Sunday, February 27, 2011

Winter skin blues...or more precisely reds...

Ever since I stopped using chemical laden products (in 2008) I have been struggling with keeping my skin blemish free and looking healthy. It is easy in the summer when the sun (even though I hide in the shade or under a hat/clothes) keeps those pimples at bay and the humidity keeps my skin from drying out but the winter is always troublesome. This winter has been especially bad with breakouts on my face, chest and neck and dry skin everywhere! I know that I am getting older and my skin is definitely changing BUT this is out of control! I always thought getting older meant getting dryer skin and wrinkles, not getting huge breakouts!

I used to be the girl who always wore makeup and never left the house if my blemishes weren't covered. Ridding myself of all makeup (except special occasions a couple of times a year) and other products was a huge step but in the end I felt free. I no longer had to spend 30-60 mins in the morning getting ready or 30 mins at night getting ready for bed. However, I think that letting go has also gotten me to neglect my skin. So now I think I need to get back into some sort of routine, that maybe isn't makeup oriented but rather with the goal of healthy skin.

I had started a new beauty regime in the summer of 2009 (see my post here) and I am not sure why but I fell out of it. Of course 2 years later, I don't even remember if it was working! So I have come up with a new regime that I think will promote healthier skin. I have decided on a rather aggressive assault on my unwanted guests in hopes that I can get the breakouts under control and have healthy glowing skin. It is a combination of what I posted in 2009 and some new ideas for smoothing and nourishing the skin. I personally don't mind wrinkles, I am not the type of person that obsesses over them. I think they are natural and beautiful but smooth skin and slowing the appearance of wrinkles is a product of healthy skin and a healthy diet and lifestyle which is something that I am striving for. All of the information and recipes below come from various internet sources that I found in my research.

Routine and Benefits of the Ingredients
  1. Use a mixture (2:1) plain yogurt and lemon juice as a night cream. I mixed one cup of my homemade yogurt (see recipe here) with 1/2 cup of lemon juice. This makes a lot of cream and I would recommend making 1/2 to 1/3 of the batch and make it more often. I rinse my face, neck and chest with water then rub the cream on and let it dry before hopping into bed. The lactic acid in the yogurt is a gentle exfoliant. The yogurt also contains vitamins A and D which help to nourish the skin and help to sooth dry and itchy skin. The lemon juice contains citric acid which helps to slough off dead skin enabling new skin cell growth, flushes out pores and improves the skin's elasticity.
  2. Use a 1:1 mixture of rosewater and lemon juice as a cleanser/toner. Rosewater stimulates blood flow to the skin, balances sebum (oil/wax produced by the skin) production and pH, tightens pores and has antibacterial properties. It is reported to be effective against acne, blemishes, scars, wrinkles and both dry and oily skin. Not to mention that it smells wonderful and has been used to treat many ailments for centuries and is extensively used in aromatherapy. I apply this using a fleece wipe after rinsing off the yogurt/lemon cream from the night before. I let is absorb and wait 30 mins before rinsing it off.
  3. Use EcoYogini's sugar scrub in the shower. I made this recipe using peppermint oil to stimulate and revitalize, which is GREAT in the morning! The scrub contains honey which is touted as the oldest moisturizer in the world! It has antioxidants and anti-microbial properties helping to protect the skin from the sun but also fighting the bacteria and microbes that can cause acne. It also has a great ability to retain moisture. The scrub also has sugar which when rub gently on the skin helps to remove the flakes. I usually rinse off my rosewater/lemon toner in the shower, then apply this scrub to my face, neck and chest. I leave it on until the end and rinse it off with the suds of my shampoo.
  4. Use a damp washcloth with a few drops of tea tree oil to wipe over my face, neck and chest. Tea tee oil has antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. However, it is toxic if taken internally so keep out of reach of children.
  5. Massage a very thin coat of Sweet Almond Oil to my face, neck and chest. Almond oil balances moisture in your skin and is a good moisturizer for all skin types. It is also said to have anti-aging properties and it is used to fight wrinkles and dark circles under your eyes. I also eat almonds almost every day in my yogurt.
  6. Drink 2-3 cups of nettle tea per day. Stinging nettle has a long history of medicinal uses and as a food source. It is a diuretic which help the body excrete toxins from your blood stream which can cause acne, among other health issues. This is touted as a tonic for general health because it has lots of vitamins such as calcium, iron, folic acid and zing among others. So I am on board for giving it a try. Stinging nettle grows here locally, so if I like it I may try to harvest my own!
  7. Drink 3-10 cups of green tea per day. Green tea has lots of antioxidants that have protective effects against free radicals cardiovascular damage, some cancers, infections, toxins and much more. See my post about foods that fight cancer. Green tea has been shown to inhibit enzymes whose excessive activity contributes to the age related deterioration of the skin.
I know that acne can also be caused by changes/imbalances in hormones. Rosewater and stinging nettle are also thought to help in balancing hormones.

I know it sounds like a lot of effort but really it is WAY less (~10 mins per day) than my old make-up routine! You can also opt to use only parts of my routine rather than all of it. Either way, you should see a reduction in acne in about 2-3 weeks but can see and feel the benefits in your skin almost immediately. After 2 days, my skin is smoother and the flakiness is starting to go away. I will definitely report back in a few weeks on my progress.


  1. You look beautiful with or without makeup! I agree that not wearing makeup is very freeing, suddenly there is more time in the day and it's cheaper! Anyone drinking a lot of tea daily should ensure it's organic, otherwise you can ingest a lot of pesticides used in farming tea. Mom

  2. Good point! All of my tea is organic and I have been getting into the loose leaf tea even more these days. It is so delicious! The Just Us! Earl Grey and Cyelon are very tasty (and fair trade organic!).

  3. I've made the winter skin lotion that Sherrie posted a few weeks back. It works beautifully on my dry winter legs, feet and arms. I don't wear make-up (maybe I do twice a year) and the only thing I put on my face is soap and water and I use the Green Beaver apr├Ęs-ski. I don't believe in those expensive creams that promises to make you look younger; longer !!! sorry, won't happen.

    I love loose leaf tea. I'm into David's Tea right now.