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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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Last Updated on October 15, 2018

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

“Why am I so tired?” is a question that people ask themselves pretty frequently. Everyone gets tired at one point or another, particularly after something like an illness, a long night up with a sick child, or a busy week at work. When tiredness is persistent, however — when you feel tired as soon as you wake up in morning or when sleep doesn’t seem to help, no matter how much rest you get— it may often indicate a deeper, underlying problem.

While there are a lot of possible reasons for tiredness, here’re some of the most common causes of fatigue:

1. Dehydration

If you want to boost your energy levels, first check whether you are dehydrated. The human brain is 85% water, and needs to maintain this level in order to perform its essential functions.

If you fail to drink enough water, the brain extracts fluids from your blood to compensate for the deficit. As a result, the oxygen levels in your blood drop, reducing the amount of energising oxygen available to your organs and tissues. Fatigue and sleepiness set in rapidly, leaving you more vulnerable to the 2 pm post-lunch crash that many of us experience.

You cannot cure this crash with caffeine – the only long-term, effective solution is to drink hydrating fluids throughout the day.

2. Lack Of Exercise

A workout will surely leave you feeling even more tired, right? Wrong! As counterintuitive as it may sound, physical activities have an energizing effect. Moving your body releases endorphins, increases your heart rate, and boosts your concentration.

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Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise every day. It’s easiest if you can make this part of our everyday routine, either as soon as you wake up or right after work.

3. A Poor Diet

The food you eat has a direct impact on sleep quality and the amount of rest you get every night. For maximum energy, stick to protein, slow-release carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of healthy (unsaturated) fats. The majority of your food should be plant-based, high in fiber, and low in sugar. These choices will prevent blood sugar fluctuations, which can leave you feeling exhausted.

An easy way to make sure you stick to a good diet is through meal preparation. It’s easy to just get take-out when you’re tired after work, but if you have a meal ready for you in the fridge, you’ll be less tempted by pizza or cheese.

Find out more about healthy meal prep here: 10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily

4. Skipping Breakfast

Physician Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan advises that eating breakfast is key to maintaining a good level of energy throughout the day. When you eat breakfast, you are sending calming signals to the areas of the brain responsible for avoiding danger, along with those that instruct the body to conserve as much energy as possible.

Ingesting food signals to your brain that there is enough food available to ensure our survival. This encourages it to stay relaxed, which in turn, promotes restful sleep.

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Some great ideas for a healthy, filling, and make-ahead breakfasts include overnight oats, smoothies, and freezer-friendly breakfast burritos.

Or if meal-prepping isn’t your think, stock up on easy but healthy breakfast foods like multigrain cereal, yogurt, and fruit: 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

5. Poor Quality Of Sleep

We all know that it’s important to wind down a couple of hours before bed. But did you know that it’s what you do throughout the day that promotes good-quality sleep? It’s not just about the number of hours you sleep, but how restful and deep that sleep is.

TO feel rested, try to regulate your everyday routine to make your sleep deeper and better. Get up at a regular time in the morning to ensure that you get regular sunlight.

Eat nutritious foods in moderate amounts, and make sure you stay hydrated. Go to bed at the same time. And before bedtime, avoid screens that can give off harmful blue light and also keep you stimulated when you need to prepare for a restful night.

Read more about how to develop a routine that will get you better sleep: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning

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6. Sleep Apnea (A Person’s Airways Get Blocked off While They Are Asleep)

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where a person’s airways get blocked off while they are asleep, causing their oxygen levels to drop while they are asleep. This often causes people to stop breathing at night and then to jerk themselves awake (this can happen over 30 times an hour).

Because of this, people with sleep apnea can feel short of breath and have low energy levels. Mouthpieces and other devices to aid in breathing as well as the use of a special breathing machine to keep oxygen levels in a safe zone.

If you feel tired all the time and think you might have sleep apnea, consulting with a doctor is important. Do a sleep study, as this can often reveal if there is an underlying problem causing your tiredness — and once a diagnosis is made, treatment to help you get your energy back begins.

7. Depression

Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States (and in many other countries of the world as well). It is marked by persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness but has physical symptoms, too. Apart from fatigue, people may also experience changes in sleeping and eating habits and difficulty concentrating.

Treatment can often center on anti-depressants, counselling and lifestyle changes like stress management to help manage this condition. You can take a look at these 15 Ways To Overcome Depression And Sadness.

Many people also benefit from activities like yoga and meditation, which help regulate both the body and mind.

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8. Hypothyroidism

If a person has hypothyroidism, their thyroid gland does not produce adequate levels of these important hormones— and the result can be a persistent and unrelenting fatigue, even if someone is getting enough sleep. Other common symptoms of this disorder include mood swings, weight gain and feeling cold all the time.

Fortunately, simple blood work can reveal if there is a problem and it can be treated with artificial thyroid hormone pills like Synthroid. Check here for signs of having a thyroid problem. If you suspect that you might have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor.

9. Anemia

People with anemia are not able to make enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the their bodies. This is often due to a lack of nutrients like iron or B-12 and can be caused by problems such as heavy periods, bleeding in the digestive tract or pregnancy (due to the increased demands of the growing baby).

However, in most cases, this can be resolved with treatments like changes in diet, iron supplements or B-12 shots.

While here are some drinks you can try to relieve symptoms of Anemia, it’s best to do a blood test and consult your doctor in case of any hidden medical conditions.

10. Cancer

While you shouldn’t be freaking out about cancer just because you are tired, it is a fact that fatigue is one of the symptoms of cancer. Other common symptoms can include unexplained weight loss and the presence of palpable lumps or growths. This disease is marked by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells that can do damage to surround tissues and possibly spread to other parts of the body.

Diagnosis is usually by biopsy and treatment often focusses on radiation, chemotherapy or surgery— and generally when a diagnosis is made early, the outcomes for the patient are better.

Featured photo credit: Lily Banse via unsplash.com

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