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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Satisfy Your Skin's Thirst for Moisture

Our skin takes quite a beating no matter what the season. Regardless of how we choose to heat our homes in the winter, most likely the result will be a lack of humidity and dry indoor air. Get in the car and the blast of the heater seems to aim right for the face. Get out of the car and the wind whips around and further dries out our skin. In the summer, we have the glaring down of the hot summer sun in addition to the effects of the chlorine in swimming pools.

 Normal water weight in the human body varies with age, gender and body composition. The more muscle mass you have, the higher the percentage of water weight you'll have. Water constitutes 65 - 75 percent of muscle and 10 percent of fat.

Water is the key to healthy skin, and in order to function properly our bodies require 2 - 3 liters of water per day to replenish normal water loss. Our lungs expel up to 4 cups of water a day just by normal breathing. Water, called "the blood of life", makes up 95% of a skin cell, therefore for supple, beautiful skin, you need to stay hydrated by drinking enough and through topical moisturizers.

Help your body maintain a beautiful, healthy skin in three ways:
The environmental atmosphere in which you live, the amount of water you drink, and drawing water to the skin by way of moisturizers.

Depending on where you live you can help your skin maintain that 20% level from the atmosphere. A climate with 60% humidity is ideal.

Drinking more water is a must for proper overall health. Water plays an essential role in almost all bodily functions and without it you can only expect to live a few days. Water acts to transport nutrients and gases throughout the body, and also enables cellular reactions to take place. Water carries waste products out of your body, helps lubricate your joints, and helps maintain body temperature. Many times when people suffer from headaches, fatigue and fuzzy thinking, they need to drink more water.  With our blood being about 83%  water, we must daily replace 2.4 litres of water, some through drinking and the rest taken by the body from the foods we eat.

Last, draw or apply more water to your skin by way of oils, creams and lotions. 
Oils can provide rich nourishment, lubrication and protection for your skin. By themselves oils do not hydrate, so technically they are not moisturizers. Yet at times, when hydration is not the issue or when skin is damaged or not producing enough sedum a little oil may be all that is needed. Oils can act as moisture barriers when applied to a damp face that has been cleansed and rinsed.
Olive oil is good for most skin types, with the exception of very oily skin.
Almond oil is good for most skin types.
Grapeseed oil is drying, so good for oily skin
Jojoba oil is good for most skin types, especially for dry, aging or damaged skin.

Creams and lotions combine the hydrating effects of water and the nourishing lubricating effects of oil into one product. The difference between a cream and a lotion is the oil to water ratio. A lotion is lighter due to the higher water content. Look for natural ingredients that include emollients, humectants and reduce water loss by way of occlusion.

Emollients immediately relieve the discomfort of dry skin and include plant oils, lanolin and butters such as cocoa and shea. They penetrate the outer layers of the stratum corneum and function as moisturizers.
Humectants draw water from the atmosphere to your skin and include vegetable glycerin, aloe vera, alpha hydroxy acids, and olive oil.
Occlusion prevents water loss from the skin by trapping in the water, and forms a barrier to prevent evaporation. Desired barrier ingredients to look for in your creams are cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil.

Normal skin is healthy and needs no extensive special care. It can be treated simply with a mild cleansing formula and a day and/or night moisturizing cream or lotion. Essential oils often seen in formulas for normal skin are roman chamomile, lavender, geranium, rose and rosewood.

Oily skin is thicker and tends to form blackheads and pimples. The sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, and the fatty tissue under the epidermis is thick. Sebaceous glands are found next to each hair shaft, providing the hair with sedum, making it smooth and protected from drying out. An overproduction can result in oily looking skin and pores that tend to clog. Although it may sound like a contradiction, oily skin can be treated with vegetable oils.

Cleaning your face with oil may sound unappealing but contrary to popular belief, oil does not contribute to oily skin or breakouts. The sedum that the skin creates is there to protect the skin. When we use commercial cleansers to remove this natural oil, the body reacts by producing more oil.
In washing our faces we want to remove the dirt and bacteria which builds up in our pores but we have to think about the chemistry behind it. Oil dissolves oil, like dissolves like. Water and oil do not mix; commercial cleansers contain ingredients to break up the oils but in doing so may strip away the natural protective layer. Bergamot and lavender help reduce and balance the production of sedum. For breakouts,  anti-inflammatory oils such as geranium, chamomile, lavender, rose, peppermint, myrrh are beneficial. Frankincense, lemon, ylang-ylang, rosemary and sandalwood are also seen in oily skin lotions.

Dry skin is characterized by a lack of fat or moisture caused by inadequate production of the sebaceous glands. Over washing or over use of astringents containing alcohol can strip away this natural barrier which can alter the balance of skin chemistry. It is the same as how our hair adjusts to constant shampooing.The acid equilibrium is off kilter and cannot be restored simply by splashing water on your face. Water cannot penetrate the skin, and in actuality even more moisture is taken from the surface of the skin through evaporation when water is applied. The best way to cleanse dry skin is with a cleansing oil such as almond, olive, hazelnut, a bit of wheat germ oil and a few drops of essential oils that stimulate the sebaceous glands such as geranium, carrot seed, frankincense and ylang-ylang. Add a bit of the oil blend to a cotton square and wipe over your face to cleanse away dirt and make-up. Dry skin is more prone to forming wrinkles so it is imperative the take care of it on a regular basis. Lavender, orange, rose, rosewood, sandalwood, frankincense, ylang-ylang and cedarwood are all wonderful for dry skin care.

Reduction of stress is sure to bring an improvement in the condition of the skin. Stress, fear and life's frustrations are expressed in the skin as a mirror of our inner lives. Various skin disturbances can indicate that the emotional world is not in balance. Remember that our skin is the largest detox organ in the human body. Advancing age, environmental toxins, poor nutrition, hormonal changes all catch up with you and contribute to the aging of the skin. Over time the skin has an increased need for additional moisture and oxygen. Many factors are involved, but for example, as the collagen hardens the skin is less able to take up moisture, thus shrinks and wrinkles. Almond, apricot and hazelnut oils are all beneficial for mature skin. Great skin cell rejuvenating essential oils are carrot seed, frankincense, fennel, geranium, rosewood, lavender, patchouli, myrrh, sage, cypress and neroli.

A few last tips to remember:
Apply moisturizer to damp skin to help trap needed moisture.
It has been shown that permeability is greater at night than in the morning. Applying moisturizers before bed is ideal to allow time for the skin to fully absorb the benefits.
Don't forget to moisturize your neck as well.
Smile! Laugh lines are a lot better than those furrows between the eyebrows. Worry and stress eventually do show up on your face.

Our skin changes constantly, from infancy to our senior years. Take care of it at every stage and enjoy one of the secrets to the fountain of youth.

 Good article on skin care and the effects of the sun.

A few moisturizing options found within the Meadow Muffin Gardens Shop.
Etsy shop
Zibbet shop

Serenity Facial Moisturizer

Vanilla Massage or Body Oil

Shea & Coconut Oil Body Butter Fluff

Heavy Duty Body Butter

Cocoa Butter Hand Cream
SPF Facial CreamSummer sun, Wiinter wind

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