Woman enjoying blueberries in a bowl

6 Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet

Other than sunny weather and longer days, spring also brings about all kinds of fresh produce that is either hard to find or simply non-existent during rest of the year.

With the abundance of body-boosting, delicious dietary options, there’s no more excuse to revert to old, damaging food habits.

And to give you some ideas on how to overhaul your diet, we have prepared this guide with essential tips on how to use the sunny season to your advantage and, over time, build healthy habits that you can adhere to during the rest of the year, as well.

Introduce High-fiber Meals

In the springtime, we tend to be more active and spend more time outdoors.

This, is turn, causes us to reach for food items that will please our palates and fuel our body.

And if you’re the type of person who isn’t exactly health-conscious, you may end up gravitating towards instantly filling foods laden with processed carbs and sugars.

Sure, these might feel gratifying short-term, but if you want to build a satisfying, health-oriented diet, then you might want to ditch these processed baddies and go for energizing, fiber-rich options.

What are fibers and why should you include more of them in your meals, you ask?

Fibers are the kind of carbohydrates your body doesn’t digest. Since fiber itself has zero calories and helps boost digestive system, it should be an essential component in every though-out diet plan.

Luckily, foods that are high in fiber are plentiful come spring, which is why this is the perfect moment to load up your plate with these energizing nutrients.

Among the foods that contain high level of fiber are oatmeal, barley, as well as various kinds of legumes.

Fresh green peas are one of most delicious spring foods which are not only super-easy to prepare, but also chock-full of body-fueling fibers.

You can mix your peas with other springtime veggies and cook over garlic and olive oil. Alternatively, you can add them to your favorite pasta or blend them into a delicious puree as a side.

Lentil is another legume rich in fiber, which is also incredibly satisfying and belly-filling. To make your lentils extra-tasty, turn them into a basil-infused soup or mash them with some lemon juice and a couple of garlic cloves for a delicious spread.

If you are looking for a more breakfast-friendly option, you can always equip your kitchen with a box of bran flakes, which are one of the most readily-available sources of fiber. And if the taste of this fiber-rich cereal doesn’t fill you up with excitement, you can always combine it with your favorite leafy greens or fruit and blend it into a mouthwatering smoothie.

Learn to Love Leafy Greens

If you’re looking for the easiest and quickest way to increase your daily dosage of various health-charging nutrients, then leafy greens should be at the very top of your list.

These dietary superheroes are packed with a plethora of vitamins, minerals and other goodies that will not only improve your immunity and overall wellbeing, but also contribute to a healthier appearance of skin, nails and hair. Win-win!

Plus, you’ll be pleased to hear that springtime is when leafy greens reign supreme. 

Leafy green rookies might want to ease their way into their new routine by going for a veggie with a more milder, versatile taste.

Baby spinach is the perfect starter-level leafy green. It can go into any food combo, from omelets to stir-fries to smoothies. Moreover, it has a subtle, refreshing taste, so you won’t have to worry about it overpowering the rest of your meal.

More advanced leafy greens aficionados can enrich their day-to-day meals with a bona fide celebrity among superfoods – kale. This leafy green has become wildly popular in the health and wellness sphere – for good reason, too: it contains high concentration of Vitamin K, which can shield your body from all kinds of illness.

Stir-fried kale in a pan

Even though kale is slightly more bitter in taste than baby spinach, you should have no problems including it into your daily meal prep – it can be blanched, sautéed, baked or blended!

Finally, seasoned leafy green lovers might want to go for something more challenging this spring. If you haven’t done so already, why not try stepping up your veggie game by introducing collard greens into your diet?

These nutritional powerhouses are often overlooked in favor of more accessible leafy greens, possibly because of their somewhat earthy tang and chewy texture.

However, if you know how to prepare them, collard greens can be just as delicious and health-boosting as any other leaf vegetable.

One of the easiest way to soften them up and bring out the flavor is to cook them in a broth with other veggies of your choice. Alternatively, you can drizzle a bit of olive oil over a hot pan and sauté your greens with a couple of crushed and chopped garlic cloves.

Try Out Energy-boosting Snacks

Once gloomy winter days come to an end, you will inevitably feel inspired to spend more time outdoors and on your feet.

And planning meals while you’re busy running errands and catching up with friends might prove to be a little bit challenging.

What’s more, if you don’t have a clear of idea what you’re going to eat and when, you might end up reaching for the least healthy options when you’re running low on fuel.

That’s why it’s very important to always keep body-energizing snacks at hand, which you can nibble on wherever you go.

And if you want to go down the healthy road, spring is the ideal time to start introducing healthy, straight-from-nature snacks that your body will be thanking you for.

One of the most convenient and energizing snacks are nuts and seeds.

They are easy to carry around and whip out whenever you’re feeling peckish.

What’s more, they are packed with a host of healthy nutrients that will replenish your body without adding extra pounds (when consumed in moderation).

One of the most readily available and healthy nuts are almonds, which have many body-boosting properties. A handful of almonds a day can help reduce bad cholesterol and help with high blood pressure.

On the other hand, if you’re more of a pistachio fan, you’ll be pleased to hear that these nuts contain high levels of antioxidants, especially potassium, which are incredibly beneficial for the nervous system.

Cashews can also be a great option for midday snacking, as they can help strengthen your bones and improve your overall immune system.

Fruit and Berries Over Processed Sugar

Most of us know that processed sugars are a definite no-go when it comes to building a healthy diet routine.

And while it’s pretty obvious that your standard candy and soda is loaded with added sugar, sometimes these high-calorie baddies are not that easy to spot.

For example, added sugars could be hiding in your favorite granola bar or that salad dressing you always use in your meals.

Luckily, thanks to the appropriate food labeling, it’s easier to identify those extra sugars found in our everyday groceries.

However, if you want to take the healthy route, spring is the right time to start satisfying your sugar cravings with deserts that have come straight from nature.

In the spring, nature becomes abundant with juicy, delicious fruit which can be a great replacement for your standard go-to treats.

One of the healthiest choices to satisfy your sweet tooth are berries. These bite-sized, vitamin-laden goodies are not only good for you body, they are also super-easy to get a hold of during sun-filled spring days.

Variety of berries in a measuring spoon

For example, strawberries – everyone’s favorite fruit of the season – are not only rich in various health-boosting nutrients, they also contain very few calories, making them a great choice for people looking to shed a few pounds.

Blueberries are also plentiful in spring, and make for a great addition to any smoothie or fruit salad. What’s more, blueberries are packed with phytochemicals, flavonoids and antioxidants which are essential for improving the immune system.

Put More Veggies on Your Plate

If your meals aren’t usually packed with vegetables, spring is the ideal time to change that for the better.

This season brings all kinds of tasty, health-boosting produce which will not only contribute to your overall well-being, it will also make you want to try out more creative, exciting meal options.

All you need to go to the green market and pack your grocery bags with all those delicious spring veggies.

And if you’re not really sure where to start, here are some of the most satisfying, palate-enticing spring superstars that you can incorporate into your spring meals with little to no effort.

One of the most popular springtime veggies is asparagus, a green stalk rich in iron, calcium, as well as vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6.

There are many different ways you can introduce asparagus into your daily recipes; for example, sautéed with eggs for breakfast, thrown into a salad with other veggies and a few slices of of fresh mozzarella for lunch or post-workout snack, or grilled with a slice of salmon for an evening meal.

Brussel sprouts are also great for filling up your belly and supplying you with energy during sunny spring days. These bite-sized veggies are packed with Vitamin C, K and plenty of antioxidants. Fry them for a couple of minutes with a chili or two to give the sprouts a kick; alternatively, roast them with the rest of your favorite veggies for a more rich and smoky flavor.

Don’t Be Afraid of (Healthy) Fats

If you are new to the world of wellness, then seeing the words “healthy” and “fat” in the same sentence might feel odd to you.

But fats don’t have to be necessarily bad for you.

On the contrary – healthy, nature-derived fats are essential for achieving balanced eating habits.

Since fats are higher in calories than proteins and carbohydrates, they will keep you feeling full and sated for long periods of time.

The only trick is to stick to unsaturated, straight-out-of-nature fats and stay away from the nasty, processed stuff.

Fortunately, spring offers plenty of healthy fat options you can incorporate into your everyday meals.

As mentioned before, nuts are a great source of unsaturated fats and proteins; moreover, they make for a great snack in-between bigger meals.

Healthy nuts in two bowls

Another food that is not only supremely delicious, but also high in natural fats is avocado. This nutritious, versatile fruit that originates from Central America can be prepared in countless way. For a quick and easy option, simply scoop out your avocado and spread it on a slice of toasted bread. Alternatively, you can chop it up in your salad or add it to your smoothie for a richer, creamier texture and extra nourishment.

And for something a little more substantial, go for fatty fish. Mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines and other creatures of the sea are loaded with unsaturated fats, as well as hearth-healthy Omega-3 acids, which can help with a host of health issues, including blood fat, arthritis, asthma, depression and ADHD. On a more skin-deep level, these acids can contribute to a plump, wrinkle-free complexion.

Spring is also the ideal time to switch to extra virgin olive oil, which is another ingredient that’s chock-full of healthy acids. This staple of Mediterranean diet contains high doses of Vitamin E and K, as well as a number of antioxidants. You can use olive oil in cooking or simply drizzle it over your favorite breads, salads and veggies.

And with this, we are wrapping up out list of essential tips and tricks on how to make your diet healthier and more spring-friendly. Now you can go out and stock up on all these delicious, sun-soaked foods that will ensure your belly is full and your health is in check.

Do You Know Why You Get Goosebumps?

Why do you get goosebumps? Easy. You’re boyfriend kisses you on the neck and you get tiny bumps on your skin, right? Well, partially. Goosebumps happen when you’re cold or excited or frightened. So, yeah, you’re boyfriend might be giving you goosebumps, but it’s not a very scientific answer, satisfactory though it may be to some. However, for the rest of us, there is a slightly more evolutionary based cause.

What Are Goosebumps?
Goosebumps are a leftover trait from our animal ancestors, like our tailbones, and also, like our tailbones, goosebumps were a lot more useful to our predecessors than they are to us. As you probably know, goosebumps are those tiny raised portions of the skin that look like plucked chicken flesh. However, you may not know why they happen. Goosebumps are caused by miniature muscle contractions attached to the hair which causes a little depression on the surface of the skin, making the surrounding area appear to stick out. This same contraction makes our hair stand up when we get chilled. If we had a thick coat of fur, like our animal friends, this would help us retain heat, but, since we don’t, the reaction is useless, but that doesn’t stop it from happening.

Emotions and Goosebumps
You may also notice that hair on many animals stands up when they are provoked, or feel threatened by another animal. This is a natural defense which, in combination with the back arch and sideways position that accompanies it, usually causes the offender to back off. Similarly, people get goosebumps in emotional situations, such as watching horror movies, listening to the national anthem or some such equally moving experience.

goosebumps on the legs

Heat and Goosebumps
Because goosebumps are usually a response to extreme cold, it may seem odd that some people get goosebumps in the heat. This is because sweat can also induce goosebumps. As perspiration evaporates fro the skin, it cools down. The dramatic temperature change causes the goosebump response to kick in as a result.

Why Do We Get Goosebumps?
At the root of all goosebumps is a hormone called adrenaline. Adrenaline is produced in two bean-shaped glands which sit on top of the kidneys, not only causing the contraction of skin muscles but many other bodily reactions as well. Animals release the hormone when they are cold or under stress in preparation for “flight or fight.” Humans tend to produce the hormone in the face of strong emotions like anger or excitement. Adrenaline release is also characterized by trembling hands, increased blood pressure, and “butterflies” in the stomach.

Got goosebumps? Let us know your goose bump stories and clean and dirty! We love to know!

Woman smiling

Jojoba Oil Is Biocompatible To The Skin

Some things were meant for each other. Peanut butter and jelly, Oreos and milk, Sunny and Cher, hamburgers and French fries, and jojoba oil and your skin. The last one take you by surprise? Jojoba oil and skin have been making beautiful music together since time immemorial. Native to Mexico, the jojoba plant has been used for centuries by Native Americans to counteract the harsh effects of the desert sun. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, non-comedogenic, emollient, and anti- bacterial, but perhaps most outstandingly, it has the ability to work harmony with living cells.

The Secret of Jojoba Oil
Although its name suggests otherwise, jojoba oil is not an oil at all; rather it is a waxy substance that is very similar to the skin’s natural oil, or sebum. The two are so similar in fact, scientists believe jojoba oil can actually trick the skin into “thinking” it is producing adequate amounts of oil which is how it helps to balance oil production. According to Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Medical Center, “Jojoba oil is rich in natural fats that mimic those in the outer layer of skin. This means it can help skin retain moisture and heal itself.”

Uses
When topically applied, jojoba oil can be an effective treatment for psoriasis, acne, chapped skin, and sunburn. It is frequently found in cleansing products, shampoos, and face and body lotions and can also be used as a lip balm or to condition skin prior to shaving. Jojoba oil is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, antioxidants, and sterols, which are compounds that can reduce inflammation and boost skin metabolism. It may be the answer to your dry skin woes.

Jojoba oil

Scars and Stretch Marks
Jojoba oil can help to rid skin of unsightly scars, scabs, and stretch marks when applied in problem areas. It may also help to heal wounds.

Anti-Aging Serum
The antioxidants in jojoba oil can reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Apply to eyes, mouth and neck and watch it work its magic.

Makeup Remover
Wipe away even the toughest waterproof mascara and liquid liners when you use the vitamin E rich oil to remove makeup.

Body Lotion
After bathing or showering massage a few drops of jojoba oil into damp skin. Follow with a natural cream, like cocoa or shea butter to lock in the hydrating benefits. You’ll find a significant reduction in chapped skin, irritation, and dryness.

Facial Cleanser
Apply a few drops of the oils onto dry skin and rinse away with water to clear impurities and debris from the skin’s surface.

Anti-Acne Gel
The microbial properties in jojoba oil can clear skin and the iodine in the oil can fight growth of acne causing bacteria.

How do you use jojoba oil to keep your skin in great shape? Keep us informed! We love to know!

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!

Girl in hat at the beach

Sun Protection: Shade Vs. Sunblock

Sunblock talks a pretty good game. You may have heard of SPFs as high as 75, melt- in sunscreens, continuous sun comfort sprays and even melanin-inducing sunblocks and screens. But how can you be sure that all your sunscreen is really working? Did you apply enough? Did you miss any spots? It’s enough to make you think you’re better off just using your own methods of avoiding sun exposure, like just staying in the shade. Of course, the shade is a good option, it definitely cuts down on direct sunlight, but is it a better alternative than sunblock? Here are some things you should know before you give up on sun lotions altogether.

Shade
According to the National Skin Cancer foundation, the guideline is, if you can see the sunlight, seek the shade; but know that not all shade is created equally. You can spend hours in the shade and still receive quite a good amount of sun exposure. Indirect UV light is radiation that has been scattered in the atmosphere and bounced back by UV reflective surfaces, like sand and concrete. As a result, most of the UV light we get sitting under an umbrella or tree is indirect. Only when we are in deep shade, meaning we are unable to see the sky, can we be assured of complete protection.

Hats
Even if you wear a hat, you may only be getting minimal sun protection, especially on your neck, nose, and ears. Hats with all around broad brims angled downward provide the most comprehensive sun protection. Research shows that wearing a broad brimmed hat will provide sunblock protection comparable to a sunblock with and SPF of 5 for the nose, ears and neck, while baseball caps may offer the same for the nose, but little for the other parts of the face, like the cheeks and chin.

Umbrella

Umbrellas
Unless your umbrella is very large, their UV protection is relatively low. Although the SPF of an umbrella can range for 3-106, the amount of UV light under the umbrella can be as high as 84% of that in direct sun. In other words, because so much UV light is reflected under the umbrella from the water, sand, and sky, an umbrella on the beach offers very little protection against the sun.

Trees
If you are looking to a tree to defend you from the sun, look for ones with large, rather than sparse spreads of foliage, and, if possible, choose a tree located near other trees or buildings and note factors that may decrease the amount of protection, such as reflective surfaces. Also note that the same tree will give less protection in the early and late parts of the day, when the diffuse UV rates are higher, than it will at midday, when the sun is directly overhead. Similarly, trees offer better protection on a sunny day than on a cloudy one, when indirect sunlight is greater.

Other Elements
Because you are never guaranteed full UV protection from shade alone, it is important to employ a comprehensive program for sun protection, including wearing clothing made of dark or bright colored tightly woven threads, hats, and sunglasses, and regularly using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more. Be aware of sunscreens claiming higher than an SPF over 30. According to dermatologist James Spencer, an SPF 15 product will block approximately 94% of UV rays, while an SPF 30 blocks about 97%: and SPF 45 blocks about 98% and, “after that, it just gets silly.”

What do you think? Do you swear by your parasols or can you trust your sunblock? Let us know!

Woman with pruritis

Identifying The Root Causes of Pruritis

Generalized itching, also known as pruritus, can be maddening, perplexing, and even downright depressing. If you are suffering from annoying itchiness, here is some information on pruritus and its causes.

What is Pruritis?
Pruritus can be defined as profuse itchiness of the skin and is a relatively common disorder affecting 20-25% of the population at one time in their lives. The condition can be, but is usually not, accompanied by a rash and the itching can range from a minor itch to a very severe itch, capable of disrupting quality of life. “Acute pruritis” is the term used for pruritus lasting six weeks or less; while “chronic pruritus” is used to refer to cases which exceed a six-week duration. For the majority of cases, there is no identifiable cause. If the condition is chronic and no cause is found, the condition is termed “Idiopathic Chronic Pruritis.”

What are the Causes?
Itching can be caused by many things including allergic manifestation, a side effect of medication, an infection, a skin disorder, or a psychological disorder. It can also be caused by a systemic disease such as, a kidney problem, thyroid disease, a neurologic disease, a blood disorder, liver disease, or connective tissue disorder and malignancy; it can also be caused by pregnancy.

How Is Pruritis Diagnosed?
A board certified allergist should be able to ask the correct questions to discover the cause of pruritis. A detailed family history should be taken from the patient and a thorough physical examination should follow. The next steps may include laboratory tests such as urinalysis, X-rays, skin biopsies , patch tests, and stool samples.

How Is Pruritis Treated?
If a systemic disease is determined to be the root cause, the itching usually subsides after the disease is treated. If there is no identifiable cause, there are a number of treatment alternatives. Medications can be given to lessen or relieve itching. Oral medications are primarily used, but topical creams can also be successful. Medications are usually administered for one to two weeks, but more severe cases may require years of treatment. UV light therapy has also been used, although degrees of success vary.

If you suffer from generalized itching, it is recommend that you seek professional help in finding the cause. Even if no cause is found, you may be given something to reduce or completely relieve your itching. If you have struggled with pruritis, feel free to contact us and share your experience.

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. 

Woman meditating on grass

Meditate For Clear Skin

If you put on the T.V. these days, it is hard not to see Ellen Degeneres. If you miss her daytime talk show, you can always catch her doing Oil Of Olay commercials, showing off her age-defying skin, or in her Amex commercial, meditating over a pair of socks that she was charged for twice. From these two examples, it becomes clear that Ellen DeGeneres is known for two things, good skin and meditation. Did you ever think these two things might be related?

Meditation, Stress and Your Skin
You’ve heard it a million times, stress is not doing you, or your skin any favors, but how do you avoid stress? While that may be impossible, there are ways to lessen it. Meditation anyone?

Dr. Jeannette Graf, MD and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center says, “Meditation is great for everything. There’s nothing like it. For starters, it settles you so you’re in a state of deep relaxation and you’re breathing. Meditation helps every single cell in the body, and it helps your skin.” Graf explains that deep breathing adds oxygen to skin which is, “the key to help boost the actions of the cells to act normally and with great health.” She goes on to sing the praises of meditation, mentioning its positive effects on blood pressure, body, and mind.

Meditation Lessens Negativity
The popularity of meditation has grown exponentially in the past 30 years. Research from the University of Sheffield found that relaxation sessions, meditation and cognitive behavior therapy can benefit people suffering from eczema. psoriasis, acne, and vitiglio. In one such study, individuals suffering from psoriasis were asked to listen to meditation tapes while receiving UV light treatments. They were found to have healed four times faster than non-meditators. It was determined that this was caused by meditation’s ability to reduce the stress that initially caused psoriasis and helped to trigger the body’s ability to repair itself. Meditation can reduce wrinkles and slow the aging process, brightening you skin’s complexion. It will also help you feel younger by relieving tension related ulcers, headaches, muscle aches, and joint problems.

How Do You Start?
Good skin? You’re in! Meditating can be done anywhere at anytime. Just focus your mind and center your breathing. Try to clear your mind and concentrate on each breath as you inhale and exhale, excluding other thoughts. You don’t even need a quiet room, candle, or a lot of time. Graf enthuses, ‘First of all, a yoga class is a moving meditation, so find a yoga class nearby and pop in. Yoga is amazing for your skin. If you’d rather practice privately, you can buy guided meditation on iTunes and listen anywhere.

Are you a good skin guru? If you are, we want to know your secrets. Tell us what meditation has done for your skin. We love to hear from you.

Woman looking in mirror

Is There An Upside To Acne?

It is arguable that yearbooks may, in actuality, be a compilation of photos documenting case studies on acne. After all, how many teens can sincerely claim to have been lucky enough to have taken a yearbook photo on a breakout-free day or, for that matter, how many teens can actually claim to have attended high school on a breakout free day? Unfortunately, it seems that the graduation, intended to be a celebration of a coming of age, is more often a woeful testimonial to a less than perfect adolescence. Do any high schools offer photoshop on student’s yearbook photos? Please feel free to weigh in.

Anyway, if you are one of the unfortunate students whose yearbook was marred with acne, take heart. When reunion time comes around, you will exact revenge! New British research reveals that those afflicted with acne may have an edge when it comes to aging.

What’s Behind It?
Telomeres are caps on the end of chromosomes which protect DNA from damages. As we age, the telomeres gradually become shorter and eventually die. As a result, people with long table-mores remain biologically younger than their peers of the same age. A King’s College study of adolescent twins, one-quarter of whom were acne sufferers, found that the telomeres of the acne afflicted were notably longer. Yet another study examining skin samples showed that the gene cluster responsible for cell death was showed less activity in the acne prone.

New Findings
If these revelations do not seem completely new to you, it is not surprising. Dermatologists have noted correlations between slow aging and pimples for quite a while, however, the deficit of wrinkles was always thought to be related to the excess production of oil. The connection to longer telomeres is a newer revelation. Says lead researcher Dr. Simone Ribero, “Our findings suggest that the cause could be linked to the length of the mores which appears to be different in acne sufferers and means their cells may be protected against aging.” Adds co- author Dr. Veronique Bataille, Longer telomeres are likely to be the one factor explaining the protection against premature aging in individuals who previously suffered from acne.”

Moles
Other research from King’s College, reported in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology,shows that people with a lot of moles may also fare better in their later years. Maybe that explains the eternal youth of Cindy Crawford. Longer telomeres are also associated with stronger bones and less frailty in old age. In parting, all of you who are doomed to a damning yearbook pic, listen to the wise words of Dr. Veronique Bataille who assures that you are going to look, “fantastic in their 40’s and 50’s.” and, “It’s nice to know there’s a positive aspect to having acne.” Knock ’em dead at the reunion!

We’d love to hear from you on this. Do you have a reunion revenge story or know anything about the possibility of photoshopping a yearbook photo? Curious minds want to 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!

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