Don't let the mid-winter blahs take a toll on your skin. Cold weather, along with not getting enough sun to make a good supply of natural Vitamin D, can put unwanted stress on your body and complexion. The resulting high cortisol levels, especially if they're compounded by lack of sleep, can manifest as wrinkles, skin laxity, dryness, rosacea, and acne. The problem is that stress increases the production of hormones that damage collagen and elastin. Too much stress also takes some of the joy out of life, so you are more likely to frown or scowl, which induces wrinkles.
Take good care of yourself and try to get enough sleep so your body can rest and your skin has time to renew itself. Nighttime is the best time to repair your skin, and you'll look and feel better about yourself in the morning.
Follow these six healthy skin solutions to re-energize your skin and create a mid-winter glow:
Pump up your energy and renew body and soul by exfoliating from head to toe.
A buildup of debris, oil, and dead cells can impede your skin's ability to absorb the advanced skincare formulations that you need to keep skin in peak condition. ZO Skin Health's Exfoliating Polish does a great job of scrubbing away dull, dry skin. This process allows fresh, healthy cells to emerge. The Exfoliating Polish is more aggressive than some milder exfoliants, so if you have weak, thin, or sensitive skin, be gentle at first. You will love the difference when you shed the dead skin and debris that is standing between you and a glowing complexion. For your body, use a lotion high in lactic acid, not just a typical smell-good body moisturizer. Lactic acid is derived from sour milk and it really works hard to exfoliate and rejuvenate your skin. It is also a naturally occurring humectant that keeps skin soft, especially heels and elbows where rough patches tend to occur.
Stay hydrated throughout the day.
Overheated rooms and not enough water can wreak havoc with your skin and dehydrate you. Drink at least 64 ounces of water throughout the day. If you are not a big fan of garden variety tap water, try one of the natural flavored waters or add a slice of lemon or lime to your glass. Reduce your intake of caffeinated beverages and switch to herbal teas. Increase the amount of fresh fruits and veggies you eat, such as pears, apples, oranges, and lettuce, all of which have high water content.
Treat yourself to a pore-purifying facial at your favorite spa or skin clinic.
If you aren't sure what to choose from the menu of services, sign up for a skin consultation with an aesthetician and let her choose the best treatment for you. If you prefer to try an at-home facial treatment, look for a clay mask. Natural clay can refine pores, cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, and rejuvenate your skin. Clay or mud based masks are ideal for balancing out oily or acne-prone skin. China Clay is the mildest and Pink China Clay is best for toning dull, dehydrated, dry skin.
Keep your skin active by applying retinol.
High concentrations of retinol will work to rejuvenate your skin, produce more collagen, and accelerate cellular turnover. Make sure that you are using a concentration that is potent enough to change your skin. Thirty minutes before bedtime, apply a retinol product so it has time to work its magic while you sleep.
Exercise and work up a sweat at least three times a week.
Take brisk 30-minute walks. You can stop and smell the roses later! When you work up a sweat, you are essentially moisturizing your skin from the inside out. Avoid the temptation of saunas and steam rooms. Although they may seem refreshing, they can actually dehydrate your skin. Stay away from using very hot water on your face, on your hands, or in the shower too.
If your skin needs added moisture, apply a light moisturizer but don't overdo it.
Use moisturizers only as a short-term fix to plump up your skin temporarily. With prolonged use, rich creams and lotions or poor quality moisturizers can cause your skin to become weak and lazy. Creamy moisturizers usually contain more water than oil, but when the water evaporates they may actually have a drying effect. Avoid moisturizers that contain mineral oil, parabens, and synthetic fragrances that can irritate your skin.
Board Certified Beverly Hills Dermatologist Zein Obagi, MD is the quintessential skincare expert and creator of ZO Skin Health, his new range that bridges the gap between therapeutic medical products and daily skin care.www.zoskinhealth.com
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