How much water does your skin need?

originalHydrate, hydrate, hydrate. This fad-ish conversation of drinking more water has really got us thinking. Being properly hydrated helps our joints and helps our digestion but no where in this recent dialog am I hearing about how much we need for our skin.

“Back in the day” diet counselors and skin clinicians said to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. That 64 ounces felt like swimming in a 100 lb. woman but to a highly active 180 lb. man it bordered on dehydration. Most modern health advocates give us the formula of dividing your body weight in half and drinking that number of ounces. But where the skin is concerned there is more to consider.

Given that our bodies are 75% water it does make sense that we need to constantly replenish it to keep it going. Our skin specifically needs water to remain plump but interestingly only around 15% of what goes in our mouth ever makes it to the surface. This lack is compounded by the fact that as we age some of the bio-chemical components within the cells that are responsible for holding water in place diminish and our natural skin oils that form an evaporation protection barrier lessens.

Only 15% of the water we drink ever makes it to the surface of the skin.

This means that perhaps we need more water and definitely need to prevent dehydration. Once a cell flattens from lack of water it is very difficult to plump it back up and prolonged dehydration crystallizes some of those bio-chemicals leaving shards that can cut and damage cells. Damaged cells = wrinkles.

So how much is enough? That modern formula is seems to be pretty perfect but consider that if we are consuming dehydrating liquids or are exposed to wind & sun, or heat our homes with wood and forced air, or are perspiring daily with exercise, or flying on airplanes, we need even more. You know what they say; if you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. And if your skin looks crepey like a desert floor then you are way, way past dehydration.

To keep your skin plump, in addition to the water consumption formula above, here are some replenishment calculations to help you understand your skin’s need for water:

  • Coffee, black or green tea, caffeinated sodas, alcohol.  These are all diuretics which means they cause the body to expel as much water as they put in.  For each ounce consumed replace with an equal amount of water.
  • Laxatives, magnesium.  These draw the water from the central parts of the body to the bowels and in the process dehydrating the outermost part of the body.  Drink several glasses of water for each one taken.
  • Hormonal therapies.  These block hormones that regulate the production of skin oil so skin dehydrates very quickly.  Drink as much extra as you can with water beverages that increase your electrolytes for better maintenance.
  • Flying on airplanes.  The air in the cabin is de-humidified to lighten the load of the plane so bodies dehydrate quickly.  For every hour on the plane drink 8 oz. of water.  Additionally misting the skin with water hourly is helpful.  My Rehance Mist is excellent for this.  NOTE: Most air sickness is due to dehydration.
  • Perspiration.  If you perspire a lot, many health advocates are recommending consuming up to a gallon of water.  I calculate that for every hour of perspiration I need an addition 16 oz. of water.
  • Exposure to the outdoor elements or over-heated homes.  Wind and sun dehydrate the surface of the skin as does air-blown heat in our homes.

THIS IS KEY: to help your skin maintain the water you give it, consider how the skin itself is designed to do so.  Sodiums and sugars within the cells are responsible for holding water in place and sebum produced in the oil glands released to the surface of the skin helps the bio-components themselves from drying out.  As I mentioned previously, as we age all of these become diminished thus the need to help our skin.  Moisturizing your body daily before the skin dries out is important.

  • Look for body and face moisturizers that contain water retaining ingredients like sodium PCA and sodium hyaluronate, beta-glucan and beta-fructan or polysaccharides.
  • Look for moisturizers that contain sebum-like oil such as squalane and oils that have nutritional omega-3  fatty acids like almond and olive and oils that help seal/sooth the skin like shea or sesame.

This is how I formulated my body lotion.

NOTE: a properly hydrated body should produce 6 to 8 cups of clear to slightly yellow urine per day.  If your urine is very yellow you are dehydrated.

At-home facials for winter dry skin

tigycevkxcfkv8mdpnr3hmujFor those of us who live in cold winter climates, the life gets nearly sucked out of our skin on a daily basis. Below freezing temps & wind coupled with over-heated homes & offices halt the production of our naturally protective sebum [skin oil] and evaporates the water from our bodies. The result is skin that looks like the Bonneville Salt Flats, is irritable and prone to red rashes.

Simple measures at home, though, can erase this effect.  Keeping a good moisturizer on morning and night help maintain the skin but once it has lost it’s natural protective barrier then it needs treatment.  There is a mistake made by scrubbing away the visible dead skin cells; this only irritates the skin further.  The reintroduction of water to the surface cells then sealed in with sebum-like oil is what is needed.  The dry, dead skin cells will naturally release once the foundation of the skin is conditioned.

Following are a few facials that you can give yourself at home using my therapeutic products but you can also use substitutions if you are not able to acquire them from me.

DSC04882Quick Fix Shower Steam

  1. Apply a thick layer of Emolulite Cleanser to the face & neck while showering.  The glycerine in it absorbs the water from the air to plump the skin, the squalene oil in it clings to water too & conditions the skin naturally [because our skin’s own sebum contains squalene] and the blackberry seed oil feeds the skin with antioxidant protection.
  2. Remove cleanser with a warm wet washcloth.  Skin will feel soothed and plumped!  Apply moisturizer of choice.
  3. Substitutions: a mixture of honey and oil (be careful of thick, fatted oils that will clog the skin causing breakouts).  This will produce a similar effect yet not as pleasing nor as scientifically beneficial.

Relaxation Tub Facial

  1. Draw a bath for yourself, step in and, if possible, pull the curtain or close the door around you to allow steam to build up in the air.
  2. Wash face/neck with Purify Frothing Cleanser.
  3. Apply a medium-thick layer of Pumpkin Creme Masque.  Leave in place as your skin can tolerate, up to 8 minutes.  This will gently remove dead skin cells and stimulate blood flow to encourage healthy skin renewal while keeping the skin moist.  Remove product with a wash cloth and set aside.  Splash face with tub water to remove entirely.
  4. Apply a medium-thin layer of Lemon Honey Butter masque.  Leave in place for up to 15 minutes then splash off.  Towel dry face/neck when leaving tub.  Skin will be incredibly full and moist and rosy!  Apply moisturizer of choice.
  5. Substitutions: On clean skin apply a mixture of honey and oil (be careful of thick, fatted oils that will clog the skin causing breakouts) then remove by scrubbing a bit with a warm wet washcloth. This will produce a similar effect yet not as pleasing nor as scientifically beneficial.

Walk-around in-a-hurry facial

maple masque dual image

  1. On clean skin apply a medium-thick layer of Maple Jolt Masque.   Leave in place for up to 15 minutes.  This masque is great used in the tub or shower but when in a hurry it is enhanced by body movement and even exercise! Benefits include stimulating blood flow to detox skin & encourage new cell growth and increase hydration in skin.
  2. Splash off with warm water and immediately, while skin is still slightly damp, apply 2 pumps of Glow and 5 drops of Top Dressing Oil.  Once dry apply moisturizer over this as needed.  Skin will be glowing and plumped.  Any redness will dissipate within one hour.

Of course nothing can quite give you the benefits of a professional facial.  Please contact me if you need help understanding your skin and its needs.

Jane

TRUE aromatherapies for the season

DSC04127It’s a festive time of year full of sights, sounds and smells that, at their best, trigger memories of good cheer.  But did you know that synthetic scents can actually trigger ill feelings and fatigue then create depression?

Our olfactory system of nose, sinus and throat is part of how our body monitors wellness.  Artificial scents that are not compatible with our body’s chemistry will trigger our histamine responses in an effort to keep that fragrance from penetrating our entire system.  Too much histamine in the body contributes to “the blues”; in fact early anti-psychotic medicines were actually strong anti-histamines.

So during this season when we are already stressed and perhaps eating too many foods that in themselves trigger histamines [wheat, sugar, alcohol…] why not embrace true aromatherapies for the home and for personal care.  Read more about aromatherapy here…

Here are some of the healthy seasonal Festives that I make with true, non-artificial aromatherapy, now in the studio available for shipping and in the Canterbury Barn Store.

Sensible Room Scents sprays in a holiday fragrance.  True essential oils of cold pressed orange peel, bay laurel and balsam fir.  2oz.   $15.00IMG_2693

Natural lip care.  Coconut Maple exfoliating lip paste.  Rub on dry flaky lips to remove dead skin cells and to condition lips.  Coconut oil, maple sugar, beeswax.  Orange Pumpkin penetrating lip balm.  Made to soak in, heal and protect while not leave waxy residue for true lip conditioning.  Shea butter, vitamin E, pumpkin seed oil, kukui nut oil, sweet almond oil, vegetable oil with soothing orange peel wax.   $10.00 eachIMG_2616

Order by contacting me directly…603-491-7305  jbalshaw@comcast.net

Masques; the at-home summer facial

at home facialThere is nothing like a facial in my hands – so you tell me – but in the absence of my curative expertise you can refresh your skin at home by giving yourself facial. Beyond simple cleaning and moisturizing, applied facial masques can add additional benefits into your home skincare routine.

Masque benefits fall into two categories; “add in” and “take away”. Add-in masques contain specific skin nutrients and hydrate tissue to boost and enhance the skin’s functions. Take-away masques are designed to remove or pull out cellular waste to detoxify and smooth the skin. In my Euchlora skincare line the Lemon Honey Butter and the Maple Jolt are both add-in masques. The Terraflora Masque and the Pumpkin Enzyme Masque are both “take away” masques.

In the summer when our skin out-puts so much oil and perspiration flushes toxins to the surface of the skin, a take-away masque is of great benefit. Euchlora’s Terraflora smoothing and detoxifying Masque absorbs all the summer debris, soothes over-heated or broken out skin and kills bad bacteria that may form during the hot months. [this is the go-to masque for acne!] Following this with proper moisturizing leaves the skin gorgeously smooth and radiant.

Here is a facial you can give yourself at home that incorporates all the steps that happen in my professional facials*:

  1. Cleanse the skin with your creamy cleanser of choice to remove make-up (MeadowMilk or Emolulite). Follow with a foaming cleanser for deep cleansing (Purify Frothing or Bio-tanical).
  2. Apply a medium thick layer of Terraflora Masque avoiding the eye area and let it dry. Once dry splash it off with tepid or cool water.
  3. On your damp face apply a thin layer of Lemon Honey Butter with vitamin C to moisturize and strengthen sun-exposed skin. Leave in place for 5 to 10 minutes. Splash off with warm water. Towel dry skin.
  4. Spritz face with Rehance mist.
  5. Apply one pumps worth of Glow (or GlowCustard for very dry skins) and roll on EyesTea around eyes.
  6. Finish with a layer of SummerSilk chemical-free sunblock.

*NOTE: although at home facials incorporate similar steps that a professional facial does, my professional facials utilize much more active products that require skill and special licensing. As such, they will create more change in the skin.  At home facials help maintain the skin and enhance what professional work does.

Need a facial or some consultation?  Click here..

Product knowledge; NEW CrowdControl 10+ Complete

DSC06451CrowdControl 10+ complete Concentrate is a non-irritating thin serum that smooths onto the skin penetrating the skin follicles to break-down hyper-trophic skin-cells & black-head build up, kill acne bacteria and halt the manufacture of stress hormones that stimulate cysts.  A dry gel finish of active ingredients protects the skin to reduce inflammation & redness, heal damaged tissue and prevent hyper-pigmentation scarring.  An all-in-one product, this is a synergistic blend that balances and heals the acne & keratosis prone skin over time in a holistic manner* eliminating the need for harsh peeling products.

In a base of water, vegetable glycerin and grain alcohol, salicylic, glycolic, lactic, tartaric and citric acids are dissolved.  These extracts derived from fruit and herbs work to break down keratin, the protein of skin cells, to allow the build up of skin cells to slough off the surface of skin and from within follicles to clear clogs and prevent them from occurring again.  In addition, these acids in the grain alcohol are naturally anti-bacterial so help keep pimples at bay.

Essential oil of Helichrysum in included in the blend.  This precious extract from the African and Australian plants aids in preventing and healing bruising in addition to being naturally anti-bacterial.  Essential oil of french lavender is also added well-known to stimulate the healing process.  Applying unadulterated pure lavender essential oil directly to burns, for example, takes away all the sting and redness so thusly aids injured acneic tissue to be soothed and regenerate.  Lavender is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral.

The sophisticated peptide Argireline (Acetyl hexapeptide-3), normally used as an anti-wrinkle ingredient, is included in Crowd Control because of its ability to inhibit the release of adrenalin and noradrenaline in the neuronal skin cells. One of the triggers for closed comedone cystic acne is the over-flooding of these hormones associated with stress; eliminate the adrenalin and the swelling/infection cycle is stopped.

Niacinamide, Vitamin B-3, is included to provide it’s well documented ability to lighten scarred tissue and to provide and anti-inflammatory effect which reduces redness.  The sophisticated ingredient Alpha Arbutin (4-Hydroxyphenyl-α-D-glucopyranoside) is also included to reduce inflammation and to suppress the over activity of melanin formation which results in hyper-pigmentation scarring.

* Holistic methods work with the natural body functions, retraining them to function normally when they are disfunctioning and strengthening them to do what they do normally allowing the body to heal itself.

Why custom skincare products for summer?…

custom blending JPEG…because in the heat your skin needs less weight on it and customizing allows combining several benefits into one product.  Similar to BB or CC cremes but with more thoughtful science behind it, I can blend you a skincare treatment solution to improve your skin during the heat of summer when you don’t want to wear a lot.   Many people do not realize I offer this service…so I am telling now.

Valerie in California has me tint her Tranquility Lotion for sheer moisturizing, sunblocking color.

Denise and Pam in New Hampshire have a lighter summer-version of the custom-blended aromatherapy body lotion I make for them.

Donna in New Hampshire has me add a slurry of chemical-free oxide-sunblock into her Fruit Cocktail skin renewal lotion for daily SPF.

Lori in California has me blend her a rosy blushing face powder for evening out skin tones, lifting her color and providing SPF protection.

I have blended my own mineral face powder to look “moist” on 60+ skin when I really need to feel dry in the humidity.  The powder absorbs my perspiration and provides me with SPF 30 for my walks to and from work. [older skin should look moist to be most youthful]

Linda of New Hampshire has me create lipstick-like, tinted, total-SPF sticks to match her skin color and cover over some hyper-pigmentation spots she is bleaching away.

Think about if I can blend something special just for you.  Contact me for a custom blending appointment.  603-491-7305   jbalshaw@comcast.net

Freeze it first and other fickle-weather skincare tips

HD Ice roller home frontIf the weather here at my New England studio were in a race, it would win.  35° to 93° all within a couple of days wins notice but is tough on the skin and can ruin your product! Here are a few tricks to preserve your skin and the product you use on it during the temperature shifts of spring.

  1. Freeze your cosmetic pencils before sharpening. The warm temperature in your bathroom during a heat wave + warm humidity from showers will melt them slightly; they glide on easier but will be mushy in the sharpener. Freezing first assures a sharp point.
  2. Stabilize the temperature of your skincare product during weather swings. I suggest keeping them in a dark cabinet away from direct sunlight. The heating and cooling can destroy some of the active ingredients, can cause natural/organic oils to go rancid and can make the product separate into an unusable mess. Refrigerate any products you are not using until you do so.
  3. Never store cosmetics or skincare in a car for the above reasons.
  4. Ice your face if you over heat. Sudden heat swings can trigger rosacea. I wasn’t troubled by Rosacea until I moved to New England; working in the garden on those hot humid days makes my face bright red that in turn stimulates the formation of those tell-tale pustules. Applying cold compresses immediately can cause the vessel distention and pustules to retreat avoiding a full break-out.  The above Ice Roller is a wonderful warm weather aid sold in my studio….freeze the detachable roller and click into the holder when ready to use.
  5. Change your skincare products according to the heat and humidity of any given day. Avoid moist or sticky products that can trap heat on the skin on those hot humid days triggering the symptoms listed above.  Conversely, load up on those sticky products when the cool wind is blowing so your skin does not dehydrate and get flaky.

Need help choosing product that is right for your skin?  Come in to see me…

Jane Balshaw 603-491-7305   jbalshaw@comcast.net