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Beauty Rx: Meditation for healthy skin?

Lately I’ve been thinking about trying meditation.

It’s been on my radar for a while, but honestly, I have a hard enough time calming my mind to focus on my yoga practice—I can’t imagine being able to truly meditate. That’s one reason I choose to practice vinyasa flow in a heated room: it’s so challenging that I’m forced to focus; I can’t think about anything else. When I do more gentle yoga, I inevitably find myself composing to-do lists in my head while I’m on the mat. Not a recipe for a happy yoga practice.

But the Lululemon blog has recently shared a few guided meditations from Baron Baptiste, and the latest one, for email overload, really got my attention. (Did you know there’s a term for that holding-your-breath-while-opening-an-email phenomenon? It’s called email apnea.)

There are several potential health (and beauty!) benefits of meditation*:

  • stress and anxiety reduction
  • increased energy
  • improved memory
  • increased happiness levels
  • slowed aging
  • healthier, clearer skin

That last beauty benefit has me convinced; I’m going to try this meditation thing. I’ll let you know how it goes, but in the meantime, I need your advice! Do you meditate? What tips or techniques do you have to share? If you do…have you noticed any changes in your skin? —Aleigh

(Image via Loving Earth

*Statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness, disease, or condition.

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Reader Question: Battling Hormonal Acne

I’ve said it before, and it’s still true: I can’t resist a plea for help. Which is why, when Amanda emailed me asking for tips and relief from her hormonal acne, I was spurred into action! Here’s what she said:

The past year and a half my face has gone from one to two pimples on any given day to a full blown acne attack. When I was in high school it was mainly forehead and the occasional chin pimple but nothing crazy. I am now 22 years old and have the worst acne on my cheeks and jaw line (20 plus everyday) plus, the occasional forged pimples popping up weekly and very congested/dull looking skin everywhere (small bumps the color of my skin on pretty much my whole face). My face is combination/dry and I even have crows feet and forehead wrinkles already!

Man, can I sympathize. I’m also an unfortunate victim of hormonal acne, but after lots of research and lots of trial and error, I’ve discovered a few techniques that I think might help.* Since Amanda’s skin is combination/dry and mine is combination/oily, I’ve been both researching and considering my own tactics to come up with some things she might try—but I think these are techniques that can work on just about any type of skin that’s battling a hormonal acne invasion. Here goes, Amanda! I hope you’ll let me know how they work for you.

Don’t over-exfoliate. A little exfoliation is fine, but a lot is not better. Limit (gentle) exfoliation to once or twice a week—hard scrubbing and exfoliating too frequently can exacerbate the problem instead of offering relief.

Avoid dairy as much as possible. Amanda did mention that she eats dairy products about three times a week, and unfortunately, there are plenty of studies that prove a direct link between milk and acne. Milk can be loaded with hormones (both naturally-occurring and added), which can stimulate your skin’s sebum production, which can produce acne. With you have the right hormonal balance and if your skin is acting up, try removing dairy from your diet and use supplements for a week or two and see if you notice a change. If so, add it back in slowly, or try to avoid it entirely.

Moisturize with facial oils. Amanda mentioned that her skin tends to be dry—sometimes overly dry skin can stimulate acne, just as oily skin can. (The idea is to find a balance between the two!) I really like facial oils. Here’s what I would try if I were Amanda: tea tree oil applied directly to the acne-prone areas (it has antibacterial qualities), and then a gentle, skin-calming oil (grapeseed oil, tamanu oil, and evening primrose oil are all great options) all over. Two I like: balancing facial serum from Co-Op 108 and Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil.

Supplement. I have noticed a difference in my hormonal acne (along with a few other benefits) since I started taking my Nordic Naturals Omega Woman supplement. It’s an Omega-3 supplement that contains fish oil and evening primrose oil, plus hormone-balancing ingredients.

Avoid caffeine. Here’s the thing: I love coffee. I try not to drink too much of it, but man, do I love it. I’m pretty good with all of the other recommendations I’ve made here, but this is one I really have a hard time with. The good news? There’s no proven direct link between caffeine and acne. However, caffeine tends to spur your body to make cortisol, the stress hormone, which can stimulate your skin’s oil production…which can cause acne. As with dairy, I’d say try eliminating caffeine for a few weeks, see if you can tell a difference, and then add it back in slowly…keeping a close eye on your skin.

Do you have tips or advice to add? I’d love to hear what works for you! —Aleigh

(Image via Colin Kinner)

*Statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness, disease, or condition.

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6 Tips for Winter Skincare

As winter months approach, your delicate skin can get pretty roughed up. Colder temperatures mean less efficient blood circulation, which can leave your face feeling dry and looking dull. Here are some tips for small changes you can make in your every day routine that will leave your skin supple and looking fresh.

Hydrate. Hydration is important year round, but especially so during the wintertime, when the constant temperature changes from the outside chill to the warmth of indoors can dehydrate your skin. Drink lots of water and green tea to stay hydrated from the inside out.

Give some lip service. Don’t forget about your lips—winter weather can quickly make lips feel dry and chapped. Re-apply your favorite gloss or moisturizing lipstick regularly to provide a protective barrier.

Scrub. Exfoliation is great for winter skin—it removes dead, dull skin cells and allows your skin to absorb extra moisture.

Moisturize. According to the web site, moisturizing is an important piece of your skin care routine all year, but in the wintertime, switch to a moisturizer with a rich oil (like avocado or olive oils), for an extra moisture boost. I also like to put on a body oil right before I get out of the shower (after I turn off the water) to lock in the moisture on my skin–especially on places that tend to be dry all the time, like my elbows.

Consider temperature. Hot showers feel great when it’s cold, but they also do a great job at drying out your skin. Try knocking the temperature of your showers or baths down a few notches, and don’t soak or shower for too long. (This is the hardest one for me–I love my hot showers.)

Get handsy. It’s harder to keep hands moisturized; your skin is thinner on your hands than on other parts of your body. Keep hands from getting dried and itchy with regular applications of your favorite lotion.

Do you have any winter skincare tips to share? —Aleigh

(Image via Paulo Dourado)

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