Woman looking at her skin in bathroom mirror

How to Clear Clogged Pores Properly

It seems like recently, everyone’s been doing their best to prevent clogged pores. Let’s face it – clogged pores are one of the biggest nuisances there are.

And, once you get them, it’s a bit annoying trying to get rid of them.

Every day, your skin battles pollution, your own sweat and makeup. Sometimes, its defenses get a bit sluggish. And, when that happens – you’re faced with clogged pores.

But, don’t worry. Where your skin falters, you must continue. There are ways to clear clogged pores properly, with perseverance, tenacity and, of course, a few tips from professionals.

What Are Clogged Pores?

Pores are basically small holes in the skin through which oil and sweat go out.

Clogged pores occur when dead skin cells get trapped in your skin. They are supposed to be shed into the environment, but sometimes they can get stuck.

You can usually see when your pores are clogged if you see pimples or, in general, a certain dullness to your skin.

Now, many people think that clogged pores necessarily lead to pimples. However, that is simply not true.

While yes, many such pores do end up becoming pimples, there are some that don’t involve inflammation. Unlike with pimples, there’s no need for your body to get rid of them and they can remain like that, blocked, forever. (Well, not forever, but you catch the drift. For a very long time.)

You can usually see them in a certain light or, when you tilt your head just so. But, even the clogged pores that don’t immediately become pimples can become pimples at one point. That is why it is best to deal with them on a regular basis.

Infographic on clogged pores

What Causes Clogged Pores?

There are a lot of things that can cause clogged pores.

Truly, a lot. Our skin reacts to various things, both internal (like hormonal changes), to external (like air pollution).

But that is truly unfortunate, because it means that there are a lot of things you and your skin have to fight. Here are some of the things which can cause clogged pores.

  • Puberty. Yes, during puberty, our bodies increase its production of oil, that is, sebum, which can combine with dead skin and bacteria at times. And you get stuck with clogged pores which, as you may have guessed, can easily turn into pimples.
  • Smoking. You may not have known this, but greasy particles from smoke can easily land on your skin, thus contributing to unclean pores. Aside from the other adverse effects smoking has on the skin, it also contributes to clogged pores.
  • Stress. During stressful times, our bodies produce stress hormones in excess. This, in turn, triggers sebaceous glands to produce a lot of sebum.
  • Using certain beauty products. Basically, many of your favorite beauty products can be the culprit here. You should only buy non-comedogenic formulas. That means that they use ingredients which won’t clog your pores. Also, you should only use face products that specify that they are oil free.
  • Not cleansing or cleansing too much. Yes, this one is really the trickiest cause of clogged pores. Basically, while not cleansing your face can lead to a buildup of sebum, if you do it too much, this can also be a bad thing. Too much exfoliating strips your skin of its natural oils. Then, your oil glands decide to overcompensate and create more oil. That is why finding the golden middle is perfect for your skin.

Professional Treatments for Excessively Clogged Pores

If you have particularly specific skin and you’re not quite sure you can deal with your clogged pores on your own, going the professional route can often prove to be the best option.

Basically, you go to a dermatologist or a skincare specialist for a facial treatment which can be done in several ways. They test your skin and decide how best to proceed.

1)   Extractions

We know how it sounds – a bit terrifying, to be honest.

However, you have to have faith sometimes – professionals know what they’re doing (and they’ve done it a thousand times).

They extract what should not be there in the first place by using a metal extractor tool to apply pressure around the clogged pores. This causes the content to spill out.

Now, this can also be done with pimples if they can be unclogged. If they can’t, your skincare specialist will not suggest this treatment.

After unclogging your pores, the specialist usually applies some antibacterial or antiseptic which should bring back the natural pH levels of the skin, preventing further breakouts. They may even apply a soothing mask or carry out some other treatment. You can go on these treatments once a month to keep your skin healthy and glowing.

In any case, such extractions should be left in the hands of professionals. If you try to pop your pimples at home, you can damage your pores and cause further buildup of sebum.

2)   Steaming

As blasé as this may sound, this treatment is simply heaven.

You can literally feel your skin getting clean. Of course, steaming is something you can do at home with a towel and a pot. However, that requires more effort than a professional doing it.

Your dermatologist or skincare specialist uses a steamer to put warm, moist air on your face, which helps your pores open.

Woman undergoing face-steaming procedure

Then, they can apply treatments such as masks and moisturizers more easily. After steaming, your skin absorbs those treatments more deeply, and this can, and usually does have better results.

3)   Exfoliation

Exfoliation basically includes a process of removing dead skin cells from your skin. It typically includes using an exfoliation tool or a chemical or a granular substance.

Regular exfoliation, whether done by professionals or not, improves the overall health of your skin and unclogs your pores. It also improves skin elasticity and encourages collagen production. Truly, there are many benefits to exfoliation.

Exfoliation usually includes the use of a few abrasive materials:

  • Loofahs
  • Cleansing scrubs
  • Exfoliating mitts
  • Micro derma rollers
  • Dry brushes

These are the products you can use yourself at home with a good chance of success. You can combine them with a facial exfoliant for truly magnificent results.

On the other hand, you should never attempt to do chemical exfoliation yourself. This should only be done by professionals.

If you choose chemical exfoliation, consult with your dermatologist first to find the best option for you. Typically, this usually includes alpha hydroxyl acids, beta hydroxyl acids, retinols or topical enzymes.

Precisely because some of these chemicals are harsh and can dry out your skin if handled improperly, it is important to talk to a professional.

At-Home Treatments for Clogged Pores

While many, many people go to professionals, fearing that they won’t be able to deal with their clogged pores properly, there are plenty of options that are definitely safe to try at home and quite effective when it comes to unclogging pores.

You simply need to be a bit more persistent. Here are some products you can use at home to clear your pores efficiently.

1)   Pore Strips

Pore strips come in various shapes and sizes. While most people use them for their nose, you can use them for any part of your face.

You can use pore strips to remove bacteria, oil, dead skin and everything else that is left on the surface of your skin.

And the process is quite simple. You wet the strip and put it on the part of the face with clogged pores. Leave it there for five or ten minutes, and then slowly peel away.

Make sure to rinse the area with warm water. You want to remove any residue that the strip left.

However, you should avoid pore strips if you have any skin allergies or if you have sensitive skin. Also, they can be used once a week at most. Don’t overdo it if you want to avoid skin irritation.

2)   Charcoal Masks

Everywhere you look nowadays, some Instagram celebrity is praising this invention. Activated charcoal is now used in facial and body cleansers, scrubs, and even masks.

And truly, it does have many benefits, as it removes toxins, dirt and pollution from pores.

For most charcoal masks, you should first rinse your face before using them. Also, you should leave it between 5 and 10 minutes and then remove it. While some should be rinsed off, others harden and should be pulled off.

Spa professional applying black face mask on woman's face

However, dermatologists warn that you should never make your own charcoal mask at home. This can be dangerous and can cause irritation of the skin. It’s better to buy a charcoal mask from a certified distributor.

3)   Pore Vacuums

Pore vacuums have also been gaining on popularity in recent years. Many people praise them as the best invention in recent years.

The principle is pretty simple – there’s something in your pores, this sucks it out.

However, experts recommend that you don’t use it too often. Apparently, while they may work for blackheads that are already loosened, they do not have the same effect on other types of clogged pores.

Also, while there are pore vacuums that can be bought for as little as $10, experts also recommend that you don’t buy cheap ones. If you are to do this at home, you should at least

Another option is to go to a professional. They will be able to see which areas need more suction and which areas need less. They can then adapt the treatment to your particular needs.

Natural Remedies for Clogged Pores

There are really a lot of ways you can clean your pores at home, without buying anything. You can simply use what you have in your cupboard.

No, we’re not talking about the chemicals you use to unclog your sink, if that’s where your mind wandered.

Basically, people have long found various uses for common things you can find in every home. Some of those uses can include purifying the skin.

1)   Baking Soda

Yes, this is truly an ingredient everyone has in their homes. But it’s one of the most versatile ingredients there are in this world.

First, mix two teaspoons of this epic ingredient with one teaspoon of water. This should make a paste. Then, you should gently massage it onto your face.

Don’t leave it on for longer than five minutes, though, this should be perfectly enough to unclog your pores. Then, rinse if off.

You can do this once a week if you want balanced skin but don’t want to overdo it with cleaning.

2)   Lemon Slice

Lemon also has quite a lot of benefits for many parts of our bodies, not just our skin. But it is also a superb ingredient when it comes to unclogging pores.

Slicing a lemon on chopping board

All you have to do is cut a lemon in half and run it over your skin where you’ve been having problems with clogged pores.

You should leave it on the skin for about five minutes, and then rinse it off with cold water. Again, don’t leave it for longer than five minutes, because it can irritate your skin and possibly cause other problems.

This works because the acidity present in the lemon can help break up all the old skin cells, dirt and grime that have accumulated over time.

3)  Parsley

Parsley is not just a garnish, it’s a life saver!

Parsley is known to pull out impurities and toxins out of your skin and it’s incredibly effective.

Put a handful of parsley in a pot of water, bringing it to a boil. After that, let it cool down a bit. (Yes, you’re basically making parsley tea, which has all sorts of benefits.)

Simply dip a clean washcloth into the water, and then squeeze out excess moisture. Place it on your face for about 10-15 minutes. Wash your face afterwards.

This treatment can actually be repeated every other day, as it has numerous benefits.

There have recently been some claims that such home-made treatments of clogged pores do more harm than good. However, that is simply not true. The key here is not to do it too much, as some of these ingredients can harm the skin if left for too long. But, if you use it the way they’re supposed to be used, they will clean your pores in no time.

Happy smiling woman looking at herself in bathroom mirror

How to Boost Your Blood Circulation for Better Skin

It seems like this is common knowledge, but it definitely bears repeating – blood circulation is truly essential for your body.

Look at it this way – the body’s most ardent soldier, the heart, is fighting for your health by sending tiny, tiny blood cells to every part of your body, giving your cells oxygen and helping them to thrive.

But, did you know that great blood circulation is also beneficial to your skin? If you’re looking to improve your skin, you might want to consider boosting your blood circulation, as it will definitely benefit it!

How the Cardiovascular System Works

The cardiovascular system is essentially made up of the heart and the blood vessels that pump blood to the farthest parts of your body. There are basically two types of vessels:

  •         Arteries, which carry blood away from the heart;
  •         Veins, which bring it back.

Now, basically, the heart is a pump that gets oxygenated blood to our organs. Then, de-oxygenated blood returns to the lungs to get its refill of oxygen. This all happens through the pulmonary circulation (in which the blood is oxygenated) and the systemic circulation (in which the blood goes to the rest of the body to deliver the oxygen).Infographic on blood circulation in the body

That way, all the cells get their necessary fill of oxygen.

The Importance of Good Blood Circulation

Good blood flow is essential to our body, and any problem with it will, in some way or the other, reflect on our general health.

Circulation is pivotal in transporting nutrients to cells and transporting waste from them. That means that it is extremely important for nourishment and detoxification. It is also important for maintaining the body’s pH balance and stabilizing its temperature.

Poor circulation can cause a number of issues – swelling in extremities, numbness and tingling, cold hands and feet, cramps, fatigue, digestive issues, skin problems, and even memory loss and problems with concentration.

That is why boosting your blood circulation will not only have benefits for your skin, but for your general health, as well.

And here’s how to do it!

Start with Exercise

This should be a no-brainer, really.

Basically, in order to increase circulation, you simply need to get the “old ticker” ticking faster.

That’s where exercise steps in.

When your heart contracts at a higher rate, naturally, blood will flow faster and improve your general circulation.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should immediately hit the gym and start working strenuously on your pectorals (although that is an option, too!). Simple exercises will do.

In this day and age, it can be difficult to find the time to exercise and we tend to spend a lot of it sitting behind desks. But, that is not good for our overall health. And, as many other parts of our body, our cardiovascular system gets “lazy,” as well.

That is why any movement is – good movement.

Even walks are exceptionally valuable to getting your blood pumping, especially if that’s not something you tend to do on a regular basis. Just 20-30 minutes of brisk walks will do the trick. You don’t even have to do it every day, every other day will suffice. Walking even strengthens your heart and muscles. You can even do all sorts of exercises with your family and it will be incredibly beneficial for your circulation and, thus, your skin.

Happy young family walking in the woods

Also, another good exercise to boost your blood circulation is, in fact – yoga! Stretching, headstands and many other yoga poses, paired with deep breaths, do wonders for your blood flow! Just make sure you do it regularly and you’ll notice changes in your overall health, as well as your skin, in no time! If you choose to go outdoors to exercise, then you’ll also have the added benefit of the sun rays, that is, vitamin D, which is vital for your skin.

Some other types of exercise that can improve your blood flow and, with it, your skin, include aerobics and weight lifting. If you’re unaccustomed to exercise, start slow and work your way up! It never fails to get results!

Dry Brush

Dry brushing basically includes massaging your body with a dry, stiff-bristled brush. And there are truly many benefits to dry brushing. This is mainly done to get rid of flaky skin typical of wintertime and to increase circulation. It also unclogs pores while exfoliating and stimulates the nervous system. That way, you get the added benefit of being energized.

It is best to use a natural stiff-bristled brush with a long handle to reach your back. However, when you’re choosing your brush, make sure to choose the one that will be most adequate for your skin. Some people have more sensitive skin than others and brushing with a brush that is too stiff might cause more harm than benefit.

Brush just before you shower for best effect. After brushing, you’ll be able to wash off the dead skin cells and the flaky skin. Just make sure to use a good soap or shower gel and, remember, after showering, make sure to apply lotion.

The most common way of dry brushing is to go from your feet upwards. Use long strokes to brush from your feet towards your torso. Don’t apply too much pressure, especially not where the skin is sensitive, such as your breasts or abdomen.

In general, you want to be gentle when dry brushing, as the brush will “do its thing” mostly. If you’re too rough, you can cause irritation and even bleeding.

It goes without saying that you should never brush already damaged skin. This includes scrapes, sores, cuts, burns (and yes, even sunburnt skin should not be dry brushed). Also, if you have any areas that are inflamed or already irritated, don’t go over them with the dry brush. The same goes for your face – it’s off limits!

Indulge in Cold Showers

Yes, it may not be something you can try when it’s freezing out. However, take advantage of the warmer days that are coming soon and take as many cold showers as you can.

Cold water aids circulation because it tells your blood to go faster to maintain the average body temperature. In a way, a cold shower “shocks” your body, getting your heart to pump faster.

Another great side-effect of that is that you will also feel more energized.

And that is also the reason why many people prefer cold showers in the morning.

In addition, a cold shower tightens your cuticles and pores, which makes your skin look smoother and your hair more shiny.

Young smiling woman taking a shower and using a luffa

If you’re unaccustomed to cold water early on, go with lukewarm and work your way down, so to speak. That way you can gradually get used to the feel of cold water against your skin. You can also alternate between hot and cold showers. Simply shower with hot water for one or two minutes, and then immediately switch to cold water. Do this four or five times to flush out the skin and oxygenate it.

However, if you’re feeling too overwhelmed with such abrupt shifts in temperature, then this switching is not for you. But don’t worry, you can shower with cold water and your skin will still have incredible benefits!

Try a Face Massage

A regular massage is the best way to improve your skin. This goes especially for a face massage. It boosts blood and lymph circulation, thus enhancing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the cells.

A good face massage also relieves stress and helps with PMS symptoms, if you needed any more convincing.

When you massage your face, make sure that your movements are gentle, that they’re not too harsh, as you can irritate the skin that way, and that is the opposite of what you’re going for. Remember, gentle movements are quite sufficient to get the blood pumping for healthier skin.

Before you massage your face, do the following:

  1. Wash your hands with warm water and an antibacterial soap.
  2. It’s also a good idea to steam your face first.
  3. Then, you should cleanse your face before you start massaging.

These steps will prepare your skin for a great, almost professional massage you’re going to give yourself.

Now, there are various types of massages for your face, but your skin will benefit most from the most common massage there is. It’s easy and you can do it any time of day (or night, whenever you have time!). Here’s how:

  1. Massage your lymph area. With the tips of your fingers, massage under your ears down to your throat and up along your jawline.
  2. Using wide circular motion, massage the side of your jaw, past your mouth, and over your cheekbones. It’s good to always push skin up and out. Never push your skin down, as it can cause it to sag.
  3. Then you should massage your forehead, using both hands. Start massaging your temples and move towards the middle of your forehead.
  4. Using gentle strokes, massage around the eyes to deal with puffy eyes.

You should massage each part of your face for about a minute for the best effect.

Ionize with Clay Masks 

You may not have known this, but certain types of clay can boost your blood circulation. For instance, bentonite has negatively charged ions. When you put it on your skin, it attracts positively charged ions, like environmental pollutants and some bacteria.

That’s what makes your blood rush to the surface, causing a temporary redness of your face. But not to worry, together with all those pollutants that need to be flushed out, it also causes a rush of endorphins.

Woman applying clay mask on skin

That is why you should definitely indulge in a clay mask from time to time. It’s easy to use, and the benefits are really multiple!

Try LED Therapy

LED light therapy was initially invented to accelerate the healing of wounds and scars after surgery. However, as in most things in life, there was another, quite lucky coincidence – the rejuvenation of healthy skin.

When the light energy is the appropriate wavelength, cells convert it into ATP, i.e. the fuel cells in the dermis layer use to do their job. These are called the fibroblast cells and their job is to produce collagen and elastin.

And collagen and elastin are the two greatest things for skin in the entire universe.

Collagen gives the skin its fullness, while elastin is in charge of, you’ve guessed it, the elasticity of the skin.

With the help of the LED light therapy, the fibroblast cells “work overtime” and the main result here is – rejuvenated skin.

According to experts that deal in LED light therapy, it doesn’t have any contra-indications. It can be used with all skin types and conditions, and, it’s even safe for your eyes.

Also, because it was initially discovered in order to treat wounds, one of its main uses is increasing circulation. That is, it increases the body’s healing processes, which later, you’ve guessed it, improves the health of your skin!

Check Your Diet

If this proverb were really true, most of us would likely be giant slices of pizza running around our pizza towns, going about our pizza life.

But, thankfully, the proverb is simply meant to point to the fact that our dietary choices are actually incredibly important for our overall health.

And, you may not have thought about this, but what we eat is vital for our blood circulation.

For instance, trans fats and processed sugar are, you might have guessed it, truly awful when it comes to blood flow. And, another thing you can reduce if you don’t want your circulation to suffer is salt.

However, the following foods are super healthy for blood flow and you should eat them on a regular basis:

Whole garlic and garlic cloves on a wooden chopping board

  1. Onion and garlic. We figured we should put the best news first, as it’s a well-known fact that these two friends are the soul of every dish.
  2. Citrus fruits. As you may know, citrus fruits are full of antioxidants and they reduce stiffness in the arteries, thus improving circulation.
  3. Leafy greens. They dilate blood vessels, which allows your blood to flow more easily.
  4. Various types of spices. This includes cayenne pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, etc.
  5. Tomatoes. They act similarly as leafy greens, as they open up your blood vessels.

These foods are also great for your overall immune system, so you might benefit from eating them in numerous ways.

Woman touching face in front of mirror

Jojoba Oil is Biocompatible with the Skin

There are only a handful of ingredients out there that are genuinely suitable for all skin types, and jojoba oil is one of these.

What makes this ingredient so great?

The fact that jojoba oil is biocompatible with the skin, meaning that the skin readily accepts it and puts it to good use.

What is Jojoba Oil? 

Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil is extracted from the seed of the jojoba plant – a shrub that is native to certain parts of southern USA and Mexico. Around 50% of the seed contains the oil, which looks like a thick golden liquid when it is pure, with a subtle nutty scent to it.

Although this liquid is referred to as an oil, it is technically a wax, making it even softer than a normal oil.

Unlike many of the other oils out there, from almond to safflower to squalene, jojoba oil is quite stable when it comes to resisting oxidation, making this a fantastic oil to incorporate into skin care products when you need them to have a longer shelf life.

Wondering what else the oil is used for?

Since the jojoba plant itself is quite slow and difficult to grow, jojoba oil is only really used for small-scale purposes.

Historically, it has been used by Native Americans to treat skin wounds and other similar conditions, and is now also currently being explored as an alternative sustainable fuel source.

The Biocompatibility of Jojoba Oil

So, what exactly does it mean when an ingredient is said to be biocompatible with the skin?

It basically means that the molecular structure of jojoba oil, along with the natural fats within it, are extremely similar to the oil that the skin naturally produces.

This means that, when jojoba oil is applied to the skin, the skin is tricked into thinking that this oil is actually its own sebum. This results in the skin absorbing much more of it, and at a much faster rate, than other ingredients.  

Jojoba is the only plant out there that creates an oil that is so similar to the skin’s natural sebum, making this ingredient rather special.

If you have oily skin, you are probably thinking…

Why would I want to be putting even more oil on my skin?

The idea of applying oil to oily skin may seem counter-intuitive at first, but hold on….

When you apply the oil and trick your skin into thinking that the oil is its own sebum, this then causes the skin to cut back on the amount of actual sebum that it is producing.

Intrigued?

Keep reading…

A Fantastic Anti-Acne Ingredient

Oily skin is also usually prone to breakouts. This is due to the excess oil settling in within the pores and mixing together with dead skin cells, dirt and other impurities. This then forms a clog, blocking up the entrance to the pores and resulting in inflammation, which manifests as a breakout.

Well, as mentioned above, jojoba oil quickly helps to rebalance the amount of sebum that your skin produces, leaving your skin significantly less oily.

Worried that the jojoba oil itself will clog your pores up?

Jojoba oil is noncomedogenic, meaning that it is unlikely to lead to clogged pores on its own.

There are a few other ways in which jojoba oil can help to treat and prevent acne too:

  • Antibacterial – the oil’s antibacterial qualities mean that it is able to destroy the acne-causing bacteria on the surface of the skin, preventing it from triggering a breakout. Don’t worry, research has shown that jojoba oil leaves all of the good bacteria alone, targeting just the bad ones instead
  • Anti-inflammatory – jojoba oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that help to soothe irritated skin. Since acne is largely caused by inflammation, this goes a long way in preventing breakouts
  • Cleansing – many people don’t realize that jojoba oil boasts cleansing properties too. It is able to dissolve away any sebum that has been deposited within the pores, clearing the pores out and preventing blockages. This is all down to the fact that it can penetrate so deeply into the skin’s layers, thanks to its biocompatibility

How do you cleanse with jojoba oil?

Good question! Lots of skin and body products are infused with jojoba oil to enhance the cleansing properties, so all that sebum and clogged pores can be effectively and gently removed.

Are soaps infused with jojoba oil effective?

Handmade soaps

These are soaps used for the skin on the body, and can be highly effective as an anti-acne measure, especially if you struggle with body acne. Resveralife recommends the Coco N’ Oats Soap and the Hemp Soap if you are looking for a swift, effective cleanse.

An Effective Sunscreen

Moisturizers are designed to support the skin’s protective barrier, enabling it to do its job better.

What does the skin’s barrier actually do?

It has two main responsibilities:

  • Keeping moisture in the skin by preventing it from evaporating
  • Blocking dirt, impurities and more from entering into the skin

Infographic on skin barrier function

Wondering why you need a moisturizer if your skin already does that on its own?

Because your skin’s outer protective layer is quite fragile and susceptible to damage. There are so many different factors out there that cause harm to this layer, from sun exposure and wind to pollution and certain cosmetic ingredients.

This then means that this protective barrier will not function as well as it should, resulting in everything from dryness to breakouts to other blemishes.

How does jojoba oil help with all of this?

Due to the fact that it is a waxy oil, jojoba oil forms its own protective layer over the surface of the skin. This enables it to perform both of the roles mentioned above, therefore effectively moisturizing the skin.

Helps to Treat Inflammatory Skin Conditions

The way in which jojoba oil can help to treat acne has already discussed, but there are other inflammatory skin conditions that this oil can be used for too…

Eczema and psoriasis are perfect examples of this.

Both of these skin conditions produce dry, itchy and sensitive areas on the skin, with those patches being highly susceptible to infections.

How does jojoba oil help?

Well, the way in which it forms a protective moisturizing layer over the surface of the skin helps with both the dryness as well as with preventing infections.

The oil also boasts antibacterial and antifungal properties. This means that the oil destroys any harmful bacteria and fungus it comes across, keeping infections at bay.

The oil’s anti-inflammatory properties help to soothe irritated skin, reducing inflammation enough for the skin to start healing.

Those who suffer from eczema and psoriasis also commonly deal with open skin wounds.

Again, jojoba oil can help with this too…

It is highly effective at speeding up wound healing. Research shows that, when the oil is applied to a wound, the skin cells in that area bind together so much more effectively, enabling them to heal faster and better. 

A Powerful Anti-Aging Ingredient 

Looking for a new ingredient to add to your anti-aging arsenal?

Jojoba oil may be just the thing…

A powerful anti-aging ingredient needs to be a good source of antioxidants.

Why?

Because each and every day, free radicals are created in the body. These are unstable molecules that are formed due to everything from exposure to the sun or pollution to exposure to certain chemicals or cosmetic ingredients.

What do these free radicals do?

They attack the cells and tissues that surround them, causing serious cumulative damage that then ends up permanently harming the DNA within your cells. Free radicals are responsible for everything from accelerated wrinkles to dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

Wondering how you can stop free radicals from causing all of this damage?

With the use of antioxidants!

Antioxidants are pretty much the only thing that can neutralize free radicals. They turn them back into healthy molecules, where they can then function to support the skin, rather than attack it.

Jojoba oil contains quite a few different antioxidants, and in addition to neutralizing the free radicals in the body, they bring with them several other benefits too: 

  • Vitamin A – a powerful antioxidant that also stimulates skin cell turnover and provides the skin with a mild exfoliating effect. Vitamin A is one of the best anti-aging vitamins out there
  • Vitamin E – known for its healing properties, vitamin E is extremely effective at keeping the skin moisturized
  • Phenolic Compounds – protects the collagen and elastin in the skin, preventing them from being broken down

Speaking of collagen and elastin…

These two proteins are so important when it comes to the health and appearance of your skin. They are key components of your skin’s structure, giving your skin its firmness, smoothness and elasticity.

Both collagen and elastin are naturally produced by the skin, with the skin creating an abundance of this when it is young. However, as you progress through life, the amount of collagen and elastin that the skin produces decreases quite significantly. This is why fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin are such common symptoms of aging.

Infographic on collagen in the skin

Free radicals damage the collagen and elastin in the skin, so by making use of the antioxidants within jojoba oil, you are already taking steps when it comes to protecting these vital proteins.

However, jojoba oil can help with your collagen and elastin in other ways too…

Thanks to its many powerful antioxidants, jojoba oil is able to stimulate the skin’s production of collagen and elastin, speeding this back up. This is one of the most effective ways to tackle the visible signs of aging, as there aren’t really any topical ingredients out there that can match the effects that your skin’s own collagen and elastin have.

Using Jojoba Oil on Your Skin

Convinced that your skin would be able to benefit from the powers of jojoba oil?

You have a few different options when it comes to using this ingredient…

The easiest way is by purchasing skin care products that already contain jojoba oil in their formulas.

Fortunately, there are several of these to choose from, ranging from serums to moisturizers to oils. All of these are quite effective, so long as they contain a high quality source of jojoba oil.

Using essential oil for body massage

How do you know if the jojoba oil in a product is high quality?

Ideally, it should be cold-pressed. This means that it has been extracted with minimal use of heat, which then preserves all of the skin-boosting compounds within the oil. An organic oil would be even more beneficial, as this ensures that the oil contains the minimum amount of toxins.

Wondering if jojoba oil can be used pure on the skin?

Unlike many of the natural essential oils out there that cannot be used on the skin, it is safe for pure jojoba oil to be applied to the skin.

The oil can also be used as a carrier oil for other essential oils, meaning that you can dilute other pure oils with jojoba oil to create your own unique formula.

Does Jojoba Oil Have Any Side Effects? 

Jojoba oil is a hypoallergenic ingredient, meaning that it is safe to be used topically by all skin types, with little chance of it causing a negative reaction. It is even safe to be used around the eyes, which is why this ingredient is so popular when it comes to oil-based eye makeup removers.

Of course, there are always exceptions, and the possible side effects you might experience from using jojoba oil on your skin are:

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Hives

Fortunately, these side effects are very rare, with most people able to use the ingredient without any problems at all.

However, if your skin is particularly sensitive with new ingredients, you would be best off performing a patch test first before using jojoba oil on your skin.

What is a patch test?

It simply requires you to apply a small amount of the product onto your inner arm, before waiting for 24 to 48 hours. If, after this time, there is no sign of any irritations or reactions, then that means that you are safe to continue using the product.

Jojoba oil really is such a universal ingredient, which sets it apart from many of the other ingredients that are commonly used in skin care. No matter your skin type or the skin concerns you may be dealing with, it is likely that jojoba oil would be able to benefit your skin in some way, making this an ingredient worth incorporating into your daily skin care routine.

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 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.