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Taking Care of Your Skin in Winter Weather

Taking Care of Your Skin in Winter Weather

If you live in a place where the mercury has dropped enough for  snow to start falling, chances are you’re also starting to deal with “winter skin” right about now: cheeks are getting rough and dry, lips are chapping… and depending on the severity of the weather outside, skin can even flake, crack, or erupt into hives or eczema. This just isn’t a season that’s kind to skin at all. Fortunately, there are ways to combat the damage caused by freezing winds, snow, and hail, and a few of these handy techniques are listed below.

Change Your Moisturizer

The lightweight moisturizer you use in summertime isn’t going to cut it during the winter. To fend off cold damage to your skin in winter, opt for creams that have a heavier oil content, as the oils will create a protective layer on the skin’s surface. Creams rich in avocado or sweet almond oil are ideal for your face, but try to avoid using cocoa or shea butter on facial skin, as it can clog pores.  If you’re prone to breakouts, talk to an aesthetician or dermatologist who can recommend a cream that’s right for your skin type.

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Don’t forget that the skin on your entire body needs special care at this time of year: though you’ll see and feel the damage cold weather can cause to hands and feet (roughness, cracking around knuckles and cuticles, etc.) you might not notice dry patches on your legs or arms until they start to itch or flake. This is where the cocoa and shea butters come in: a good body lotion will replenish the moisture in your limbs as well as your cheeks, leaving you soft and supple all over.

Speaking of cream…

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Sunscreen

If you spend a lot of time outside, don’t forget to wear sunscreen! Your skin can be subjected to just as much UV damage in wintertime as in summer, so don’t hesitate to put on a layer of SPF 15 before putting on your makeup.

Exfoliate

Gentle exfoliation once a week will help to remove dry, dead skin from your cheeks and forehead, but don’t go overboard with it! Your skin takes a lot of damage from the weather outside, and scouring it too much will actually increase wear and tear, and will do more harm than good.

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For the rest of your body, a homemade exfoliant such as a salt or sugar scrub can do wonders to slough off dead skin cells and leave you soft and smooth all over.

Wear Lip Balm

The skin on your lips is the thinnest and most sensitive on your entire body, so be sure to take proper care of them by protecting them from cold damage—that means you too, guys. It’s not a lot of fun to kiss someone whose lips are flaking apart like a dry old phone book. Aim for unflavoured lip balms with a carnauba or beeswax base (stick to the former if you’re vegan), and apply it regularly. It’s best to avoid using petroleum jelly as a lip balm, though; you really don’t want an oil industry by-product on your face, do you? Besides, petroleum jelly isn’t absorbed by the skin: it just sits on top of it, and can clog up pores rather thoroughly. Skin can’t absorb any moisture if it’s congested with oil slurry gel.

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Shorten Your Bath Time

Have you ever gotten out of a hot bath after soaking for a while and realised that you were desperately thirsty? It’s likely because immersing yourself in hot water for long periods of time can actually deplete your body of moisture. Soaking in a hot bath can be absolutely blissful in this weather, but either try to keep your wallowing time to a minimum, or don’t make the water too hot. Scalding showers can also suck a fair bit of moisture out of you, so try to keep them short as well.

Stay Hydrated

Even though drinking water doesn’t moisturize your skin directly, it keeps your cells in top working order, which reflects in every area of your life—skin cells included. Flushing toxins out of your body with plenty of fluids will often keep you from breaking out as well.

Taking just a couple of these precautions should make a significant difference in the health of your skin in winter. Eating properly and getting regular sleep will improve your overall well-being—which will be reflected in the state of your skin—and wearing proper outerwear such as gloves and scarves when traipsing about in the snow will help protect your skin from nose to toes.

Featured photo credit:  winter girl behind snow tree via Shutterstock

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Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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