals with immune system problems.

Hepatitis A
Adults who live in communities where outbreaks of hepatitis A are common, or who are planning to travel to foreign countries in South or Central America are advised to get this vaccine. Adults with risk factors like liver disease should also be vaccinated if they are not previously immune. Hepatitis A is a viral infection affecting the liver and is usually caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Influenza
While no one should go without the flu shot, they are espcially important for individuals with health conditions like heart, lung, or immune system disorders, or asthma, which can be complicated by the flu. Health care workers who work with people at risk for the flu and caregivers of children under 2 are also advised to get the vaccination, as rare pregnant women. The flu vaccine should be repeated each year because the strains of influenza changes each flu season. Healthy, people between 5 and 49 have the option of the nasal- spray vaccine along with the injection, so you’re in luck if your hate needles.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
People born after 1957 may need the MMR vaccination if they aren’t already immune. The vaccine is not for pregnant women or people with immune system disorders and Women should not become pregnant for 28 days after being vaccinated.

If you are at risk of contracting any of these diseases, you should get vaccinated pronto. But don’t worry, if Sid the Science Kid can do it, so can you! Let us know how your vaccinations went. Good luck and keep healthy.

Woman eating pizza

Tips For Avoiding Junk Food

Do you ever wonder how many people watched the movie “Supersize Me'” while eating a huge tub of movie popcorn and sipping a large soda? Do you ever wonder how many shook their heads at the follies of the habitual junk food eater while indulging in the very object of their scorn? We all know that practicing is a lot harder than preaching, but the ugly truth is that, if there is anything to be learned from “Supersize Me” it is this: junk food is bad for you. It is physically harmful and physiologically addictive. If you are fed up with being fed up, here are some tips for avoiding junk food.

1. Over 5? Put it down!
If you see more than five ingredients on a food label, leave it out of your shopping cart. The more ingredients a product contains, the greater the likelihood that it contains processed ingredients.

2. Tricolor
According to a 2012 Cornell University study, people have a preference for a plate of food featuring three different items of three different colors. Keep this in mind the next time you reach for a candy bar. Think more along the lines of fruit slices or mixed nuts. This way, you are getting a better balance of nutrients and a variety of tastes.

3. Make other plans
Does your daily schedule include a mid afternoon trip to the snack bar? If so, try to find yourself taking a healthy five minute walk at that time. You will soon find yourself forgetting all about that daily bag of gummies.

resveralife-tips-for-avoiding-junk-food-fruit-for-dessert
4. Fruit for Dessert
If you can’t get through the day without something sweet, no problem! Make a parfait with fruit and Greek yogurt or freeze some grapes for after dinner.

5. Overchew
Adam Melonas, founder of UNREAL candy says, “If you can make people chew more, they eat less.” When you’re picking food, take chew time into consideration. A nice crisp apple will keep your mouth busy for a while, whereas a whole banana can take under a minute to consume. If you’re looking to keep your mouth busy, the apple is a better choice.

6. Learn Gross Facts About Your Food
Ignorance is bliss! The more you know about processed food, the less likely you are to eat it. For example, frozen chicken breast get their “grill marks” from machines containing vegetable oil. Processed food like Kool Aid and breakfast sausage contain BHA, a preservative that Health and Human Services consider a carcinogen. The BBQ flavor in Baked Lays is made with milk and chicken powder and the vitamin D3 in yogurt is made from sheep’s grease.

woman eating healthy food from fridge
7. Keep the Good Stuff Close, keep the bad stuff out
Make sure to have the healthy foods where you can reach them; in the front of the fridge or on countertops. Be aware of foods that trigger junk food binges and don’t buy them.

If you are a junk food junkie, tell us about your struggle, or if you beat junk food, tell us how you did it. Remember, we love to hear all the facts!

Woman stretching hands after waking up

Wake Up Without That Puffy Feeling

What does the term “Fat Monday” mean to you? In the New Orleans Mardis Gras, it is known as the Monday before Ash Wednesday marking the tradition of the New Orleans carnival king’s arrival. However, to those of us who devote our weekend to gluttony, Fat Monday has a very different, not so celebratory meaning. Is Saturday your cake and cookie night? Do you spend your Sunday afternoons trolling social media with a melting pint of Haagen Dazs? If so, you are probably all too familiar with Fat Mondays. However, Fat Mondays are ok; it’s when Fat Mondays become Fat Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays when you have to start to worry. When you start feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, there may be some simple mistakes you’re making.

1. You eat a late night dinner heavy on carbs and sugar
While a big dinner and dessert may feel like the perfect ending to a perfect day, it might not mean such a great morning after. Meals right before bed time force your body to concentrate on digesting food instead of getting a good night’s sleep. If you want some quality shut-eye, you’re better off eating a small serving of protein and swapping the mashed potatoes and fries for sweet potatoes. The complex carbohydrates and fiber in sweet potatoes will keep you fuller and reduce sugar cravings.

2. You’re eating too many sweets
If you’re getting a sugar high at night, you can expect a crash in the morning. Dawn Jackson Blatner, registered dietician, says, ” Refined, processed and sugary carbs are empty calories.” They require a lot of energy to digest, but leave you depleted of nutrients, Whole grain toast with almond butter can be a better way to fix the sugar craving while getting some nutritional value.

3. You’re eating lean meats and proteins late at night
Blatner says, “Protein takes the longest of any food group to digest, so too much of it will make your body work too hard and not be relaxed enough to get a good night’s sleep. To avoid this, try to get your protein by eating smaller portions of protein rich meals throughout the course of the day, rather than late at night

woman eating fruits at night from fridge
4. You eat too much fruit
Although fruit contains loads of vitamins, it also contains a lot of natural sugar, which can be harmful if you have diabetes and can also lead to a stomach ache. If you want to get your fruit fix, your best off with a handful of cherries, which contain phytochemicals like melatonin, to enhance sleep. Bananas are another great choice.because they contain muscle relaxants like potassium and magnesium to ensure a better sleep.

5. O.J., Coffee, or “Nightcap”
O.J. and coffee are traditional breakfast beverages and should probably remain that way. If you’re prone to acid reflux, orange juice is not the best pre- slumber choice and neither is coffee. Drinking java anytime after 2 p.m. can be enough to impede sleep and even decaf can contain some caffeine. Although alcohol can help to bring on sleep, the quality of the sleep may not be the good, According to Blatner, “Instead of getting a good night’s sleep, your body has to work to metabolize the alcohol. Chamomile or mint teas are both better nighttime options.” If you want a snack before sleep, try to keep it around 150 calories with a little protein so it doesn’t disrupt the sleep cycle and leaves you feeling energized in the morning.

If you’re a pre-bedtime snacker, we’d love to know how you keep the puffiness away? Drop us a line! We love to hear from you!

Woman doing some exercise

Ideal Amount of Exercise

Humorist Dave Barry once said, “Albert Einstein discovered that a tiny amount of mass is equal to a huge amount of energy which is why you have to exercise for a week to work off the thigh fat from a single Snickers.” Although this may be a bit of comedic hyperbole, looking at the calorie burn exercise time ratio can be quite disheartening. For example, according to an infographic, a 490 calorie Big Mac will take the average women over an hour of weightlifting to burn. Wash it down with a soda and that’s about two hours of cardio. With those kinds of figures, you could spend the next few years in a never ending cycle of eating and exercising. So where do we draw the line? How do we decide how much exercise is enough and how much is too much? Here are some hard and fast guidelines that will help you find out the ideal amount of exercise for your body.

How Much Exercise Do I Need?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should be getting thirty minutes of aerobic exercise 5 days a week. But the American College of Sports Medicine says that if you’re are doing a high intensity workout, you can cut that number down to 75 minutes a week with strength training and stretching 2 -3 days a week.

For Weight Loss
If you are looking to drop pounds, a study in JAMA Oncology found that 300 minutes of physical activity each week was the best way to obtain the greatest loss of weight and body fat. However, if that number seems a little out of reach to you, there may be other ways of achieving weight loss goals. Lisa Cadmus- Bertram, Ph., assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin explains, “… for most people, there is more room to cut calorie intake than to expend very large numbers of additional calories.” In other words, the key to success is burning more calories than you are taking in, so if you cut down on food intake, you may be able to avoid spending half a day at the gym.

To Tone Up
To add additional tone, incorporate resistance and strength training. This will help to build muscle and also increase the basal metabolic rate, which is the amount of calories your body will burn calories when it is resting. Also, try to engage in a variety of exercises to challenge your body in different ways.

For Longer Life
By engaging in the 150 minute minute of activity per week with 2 to 3 days of resistance training, you are not only ensuring a fit body, but you are also working to strengthen the lungs and heart, to avoid inflammation and to prevent insulin resistance from developing.

woman sleeping
For Better Sleep
A study of over 2,600 adults found that those who did their recommended amount of physical activity reported a 65% improvement in quality go sleep, were 68% less likely to have leg cramps at night and were 45% less likely to have difficulty focusing when they were tired as compared with individuals that did not get the recommended amount.

In short, aim for 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week and double that if you want to see weight loss results, but in the end it is most important to balance your exercise with food intake and maintain a schedule that works for you. Let us know how you do it. Eat happy and be healthy!

Smiling woman in winter sweater

How to Boost Your Skin’s Winter Radiance

The winter months can quickly take their toll on your skin, zapping it of its radiance. 

Fortunately, there are several ways in which you can boost this back up, resulting in that vibrant winter glow you have always dreamed about. 

Use a Gentler Cleanser

In the warmer months, your skin’s sebaceous glands naturally produce more oil. However, this slows down in the winter. This, coupled with the fact that the dry air outside, as well as inside from artificial heating, is sucking away your skin’s moisture, means that you need to try to retain as much of your natural oils as possible.

Retaining your natural oils will give your skin the radiant glow you’re looking for.

What does this have to do with your cleanser? 

Well, a cleanser is designed to clear away dirt, makeup and, of course, oil from the skin. A stronger and more potent cleanser will do this to a greater extent, stripping away a large portion of the skin’s natural oils. 

In order to prevent that from happening, you need to switch to a gentler cleanser. 

Which cleansers are more gentle? 

Cream cleansers tend to be the best for the winter months, as they add moisture back into the skin while they cleanse. Cleansing oils can also be useful for dry skin, although those with oily skin may find these too heavy. 

Moisturize Your Skin While It Is Still Damp

Want to give your skin an instant boost of radiance? 

This trick is the way to do it, and it also benefits your skin so much. 

After cleansing your skin, whether this may be in the shower or otherwise, make sure that you do not rub your skin dry. Not only will this irritate and damage your skin, but you also need your skin to retain quite a bit of that extra moisture in order for this to work. 

Gently pat your skin with a soft towel to clear away excessive amounts of water, and then reach for your moisturizer. Apply this to your damp skin, gently massaging it in. 

Now, take a look in the mirror…

You will likely see that your skin has a glow to it that wasn’t there before. 

Why is this? 

It is all down to making the most of the way in which a moisturizer works…

While a moisturizer does deliver a small amount of moisture to the skin, its main role is to form a protective seal over the surface of the skin. This prevents the moisture that is already in and on the skin from evaporating, while stopping any impurities from easily entering into the skin. 

When you apply moisturizer to skin that is already damp, all of those extra water molecules end up trapped beneath the moisturizer’s protective layer. This then means that there is only one place for them to go, and that’s down into your skin.

Young woman applying moisturiser to face

This is why your skin instantly looks so much more radiant after moisturizer has been applied on damp skin. 

What should you be using to moisturize your skin? 

In the winter, you need a thicker, heavier and greasier moisturizer than you do in the summer. 

Plant butters and oils are perfect for this…

Make Use of Plant Butters and Oils

Plant butters and oils are incredibly nourishing for the skin, containing so many vital minerals, antioxidants, fatty acids and more. All of this will help your skin to battle through the harsh days of winter. 

Which plant butters and oils should you be using? 

Here are some of the best plant butters to use on your skin in the winter: 

  • Shea Butter – packed with vitamins A and E, as well as essential fatty acids and antioxidants, shea butter strengthens skin cells while protecting them from environmental damage. It also contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can significantly relieve dryness and itchiness. If you are looking for a way to protect your skin from windburn, shea butter is again worth considering 
  • Cocoa Butter – a great source of vitamin E, which heals and protects the skin, cocoa butter is packed with a number of other vitamins and antioxidants too. It hydrates and re-balances the skin, and has aromatherapy benefits too. Massaging this ingredient into the skin has been proven to improve the immune system and reduce feelings of stress
  • Mango Butter – known for its protective and moisturizing qualities, mango butter supports skin cells, preventing degeneration, while also giving the skin increased flexibility. It is great for treating some of the dry skin issues that often come with winter, from peeling and itching skin to eczema and roughness 

When it comes to the best plant oils to use on your skin in the winter, these are all worth considering: 

  • Camellia Seed Oil – known for being a favorite among Japanese Geisha, camellia seed oil, along with its many antioxidants and nutrients, is easily absorbed by the skin. Unlike many other ingredients, it is able to make its way deep into the skin’s layers, where it then replenishes the skin and prevents moisture from evaporating 
  • Carrot Seed Oil – thanks to its high content of carotol, beta-carotene and vitamins A and E, carrot seed oil is fantastic for rejuvenating the skin and giving it a glow in the winter months. It quickly counters dryness and dehydration, while bring light enough for those with oily skin to use 
  • Cucumber Seed Oil – known for its gentle yet effective properties, cucumber seed oil is packed with phytosterols. These compounds have been proven to be able to restore the skin’s moisture balance, strengthen its protective barrier and improve its elasticity 
  • Jojoba Oil – one of the best oils for those with oily skin to use. Its molecular structure closely resembles that of the skin’s own sebum, tricking the skin into believing that it has produced the oil itself. This triggers it to adjust its own production of oil, slowing this down. This is a great way to deal with oily skin in the winter, instead of using harsh products that strip away too much of your skin’s natural oils

Stay Active

You may not think that the amount of exercise you do has any sort of direct effect on the radiance of your skin, but it really does…

Yes, it can be so tempting to stay wrapped up indoors in the warmth in the winter, but keeping your body active and moving is so important. 

Why? 

Well, to begin with, your blood flow naturally slows down in cold temperatures, due to the way in which the cold constricts your blood vessels. Exercise helps to speed your blood flow back up. This means that your skin cells are able to receive a greater amount of oxygen and other nutrients, enabling them to fully function. 

Since your blood flow is also responsible for carrying waste products away from your skin cells, this increases skin detoxification, which will enhance your skin’s glow.

There is nothing wrong with exercising indoors, and this is definitely better than not exercising at all. However, even if you keep the majority of your workouts indoors, try to spend at least one session a week exercising outdoors. This outdoor time is great for your skin, enabling it to get away from the dry indoor air. 

Two friends jogging in the woods

Plus, embracing the winter will really help you to beat any winter blues and appreciate all of the beauty that the season has to offer.

Make Sure that You Are Regularly Exfoliating 

You will likely notice more roughness and dryness on your skin in the winter months, and this is due to all of its moisture being sucked away into the dryness around you. 

This leaves your skin cells parched and flaky, which is not a good look to have! 

While exfoliation is important throughout the year, it becomes even more so in the winter. Exfoliation will quickly clear away any rough, dull, dry or dead skin cells, enabling the fresher, newer ones beneath to show through. 

Not only that, but exfoliation enables the rest of your skin care products to better penetrate into your skin’s layers, meaning that they are able to work to their full potential. 

How should you be exfoliating? 

Well, you have two main options: 

  • Physical Exfoliation – this makes use of abrasive materials that are physically rubbed across the skin in order to dislodge dirt, dead skin cells and excess oil 
  • Chemical Exfoliation – this makes use of chemicals that dissolve the glue-like substance that keep dead skin cells attached to the skin’s surface, enabling these to then be washed away 

So, which one is best for winter? 

Many would guess physical exfoliation, but that’s where you would be wrong…

The abrasive nature of physical exfoliation ends up causing quite a bit of friction against the skin. This irritates and damages it, and some abrasives can even end up creating micro-tears in the skin. 

On the other hand, chemical exfoliants work in a much gentler way, and there are different ones out there that are suitable for every skin type. 

Alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid and tartaric acid, are great for dry and sensitive skin. However, make sure that you begin gradually, so that your skin has the chance to get accustomed to these new ingredients. 

For those with oily skin, beta hydroxy acids, such as salicylic acid, would be your best choice. This exfoliates deeper within the pores, helping to clear out the blockages that would have otherwise led to breakouts.

How often should you be exfoliating in the winter? 

This depends on your skin type…

Once a week is enough for those with dry or sensitive skin, while those with oily skin may need to increase this. 

Make sure that you aren’t tempted to over-exfoliate either… 

This can severely damage your skin’s protective layer, leaving you with redness, dryness, inflammation, sensitivities and more. 

Adjust Your Diet

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so it only makes sense that the food you eat will have a direct impact on the health and appearance of your skin.

Your body, as well as your skin, has different nutritional needs in the winter than it does in the summer, and it is important to cater to these. 

Flat lay of healthy food on table

What should you be eating in the winter? 

Try adding more of these foods into your diet: 

  • Oily fish – these are packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as vitamin D, all of which help to protect and nourish the skin during the winter 
  • Avocados – one of the best sources of vitamin E, avocados heal and protect the skin from within 
  • Sweet potatoes and winter squash – high in vitamins A and C, these vegetables help to increase skin cell regeneration and protect the skin from aging 
  • Cocoa – contains specific flavonoids and antioxidants that help to improve skin texture and increase blood flow to the skin, therefore nourishing it with more nutrients and oxygen 
  • Bell peppers – vitamin C not only boosts the immune system, which is why it is often recommended for winter colds, but it also provides potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin. While citrus fruits are great for obtaining vitamin C, bell peppers actually contain three times the amount of vitamin C as an orange, making this the vegetable to eat more of

Anything you should stay away from? 

Yes. Stay clear of alcohol, sugar and excess salt in the winter, along with any other foods that lead to dehydration. Your body needs to retain all of the moisture it can in the winter, especially if you want your skin to look radiant. 

The winter months can be tough on your skin, but there are plenty of steps that you can take to restore your skin’s natural radiance. From knowing which ingredients to use topically to understanding the best skin care techniques for the colder season, these tips will give your skin a beautifully rosy winter glow.