Winter SOS (Save Our Skin) Solutions

TEXT: THE NUTRITIONISTA LIFESTYLE EDIT
DATE: JANUARY 2016

For many the festive season and the start of the New Year meant a lot of alcohol flowing, late night parties, and never ending to do lists. What does all this mean for the skin?

We asked leading holistic health specialist and skin care expert Gemma Clare to give us her SOS solutions to counteract the unrelenting winter months.

Sleep

Sleep is so important for the skin as it’s nighttime when our skin detoxifies and repairs itself. Skin cell regeneration almost doubles at night, peaking between 11pm and 3am so I always suggest to be in bed by 11pm, when this process starts, to prevent the tell tale signs of dark circles and puffy eyes. If you have difficult with sleeping, as many of my clients do, then introduce the following steps. It takes discipline but you’ll notice the difference:

Aim for 7-9 hours sleep a night, falling to sleep and waking up at the roughly the same time everyday

Keep your bedroom digital free, cool, dark and clean. Think of it as a sleep sanctuary

Blue light transmittance from computer, laptop and tablet screens suppresses the hormone melatonin and disturbs our sleep-wake cycle. To cut out blue light transmittance I use and recommend Ocushield on screens, and, switching off all electrical appliances 30-45 minutes before bed.

The time right before bed is an ideal to relax. Taking a warm bath with an aromatherapy blend like Aromatherapy Apothecary Healing Mineral Bath Soak can relax the muscles and soothe the mind whilst nourishing and softening the skin. If your suffer with helicopter head then listen to some Alphamusic to facilitate the mind into a relaxed brain wave state, emulating meditation.

If all else fails, sleeping with your head slightly elevated while you sleep will reduce under eye puffiness the morning after, on a silk pillowcase even better for skin health. I like Jasmine Silk Pillowcases 

Skin Care Ritual

With central heating inside and cold weather outside, winter skincare is all about keeping moisture locked in to the skin.

Make sure you use ‘clean’ products, which are formulated with botanical, skin friendly ingredients and avoid synthetic ingredients, such as parabens, which are skin barriers instead of skin nourishers and sodium lauryl sulfate, which can be problematic on many levels. For a daily skincare ritual, I suggest choosing a cream based cleanser, instead of a gel based one to stop skin becoming dry or tight. Follow with a toner to balance the skin’s pH levels and include a serum with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, which is a humectant attracting moisture to the skin, and vitamin C, an antioxidant to prevent premature ageing. Protect the delicate eye area and diminish the appearance of fine lines with a nourishing eye cream though be careful not to put too much under the eye as it can block the pores and cause milia. If your skin is prone to dryness, or the festive period is taking its toll, then include a facial oil at night with active ingredients, such as retinol, which will deeply penetrate in to the skin’s cells and work hard whilst you sleep. Shield your lips from the elements with a lip balm and don’t forget to replenish the face with masks 3x a week, I use Timeless Truth Bio-Cellulose Bee Venom and Royal Jelly Miracle Mask in clinic for a pre-party “natural botox” effect.

If you’re concerned about the signs of ageing then taking Skinade, a high quality collagen drink, can help to restore your skin’s youthful appearance by improving it’s tone, texture and hydration levels, whilst smoothing lines and wrinkles.

To keep your body hydrated throughout winter, exfoliate weekly to remove dead skin cells and aid product absorption. Take warm showers/baths, not hot, to prevent your skin drying our and make sure you apply body cream immediately after, when your skin is moist, as this is the best time to lock in moisture

This year Public Health England announced that more than 1 in 5 people in the UK have low levels of vitamin D, which can affect skin conditions like acne and eczema so it’s worth getting your levels checked with your GP and if you need taking a liquid vitamin D supplement to keep levels boosted

Digestion

Whether you’re indulging in fatty, salty foods or sugary sweets and alcohol, inflammatory foods, toxic overload and poor digestion can cause a number of skin problems from dull, dry, lackluster skin to acne and rosacea. Here are a few things you can do to help keep your digestive system happy and healthy though the holidays and winter.

A good probiotic can help to balance and maintain healthy levels of gut bacteria and fortify the immune system. I recommend taking live, active, bacteria such as Symprove daily for inside out radiance.

I may be stating the obvious but chew your food! If you still experience bloating then you can take a digestive enzyme with main meals to combat the festive feasting. I like Nutri Nutrigest.

Drink warm liquids and consume warming foods to strengthen your digestive system. Perfect to start the day is a cup of warm water with lemon in the morning to kickstart your digestive metabolism, whilst at mealtimes, peppermint and ginger tea can aid the digestive system. Food wise, I’m a huge fan of Daylesford Organic Chicken and Vegetables Broth. Green leafy veg, omega 3, healthy fats from sources such as nuts (best soaked) and avocados will keep your skin vibrant and plump.

Exercise

It can be tempting to swap exercise for the sofa over the festive period and stay under the duvet instead of getting up and out on cold, dark mornings but exercise will stimulate circulation and digestion to give a healthy glow as well as detoxifying the skin.  If you’re feeling the stress of Christmas you may want to swap high intensity training for something a little more meditative such as yoga or swimming. To prevent breakouts, cleanse your face pre and post exercise and wear minimal makeup, Time Bomb Holiday in a Bottle is great for a natural summer glow.

For persistent skin problems or ageing concerns you could benefit from a Cosmecutis™ Prescription Skin Treatment.

For further information, or to contact Gemma, visit: www.gemmaclare.com

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