Home remedies for stressed out Holiday skin

Holiday-shopping-1Holiday-ShoppingIs your fa, la, la, la, la dragging? Are you relying on all those holiday cookies and jolts of caffeine to keep you going, topped off with celebratory alcoholic beverages?  Most of us have way tooooooo much to do this season and right about now—in this most rushed week of the year—our skin starts revolting.

All those “cures” for exhaustion and stress actually create more stress on the body & skin by triggering the immune system.  Adrenaline is released into the skin causing hormonal cysts and the body redirects water & minerals from the surface of the skin to the inside offering more protection for its core inner organs leaving the surface of the skin depleted.  The effect creates the appearance of lack-lustre, blotchy and dry skin that is  itchy and prone to those big, red cyst-type break-outs that never seem to come to a head.

AT HOME QUICK FIXES:

  1. Avoid soapy cleansers; instead remove make-up with oils like sweet almond or argan or rosehip by massaging in and removing with a warm, wet washcloth.  Better yet, use Euchlora Emolulite Cleanser with added benefits.  The oil conditions the skin so it can withstand the stress.
  2. Take a steamy shower or bath with pure lavender essential oil to decompress your stressy spirits and to provide an anti-inflamatory, anti-septic measure for your skin.
  3. Use clay masques to detoxify the skin.  Euchlora’s Terraflora Masque is really spectacular.
  4. Apply cold wet water compresses to the skin to drench it and calm it.  Again add a couple drops of pure lavender essential oil to the water.  Or let me blend something beautiful just for your individual countenance.
  5. Drench those break-out bumps with anti-histamine eye drops.  It will reduce the swelling and in many cases make it disappear.
  6. Moisturize morning and night to keep the skin strengthened.

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES:

  1. Drink LOTS of water to flush the stress hormones from the body and help replenish water loss in the skin.  I know, I know, I know….
  2. I love the little tablets called Calms Forte available at Health Food Stores and some grocery stores in that section.  They calm the nervous system which in turn curbs the release of the hormones that deplete the skin and the body.
  3. Take something off your list so that your nervous system can relax a little.

BE HAPPY, BE WELL…I am thinking about you and your skin!  Jane

The Art of the Bath

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Oozing into warmth, the quiver of contrast giving way to the rush of blissful release…ahhhh, the comfort of The Bath!  But more times than not when I am invited in to see someone’s newly remodeled bathroom, there sits center stage – framed in artisan tile work, punctuated with gleaming metal apparatus, flanked by artwork –  a gorgeous bath tub that the owner admits to having never used!  And through my own gifting of bath salts that sat unwrapped, I have come to realize that many people do not understand the benefits of The Bath.

My sister and I in our youth playing in the bath.

My sister and I in our youth playing in the bath.

Unlike the shower, the artful bath is not specifically about efficient cleaning; any kid will tell you that!  The bath soak is about renewing ones whole self, through detoxification, by limbering up arthritic joints or aching muscles, clearing sinuses, calming the mind and conditioning the skin.  Ten minutes in the tub can have the same effect as two Tylenol & a massage or an hour-long therapy session!  My daily ritual of a bath soak keeps my troublesome joints pain-free, warms me up to last all day long, keeps my sensitive body-skin free of rashes and helps keep my overly active mind peaceful.

DSC04155DSC04157I take a bath each morning to separate my very early morning ritual of reading, research and writing from my active work day.  That 10 minutes sets the mood of calm and balance for my day and is a treat that I look forward to; a reward, if you will, for the mind exercises.  For someone else it could be the reward for body exercises; that long run or time at the gym.  In the winter I will also take a bath at the end of the day using the warmth and the aromatherapy to induce a deep sleep.  The bath provides that mysterious “margin” in the day that helps us separate duty from the living life fully, that helps us release the compulsive to-do lists and helps percolate thoughts of creativity (I design some of my best stuff while in the tub).

aromatherapy2Any bath tub will do even if it is not luxurious but you want to make sure you can get your shoulders down in it.  Using blow-up vinyl bath pillows can help adjust your neck in a tub that is too straight in the back and in most tubs you should use a suction-cup plastic water-escape cover for the upper drain to allow the tub to fill up deeply (both available at any bed and bath store). I take a bath when I travel and have used some of the most pitiful tubs by rolling up extra towels under my neck and draping wash cloths over the escape drain.

The first step to taking a bath is to allow time for it.  Just like flossing your teeth or scheduling a hair cut, you need to put time aside for your whole body health.

How to take a bath:

  1. Start the water running at your desired temperature.   “Warm” is best.  Too hot will dissolve away too many of your skin’s natural protective oils and too cold will defeat the therapeutic purpose of the bath.
  2. Add salts: Under the running water add in any powders or salts.
  3. Add essential oils: Close the bath room door to trap in the heat/steam and the healthful positive ions produced by running water, and just before the tub is full, add in any aromatherapy plant essential “oils” under the running water.  The fragrance from these oils will release into the room providing a pleasurable and therapeutic fragrance to enhance your bath.  The oils in the water will also treat the skin and penetrate into your body for a therapeutic effect.
  4. Add bubbles: If you desire cleansing bubbles then add several pumps of a foaming wash that does NOT contain any sulfates, dyes or artificial fragrance all of which are bad for the skin and delicate body areas.  Dispense directly under the running water for the best effect.  Euchlora’s Purify Frothing Cleanser is perfect for this.
  5. Turn off water and swirl the tub around with a foot or hand to make sure all “oils” are dispersed.  Climb in and relax.  Wash where you need to but also catch up on your magazine reading, drink water, sip a cup of tea or simply just ponder.
  6. Get out and towel off briskly to remove dead skin cells and salt.  While still semi-damp apply a body lotion suited for your skin type avoiding artificial fragrance and dyes which are not good for the skin.  Euchlora’s customized Hand and Body Lotion is perfect.  Drink a glass of water to rehydrated after especially if you have detoxed.

RECIPES FOR THE PERFECT BATH:

The De-Stress bath:  Add 1/2 to 2 cups* cup epsom salt and 1 to 2 ml* of the following essential oil blend; a combination of grapefruit, geranium, a dab of clary sage or vetivert.

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Grey epsom salt

The science: When you have been under a lot of stress your body produces free radical positive ions. The neutral ionic charge of the salt will help neutralize some of the stress ions and the high content of magnesium in epsom helps sooth muscle tension.  The oils react with the nervous system to calm it and induce euphoria.

The Detoxify bath:  Add 1/4 to 1 cup baking soda plus 1/4 to 1 cup* mineral laden salts such as Himilayan Pink Salt or Dead Sea Salt and 1 to 2 ml* of the following essential oil blend; a combination of juniper, lemon, sage, rosemary, pine or fir.

The science:  When you have over indulged in celebratory foods and beverages (sugars), the body becomes more acidic.  The higher pH of the baking soda helps to counter balance this while the extra salt content in the water draws the impurities out of your body through osmosis.  The oils work with the lymphatic system to draw toxins and kill bacteria in the body through their natural phenols.

Purply blue dead sea salts

Purply-blue dead sea salts

The Soothing bath: Add 1/4 to 1 cup* mineral laden salts such as Himilayan Pink Salt or Dead Sea Salt plus 1/2 to 1 cup* dried milk or dried yogurt solids and 1 to 2 ml* of the following essential oil blend; a combination of chamomile, neroli, petigrain, orange, lavender.

The science: The high mineral content on these kinds of salts treat skin irritations and the lactic acid in the dairy softens tissue.  Additionally, the probiotics in yogurt help balance the bacteria in the skin helping to treat fungal or yeast irritations.  Salt helps to tighten the skin as well.  The oils calm redness in the skin and react with the immune system to halt reactions.

Peachy pink himalayan salt

Peachy-pink himalayan salt

Next time you are in, let me gift you with a pre-blended yogurt bath-salt powder that I keep in stock during the winter months or let me create a blend of essential oils specifically for your skin type.   603-491-7305  jbalshaw@comcast.netbath-feet_2206587b

SOURCES:  Specialty salts can be purchased through The Salt Cellar in Portsmouth, NH or Portland, ME and some can be obtained through natural foods stores or on-line.

*Tub sizes vary and therefore so do the amount of additives.  Use the lesser amount listed for standard sized tubs up to the larger amounts for full sized jet tubs.

Spring Detox for the Skin

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While the calendar says spring is almost here, we are still under a bit of snow here in the Northeast.  Nature has its own calendar ways, dumping snow & rain when it feels the need to eliminate, raising and lowering temperatures on a whim and tricking our senses into thinking we are all together in a different time and place.   It’s these sensory changes that regulate our skin.

Our bodies are a mirror of the world around us, with our internal waters ebbing and flowing in sync with the tides of the ocean, expanding and contracting with temperature, and our skin measures it all.  Loaded with sensory nerves like a mass of diodes, our skin registers and displays the information from our external environment (think windburn or suntan) but it also measures the information from our internal environment as well; what goes into our bodies and what our body manufactures itself.

“You are what you eat” is an old adage that would be more aptly stated as, “What you eat creates what you are” because food as fuel only stimulates the functions of our body to do what it should do, to release hormones that guide it.  In fact less than 20% of what we eat ever makes it outward to the skin but the hormones that food stimulate always make it there.  Chocolate does not cause acne (like the old school dermatologists used to claim) but the overindulgence of any stimulant will spike the adrenaline hormone which in turn can cause acne.

After a winter of cold temperatures our body has stored up composites of our food including all those not-so-good concentrates like chemical additives that mimic misdirected hormones.  This storage of toxic waste in the body can contribute to toxic inter-cellular waste in the skin as well, triggering malformation of the cells which in turn creates early aging and breakouts.  So with spring and the warmer weather nearly here, it is time to think about deep cleansing and detoxifying the whole body to improve your skin.

The old-ways wisdom of “taking a tonic” in the spring was in fact true.  Drinking “juiced” blends of spring greens is detoxifying because nature knows to pack itself full of what we need this time of year.  Getting a lymphatic drainage or aromatherapy massage as well as chiropractic adjustments will aid the body in releasing waste.  And also getting a detoxifying facial will have amazing results; all of these practices working hand in hand are ‘tonics” for your skin.

My daughter Whitney Bakaleinikoff is a certified Holistic Diet Counselor and she offers this detoxing juice blend recipe for us all this year.  Yum!

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Blend the following ingredients in a high-powered blender until you have a bright green sweet, zingy shake.

  • a handful of organic spinach
  • 1/2 peeled Meyer lemon, plus a bit of zest
  • 1/4 c. fresh pineapple
  • 1/4 c. pineapple juice or orange juice
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2″ fresh peeled ginger
  • sprinkle of cayenne
  • a small handful of chia or flax seeds
  • fresh water to cover the ingredients

These ingredients are rich in antioxidants, enzymes and essential fatty acids to reduce inflammation, enhance cellular respiration and aid in overall body detoxification. Great for spring allergies, sluggish digestion, joint/muscle pain and inflammation, immunity and overall increased vitality.