Thursday, February 18, 2010

Daily Skin Care: 5 minutes lasts a lifetime!

As I mentioned before, yet another one of the reasons I love my mom is because of the discipline she gave my sister and I to take care of our skin. Even better, she's always been very adamant that we use high quality and natural products, which is especially important given the amount of 'stuff' they now put in personal care products (here's a pretty straightforward guide for what to avoid written up by the Organic Consumers Association and the Green Patriot Working Group).

Having struggled with acne during my teenage years, I've been amazed by what a vegan and especially a raw diet has done to clear up any remnants of damage. However, putting body lotion on every day for as long I can remember has kept the rest of my skin silky soft for years (and I really believe in doing this because my mom's skin looks about 20 years younger than anyone else's her age)! My skin is one thing I feel like I can have bragging rights about (it's good to acknowledge your strengths sometimes!), especially given that random people who have just met me or hugged me have spontaneously told me "wow! you're skin it's so soft!" upon doing so. It is kind of weird, but it's a compliment like any other!

For some reasons, ever since going raw, I've become even more conscious about what I do with and for my skin. So if you want tips, here's a rough breakdown of what I do:

Daily: I try to be pretty religious about my cleanser-toner-moisturizer routine every morning and just soap and moisturizer before I go to bed. Every 3-4 days, I also use a gentle scrub/exfoliater. For all of those steps, I used Pangea Organic products (the line designed for my skin type). They often have really good deals online! Obviously my routine changes based on the time of the month/how my skin is feeling. For example, if it's feeling too dry, I'll skip the exfoliation for that day. Also, I was told to use a different moisturizer during the day (something more toning or with SPF) and something more gentle, relaxing, or healing at night (I use Jurilique's calendula cream). You only ever need a pearl sized amount of these products for them to work their little miracles.

For the rest of me, I put lotion on after my shower and before going to bed. For that, I use Alba Botanica's cocoa butter body lotion (it smells like you're wearing cookies!). And shea butter or a thicker cream if I have drier spots (like your feet or elbows in the winter).

Bi-Weekly: I've recently been putting our giant aloe vera plant to use by taking off one stem a week and cutting it up into pieces and using its gel as a replacement for my moisturizer before going to bed. In just a week, I already noticed positive changes to my skin. As a test, and because I have some stretch marks from weight-loss, I've also been putting aloe vera on them to see if it helps!

I've also begun dry brushing twice a week (which you can get instructions for here). It has a whole bunch of internal and external benefits. It's a mini-detox that energizes and cleanses your lymph nodes and your organs, serves as gentle exfoliation, helps with circulation and to deal with old scars/stretch-marks/cellulite, and can even help with digestion and your immune system!

Weekly: Yet another Pangea product, and this one is really the one that made me go WOW the first time I used it. It's their Japanese Matcha Tea with Acai & Goji Berry Mask. You can actually physically see the difference in your skin quality before and after you use it. And it's fun to put it on and look like a green monster!

Whenever I can (but with a 3 minimum months apart): A facial at an all-natural (or optimally organic!) spa (usually courtesy of my wonderful parents). I'm lucky enough to live near a Natural Body Spa, so that's where I can go. I love that their products are so natural I can eat them (they use Jurilique products from Australia, and I often do lick bits of their pineapple facial mask that touches my lips when I'm there)!

And the obvious: Drink lots of water and try to eat as much raw food as possible! I drink more than 3L of water a day so I don't even count anymore, but that too has made a notable difference on my skin quality. Try to incorporate fruits and veggies into your diet as much as possible, they contain tons of water and are extra good for you for reasons I don't think I have to get into!

Something new: I've decided to give MSM powder (methyl sulfonyl methane) a shot, despite my huge reluctance towards taking supplements. I'm still trying to get rid of old and minor acne scarring which it supposedly helps with. MSM is a compound found naturally in most foods but in such small amounts that eating foods would not give you 'enough' of it. It's also good for your joints, your hair and has been vetted by a bunch of raw foodists including Loving Raw's Philip McCluskey, The Fitnessista's Gina (and look at how radiant she looks!), Natalia Rose and more. We'll see how that works! If it's good for my skin, why not try it!

So that's my skin regime, while that looks like a lot of work, it doesn't really take more than 5-10 minutes day so don't get discouraged. Tthe results last a lifetime!

Workout of the Day
20 minutes stair climber mix of sprints and interval training
1 minute plank
5 minute stretch

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