Yes its that time of year again – cool weather equals drier skin. The question that has been most asked is “what can I do about my dry skin?”. As always I like to give you a complete answer so I will outline below internal and lifestyle solutions as well as the topical products you can use to improve skin dryness and dehydration.
Firstly a short explaination about why your skin is feel dry and tight. Basically, with the cooler weather the humidity decreases and moisture evaporates out of your skin. This reduces the skin’s ability to protect from the external environment and so it reacts more readily to wind, cold weather and topical irritants. You may find that as well as feeling dry, your skin is also more sensitive during winter. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to reduce moisture evaporation and increase skin protection and resiliance.
Sun, wind, cold air and hot water all increase water loss. You can reduce evaporation by making a few changes to your routine:
If you have any additional winter skin tips, please write in and let me know. I would love to hear about them.Twitter It!
I have been experimenting with products of late and one of the product groups I have tried over the last 4 months is skin lightening creams. Now don’t be alarmed, of course I used only natural products that contain herbal or vitamin skin whitening ingredients. There were no skin bleaches such as uric acid or hydroquinone in any product I put on or even near my skin. These ingredients are potentially damaging to the skin. Nor do I in any way promote the use of lightening agents for the purpose of making overall skin tone lighter. However to help manage pigmentation and age spots, they can be useful. So the results of my experiment: I just wish I had taken before and after photos of my skin. As I didn’t I will just have to explain…and so back to January.
Over summer, despite my best efforts I always get freckles. This year after two weeks at the beach I not only had freckles but also light brown pigmentation all over my cheeks and nose that almost joined the freckles together. From a distance it looked like I had applied brown blush all over my cheekbones. I have the type of skin that burns when I look at the sun, so I am careful to protect it using sunscreen, hats and often long sleeve shirts or an umbrella to cover up. Living in Queensland still makes it hard to avoid sun damage and so over the years I have developed some light sun spots on my forehead and the side of my face. My hands and arms are also covered in permanent freckles that don’t fade anymore. I have grown to accept this about my skin and so generally don’t get too worried about it. However, this January I decided that I was going to see if skin lighteners really worked (I don’t recommend things I can either prove on myself or find the appropriate research for). Over the next 3 months I applied a skin whitening cream to my face and the backs of my hands at night only. During the day I used a moisturizer with SPF 30.
The results were extraordinary. After about 6 weeks I noticed that the background pigmentation on my cheeks had faded dramatically. After 3 months, it was like it had never existed and all the normal freckles I have had gone as well. I have to stress, this pigmentation was not long term or hormonal pigmentation but nonetheless I hadn’t expected such a remarkable result. My hands started to look freakish because they were so much paler than my arms…so I stopped it and just used on my face. It is now May and some of the long term sun damage areas have faded. There is only one remaining that is on my nose near my eye and I think this is more about not applying the cream properly rather than the cream not working. In any case I am stoked with the results!
Naturally I wanted to know how lightening products worked so I researched the key ingredients:
The process of normal skin colouration is extensive and occurs in various stages. Usually most skin lightening treatment will target several stages of this process at once. The most crucial step is the first where tyrosinase converts to tyrosine and by blocking this step, it follows that you can block the entire melanin formation process. Then as skin cells die and turn over, new lighter skin cells come to the surface. This is why the process of lightening the skin takes up to 4 months. Skin cell turnover is approximately 90-120 days. If you choose to try a skin lightening cream or serum to manage pigmentation, be aware that it will take time so don’t expect overnight results.
I do want to make a note about hormonal pigmentation. While the ingredients I discuss above may help reduce pigmentation, unless the underlying driver of the pigmentation is addressed and any hormonal imbalance is normalised, it is likely to return.
The cream I used to get these results is Devita Rx Complex KBA Hyperpigmentation Formula. It is a moisturiser as well so I didn’t need to apply anything over the top. There is also a Devita Skin Brightening Serum that contains the same ingredients designed for use under moisturisers. I have ceased using the lightening cream over winter but continue to use an SPF 30 moisturiser. I am considering starting to use it again in the lead up to summer as a way of minimizing the effects of sun exposure.
I would love to hear if you have had any experiences with lightening creams that have work, or not.Twitter It!
At the Natural Therapies Expo recently I entered a draw and won a Raindrop Technique. At this stage I had no idea what this therapy was or what I was in for – but of course I was excited that I had won something. So on Monday, after a very busy weekend which included the Open Day of our new centre at Bulimba and the Million Paws Walk, I went along for my appointment. The experience was nothing like I expected!
As soon as I hopped out of the car Val’s house (the Rainbow Technique therapist), I could smell essential oils. The smell was divine and got stronger as I entered the treatment room. As Rainbow Technique involves the use of therapeutic grade essential oils, to ensure I didn’t have a reaction Val performed a spot test on my arm. She also measured my height (!). After 5 minutes with no reaction on my skin, I undressed down to my smalls and lay on the table.
So to the experience! I think I imagined it would be much like an aromatherapy massage but in reality the therapy is completely different. For a start, undiluted essential oils are used and over the 90 minutes treatment 140 drops of essential oil was dripped onto my body and massaged into the skin. As you can imagine, I smelt divine afterwards. The smell was not sweet at all, more herbaceous and green, which was likely due to oils Val chose. For my treatment the oils used were Oregano, Thyme, Basil, Cypress, Wintergreen or Birch, Marjoram and Peppermint, and the blend Valor.
Firstly the oils were massaged into my feet. During this process I almost fell asleep. It was very relaxing. Then I rolled over onto my stomach and the oils were dropped onto my spine and feathered in using a spine-tingling massage effect. What I noticed was the waves of aroma wafting over me as Val applied each different essential oil. Far from being overwhelming, the aroma was relaxing and enlivening.
Prior to this treatment I was so very weary – I just wanted to curl up in bed for the day. Following the treatment and until I went to bed that night, I was very alert and while not overly energetic, I felt great. This is in contrast to how I usually feel after a massage, which is relaxed but a big groggy. I slept well and woke up invigorated. Val mentioned that the oils may cause my body to detoxify and that I may feel the effects of this for up to 48 hours after the treatment. I drank lots of water and felt fine.
Raindrop Technique derives its name from dripping the therapeutic-grade essential oils onto the body from a height (like rain). The oils are said to interact with the physical body as well as the energy field. This technique was inspired by the Native American belief that raindrops falling from a height may purify and cleanse the body and spirit.
The skin is highly absorbent and so the oils penetrate easily into the muscles and bloodstream. As a result only soft pressure is required to get deeply effective results. The massage techniques that are used such as feathering the spine also stimulate the nerve cells in the skin, making it more receptive to therapeutic effect of the oils.
Raindrop Technique was developed by essential oil researcher and naturopath D. Gary Young. As part of his research Gary showed that the essential oils may also influence the inflammation-producing bacteria and viruses that reside along the spine. On this note following my treatment, Val measured me again and I was 1.5 cm taller than before the treatment. Apparently this effect is common as the oils reduce inflammation in the spinal muscles allowing the spine to stretch out. And quite frankly at 155cm I need every cm I can get!
All in all, I really enjoyed the treatment and because I am a skin care junky, I of course ordered a whole heap of the essential oil blends to use at home. I am in love with some of the combinations.
To find out more about Raindrop Technique you can contact Val Chambers at email@example.com
Have you had an unusual treatment of any kind? Something out of the ordinary that you enjoyed? If so, let us know. It would be great to hear about.Twitter It!
Every now and again at Vitale we hear really amazing stories and one of these is about my friend Karen. A bit about Karen, she is very fit and has no fear and so when she decided to learn how to skydive solo, no-one was surprised. So she spent 3 months prepping for her first solo dive and one sunny Sunday morning jumped out of a plane (the thought almost makes me pee my pants but she says she had no fear!). The dive was perfect, the landing was perfect and then Karen to one step and shattered her ankle and lower leg. The ambulance people told her that this was a common occurance and that they had been out at the same field the week before for the same reason. If only she had known!
What followed was lots of leg surgery, bed rest, casts etc. But Karen is a busy kind of person so within 5 days she was up and about. Three weeks later she came to me and said “I need some Rosehip oil for my scar – it isn’t healing”. I had a look at the scar – it was gruesome! So I replied, “yes Rosehip oil is good, but try this stuff, it is Excellent!”.
Five days after that I received a text message with photos attached. Being a scientific-type, Karen took a photo of her scar and sent it through to me:
After 5 days I received this surprising photo:
Finally on Day 7 of application I received this photo:
Karen is pretty happy with the results and her surgeon was also quietly impressed!
The product I recommended is Third Stone Botanicals Skin Smoother. It does contain Rosehip Oil, which is great for scar healing but it also contains some other key ingredients that promote even more rapid skin healing including Calendula, vitamin E and Wheatgerm oil. Karen’s isn’t the only story I have been told about this product – open heart surgery scars and scars from a broken arm have also responded similarly. You can also use Skin Smoother on small scars, wounds and abrasions. For areas where the skin is dry or dehydrated, choose Calm Magic Balm instead.
If you have a story about wound or scar healing or have used this product yourself, I would love to hear about it.Twitter It!
Agghhhhh! My lips are dry again. The first sign of even cool weather and my lips seem to lose all moisture and crack up! Then of course the temptation is to chew them, or lick them to stop them from drying out – both of which just make the situation worse. So in an effort to avoid dry lips for the entirety of Winter, I have developed a “lip-care routine” which sounds silly but is helping. I have outlined what I do below but would love to hear about any tips you may have:
Apply lip balm before bed – particularly if you mouth breathe apply a natural lip balm rich in beeswax. Beeswax holds in moisture without having an occlusive effect unlike mineral oil based products. Even organic oil based lip balms aren’t ideal. They are great for a high gloss look but not for stopping immediate moisture loss. Some of our beeswax rich lip balms include Suvana Paw Paw & Honey Lip Balm, any of the Badger Lip Balms and Third Stone Botanicals Chocolate Lip Balm. The other good option is La Mav Soothing Lip Balm with Hyaluronic, an ingredients that attracts and holds moisture in skin cells.
Avoid too much caffeine and alcohol as they dehydrate your skin, lips, everything basically!
And all of this in an attempt to get a kiss no less! You may not need to do everything on the list but remember that all these tips apply to your skin in general. Keep in well moisturised and nourished and it won’t get dry or dehydrated during winter. Something I must remember! I am off to get a glass of water…and apply some lip balm!Twitter It!
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