Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Preventing & Treating Acne During The Winter

Healthy Greetings and Wellness Wishes To All! Hope everyone is feeling wonderful and on top of their game . . . if not . . . as the saying goes, "There's no time like the present", to begin to take good care of yourself by really paying attention to what you eat, how often you exercise, your stress level, and how you preserve and pamper that skin of yours. It's never too late to begin a quality course of action to improve how you feel, look, and project yourself to others.

Today, well begin a new blog series on topics of great interest to all . . . troubling skin and body care issues, increasing physical and mental energy, nutrition through whole foods, anti-aging protocol and benefits of natural sunscreen, raw food, low-carb eating, and the "Caveman Diet". I hope you'll enjoy the new blog "look" and future topics.

I have to interject this . . . before I proceed . . . My latest book on topically-applied herbal healing remedies is in the final stages of "heavy editing". As soon as I have a firm working title and release date, I'll let you know. It should be approximately 340 pages and contain 150 recipes for making your own herbal medicines to apply to your body, thereby improving comfort and wellness. If you liked my previous book, "Organic Body Care Recipes", this is to be the companion book. Look for it in December 2012 . . . I think!

For today's topic of discussion, we'll delve into the care of acne conditions that occur in the winter months. Acne in winter often needs different treatment from the acne flare-ups that occur in the late spring and summer.

Preventing & Treating Acne During The Winter

Acne is a year-round inflammatory skin condition and not simply reserved for the warmer, more humid months. Whether you suffer from facial, back, chest, neck, or shoulder acne - or all of the above - you should know that winter treatment of acne (especially if you live north of Kentucky where it gets quite cold and arid) is a bit different from the treatment of acne in warm or hot, moist, sticky climates where the skin can sweat profusely and the skin's sebum or oil flows onto the surface more readily. Here are some tips to help you care for your late fall, winter, and early spring acne symptoms:

- Cleansing Regimen: Cleansing a normally oily skin in the drier, cooler months of the year should be done very gently and with a slightly richer cleanser than you would use during the warmer months of the year when your skin is oilier and exhibiting a sheen or "oil slick". In the cooler months, your skin doesn't exude as much lubricating oil, so you don't want to strip it dry by using a harsh soap or high-foaming cleanser. Cleanse in the morning and evening with a natural, chemical-free cleanser that contains salicylic acid or willow bark (The Body Shop has a good anti-aging line that contains salicylic acid and other herbs and works wonderfully well on oily/acneic skin). DHC has a great olive oil-based cleanser and gentle soap that is excellent for all skin types. They also have a salicylic acid line especially for oily skin. Aubrey Organics (a totally chemical-free line) offers a superior herbal product line for normal and oily skin.

Gentle cleansing twice a day will help to minimize oil production and impurities from forming in your pores. The hand-held Clarisonic Mia skin brush, www.clarisonic.com is an amazing tool that I highly recommend to thoroughly cleanse your skin while also exfoliating. It is of professional quality, unlike Oil of Olay's rotating skin brush, which I don't recommend at all. If you do decide to get the Clarisonic brand, order the soft bristle head for sensitive skin. Acneic skin should be treated with tender loving care, not abrasives that will further irritate it.

- Moisturizing Regimen: The key is to use a non-clogging, oil-based moisturizer during the colder, drier months. Indoor heat and cold temperatures can lead to dehydration or surface dryness which can further lead to discomfort and skin damage - preventing your skin from holding in valuable moisture. A dry, flaky surface looks dull and also tends towards the clogging of pores which exacerbates acne breakouts. Moisturizers with hyaluronic acid, NAPCA, honey, seaweed, vegetable glycerin, or jojoba oil work will to keep skin soft and supple. Weleda, Inc., www.weleda.com has a line called "Iris" that is specifically designed for gentle care of normal and oily skin.

If you are "into" outdoor winter activities, please be sure to protect your skin with the appropriate moisturizer/natural sunscreen so that it doesn't get environmentally damaged from the assault of sun, cold wind, and dehydrating temps.

- Hydrating Regimen: Drinking lots of water, fresh-pressed vegetable juices, and non-caffeinated herbal tea is recommended to keep your skin hydrated from the inside-out. A properly hydrated body and surface skin will help avoid cellular breakdown and painful acneic flare-ups, extreme, irritating dryness, and pre-mature aging. Sufficient fluid intake will keep waste products flowing out of your body via the kidneys and colon and not backing up in your system, potentially looking for another exit . . . your skin. A constipated body tends to exhibit lackluster, irritated, pimply skin. Not a look anyone's after!

Misting your face throughout the day with a herbal hydrosol or flower water is a great idea, especially if you travel a lot by airplane or live in an especially arid climate.

- Exfoliation Regimen: Exfoliating regularly, say . . . twice per week, whether summer or winter, prevents dead skin cell build-up and clogged pores. Sloughing off dead skin cells will help keep your skin functioning and looking its best. The Clarisonic Mia, mentioned above, is my favorite way to exfoliate and cleanse my skin, but you can also use a clay mask, or clay-based scrub twice per week, as well. Exfoliants with ground oats, almonds, or jojoba beads are also gentle products that won't irritate. Mountain Rose Herbs, www.mountainroseherbs.com makes a delightful facial scrub that I especially like.


I hope these tips help you achieve radiant, smooth, youthful , comfortable skin during the winter months. Let me know if you have any other tips for caring for your oily/acneic skin and I'll pass them along to my readers. Until next time . . . be well!

NOTE: The blog was written by Stephanie Tourles, author of "Organic Body Care Recipes", Storey Publishing, 2007. The information is true and complete to the best of her knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles. She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.

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