As the year winds down and thankfully the days start to get longer, and we gather together in groups of loved ones to celebrate and reflect, it also becomes a traditional time to set some intentions for our health, well-being, and happiness. Our skin is a great place to start because as the largest organ of our body it bears the brunt of the seasons, and our life choices, but also shows the results of any changes the fastest.
So as we eat, drink, and make merry in the next few weeks consider your skin and give it the gift of care this holiday season. To set up the coming year, here are few simple ideas to keep your skin radiant, and healthy. They follow three simple rules perfect for this time of yearly transition, especially as we enter a new decade: out with the old, repair and restore, and nourish the new.
Out with the Old
Dry skin in winter is inevitable; the dry cold air outside, the dry warm air inside make it hard for our skin to keep it's moisture levels in balance. Skin also regenerates every 30 days, so it is important at least once a month to help get rid of the old dead skin cells so that any moisturizing products we use can penetrate to the lower dermis levels and be effective. The best way to do that is through gentle exfoliation, either with a sugar or salt scrub, a soap with exfoliating ingredients, or a simple cotton wash cloth.
Super Simple Scrub
1 Cup of Sugar
1/4 -1/3 Cup of Oil (Avocado, Olive, or Coconut)
1 TBS Honey
1 tsp Botanical or Spice
(ground ginger, ground cinnamon, herbal tea, lavender buds etc.)
Mix together in a non-metallic bowl and apply to skin in slow gentle circles.
Save any remaining scrub in a container.
Repair and Restore
Once you have scrubbed away the old skin cells you can get a better handle on repairing and restoring the uncovered newer skin. This is when you take stock your problem areas, as this will also help you determine what type of moisturizing agent to use. Check out my post on "Butter, Lotions, and Salves" for a guide on what to use when and where. For a different approach to adding softness and moisture to skin consider taking a bath with a Bath Oil Melt or a Milk Bath, both will allow the ingredients to soak into your skin slowly. Make sure your water is not too hot as this can dry out your skin even more.
Milk Bath Bags
2 Cups Epsom Salts
1 Cup Powdered Milk (Cow, Goat, or Coconut)
1/4 Cup Oats (finely ground)
Optional - add any botanicals you have such as Lavender, Calendula, or Rose
Mix together and store in a jar for 6-12 months.
To use, put a handful of mixture into a refillable tea bag or cotton muslin bag and add to water while it is running. Putting the mixture into a bag will ensure the oats and botanicals will not go down the drain.
Nourish the New
One of the best ways to help our skin be radiant and healthy is to feed it from the inside. Eating lots of vegetables, drinking lots of water, and getting good sleep can work wonders for the complexation. Herbal teas also offer a great convenient way to feed our skin daily with nutrients and compounds to build healthy skin from the inside out.
Five Best Teas for Skincare
Spearmint tea is great for hormonal acne (the deep under the skin, hurting kind)
Rose Hip and Rooibos teas are full of antioxidants that can counteract damaging free radicals that make skin dull
Green tea helps with overall inflammation and damage caused by UV rays (a cup after a night of drinking is ideal!)
White tea slows down the skin-aging process and prevent collagen and elastin breakdown
Hibiscus helps achieve that sought-after glow of healthy skin. It has natural alpha hydroxy acids and omega-3 fatty acids, essential for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails
And while we look after our skin in whatever way works for us, just remember...