Tag Archives: skincare

Easy Holiday Skincare Tips

22 Nov

‘Tis the time of season where the “to do list” seems to stretch beyond time. It can make your skin pucker and crinkle with wrinkles at the mere thought.

You don’t want your skin to age or breakout because of a few weeks of stress cheer; do you? We don’t either, so we’ve come up with a few suggestions. And since, we don’t want to add to your holiday burdens…um…fun, you can easily incorporate them into your busy schedule.

christmas girlStay Hydrated.

Water hydrates cells, reduces fluid retention, and flushes out toxins.  Alcohol dehydrates and is hard on the skin, so flush it. Coconut water is good for this.

Take a Supplement.

Stress depletes levels of nutrients. The B vitamins and magnesium are good for stress; vitamin C is a skin healer, and vitamin D helps with lack of sunshine in winter. A multivitamin will cover all the basics.

Eat More Fresh Vegetables and Fruit.

They will help to balance the effects of holiday foods and drinks that may not be so good for you.

Put Down the Salt Shaker.

Salt draws moisture from the cells and leads to water retention that results in puffiness around the eyes and to drier skin.

Do This Yoga Pose: Legs Up the Wall.

Ten minutes lying on the floor with legs resting up against a wall rejuvenates skin and you. Place a cool cloth or eye mask over eyes while in the pose.


People tend to breathe shallowly when stressed. Breathe deeply and slowly; expand the belly on the inhale and deflate it on the exhale.

Just Say “No.”

Say “no” to some of the sugary treats and to people. Sugar affects collagen production. Stress from doing too much negatively affects skin.

Exfoliate Regularly.

Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, and makes it ready for regeneration of new skin cells.


Hydrate your skin more than normal. Organic or natural facial mists are great for on-the-go hydrating and is refreshing for the spirit. Moisturizing will keep your skin looking refreshed, reduce appearance of wrinkles, and keep skin from becoming dehydrated.


Laugh, sing, dance, or find things to appreciate in everyday this holiday season.  It will make you glow and when you glow, your skin will show it.

 REMEMBER: The holidays come every year like clockwork; there’s always next year…. HoHoHo!

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Two Loves: Argan Oil and Abe’s Natural Market

18 Jul

Obviously, we are fans of Argan oil and its benefits. It is a star ingredient in several of our products. So, we were happy to see when it got some star treatment on Abe’s Market online magazine: “5×5: 5 Reasons to Love Argan Oil.”  http://bit.ly/W8p8qN.

And we were very proud to have one of our serums chosen to be featured.  Thanks Abe’s!

Head over to Abe’s for all your natural products and pick up some Yum Scrub Organics while you are there. 🙂  http://www.abesmarket.com/.  Also, in coming months check out their online magazine as we contribute to it with skincare articles.

DSC_0602_4_2Click to Buy Our Great All-Organic Skincare Line:

Yum Scrub http://bit.ly/1jKksLG

Abe’s Market bit.ly/1rueto2


Food as Medicine: A Prescription for Clearing Acne

5 Jun

We have become so focused on satiating the tastes buds with fast, salty, sweet, and processed foods that we have forgotten the purpose of food: Food is medicine for the body. This concept seems to have become lost in both modern medicine and in our culture.

Rind  of orange cutaway in spiral shape

It is not just that we have forgotten the purpose of food. Our minds have become conditioned and in some ways addicted to eating foods low in nutrients, but high in satiating the taste buds and giving us emotional comfort. Eating like this when you have acne or any disease impedes the body’s ability to heal because you choose low nutrient-filled foods.

Low nutrient-filled foods do not have what it takes for the body to heal acne. As a result, maintaining clear skin is a constant battle as you yo-yo from one remedy to another with perhaps temporary results, but with no lasting results. Poor nutrition can also acerbate and contribute to the cause of acne.

Coconut Milk Fruit ShakeBy the way, nutrient rich foods also satiate the taste buds and emotions. It is a matter of becoming aware of your diet and adapting your mind to a different way of eating. Once you do, you will wonder how you ever ate any other way.

When the body is diseased in some way (acne is a disease), it needs all the nutrients it can get to heal. The current western diet that most people eat is for the most part nutritiously poor. The other problem with our misdirected perception of food and its purpose comes from the medical establishment. Many dermatologists and other doctors say there is no connection between acne and diet. They are wrong…period.Spinach

Their heads are in the sand. Hello! Scurvy is from a lack of vitamin C; rickets is from a deficiency in vitamin D, and some cases of blindness are caused by vitamin A defieiciencyy. So, logic dictates that if these diseases are cured or prevented when the body is supplied with them then food is medicine for the body and will help with other diseases.

The food, however, has to be nutrient rich. Food is not created equal when it comes to nutrients. The long-held misconception is that if we are eating then we must be getting the nutrients we need. Wrong thinking.

If your diet consists of food from fast food chains, out of boxes, foods processed with chemicals, pizza, pasta, soda (including diet), sugary drinks and food, then you are not getting enough nutrients need to clear your skin of acne. You need whole foods in your diet; foods that are fresh.

DSC_0044For way too long, the role of nutrition in clearing skin has been sorely neglected or ignored. However, there is a growing number of enlightened doctors who are teaching their patients that food is medicine. Nutrient rich food helps to prevent disease and aids in the body in maintaining homeostasis. Food as medicine for acne is very important because the body not only needs nutrients to maintain its balance; it also needs them to heal the skin at the same time. The nutrients are doing double duty.

It really is impossible to have great looking skin without proper nutrition. Besides individual choices when choosing what to eat, there are contributing elements that are creating detrimental consequences to the nutritional health of the country. More on this in the next post. For now, if you have acne take a hard look at your diet.

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Yum Friday Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato and Cilantro Hummus

15 Jun

Yum Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato & Cilantro Hummus

This hummus was inspired by one served at a friend’s barbeque on Memorial Day.  I raved about it so much my friend gave me some to take home with me.  The next morning I made one of my favorite breakfasts with it.  I take a rice cake, spread on some hummus, add a couple slices of avocado, tomato, and onion. Mmmmmm.  And it’s so skin helpful.  My friend served the sweet potato hummus as a dip with some crackers.

Yum Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato & Cilantro Hummus on Rice Cake

I changed out the copper-skinned sweet potatoes she used for golden (pale-skinned) sweet potatoes.  They aren’t as sweet.  Also, they absorb the color of the other ingredients more readily.  So, when the cilantro is added to the hummus it turns a nice green. 

Yum Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato & Cilantro Hummus

What I had most fun with in making this recipe was  serving it.  While looking for something different to serve it in, I remembered the old China tea and dessert set I bought at a garage sale a few months ago.  I haven’t had a chance to put them to much use.  So, I decided to serve the hummus in the teacups with the vegetables and crackers surrounding it on the saucers and dessert plates. 

Yum Recipe: Sweet Potato & Cilantro Hummus

Yum Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato and Cilantro Hummus

1 ½ pound pale sweet potato
½ cup packed fresh cilantro minus coarse stems
1 ½ Tablespoon tahini (sesame oil paste)
1 ½ cloves garlic coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 teaspoon pepper sauce (optional) i.e. Franks Red Hot Sauce
1/4 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Olive oil for drizzling.

Wash sweet potatoes.  Pierce with knife or fork.  Bake 350 degrees 45 – 60 min., depending on the size.  Allow them to cool to touch.  Peel off skin of sweet potatoes.  They can also be cut in half and the flesh scooped out.  Place the sweet potatoes in a food processor.  Process sweet potatoes for a few seconds until they start to become mashed.  Stop the food processor.  Add cilantro, tahini, garlic, lime juice, pepper sauce, salt and process again.  Pour olive oil in a stream through the lid opening.  Use enough olive oil to make a creamy hummus.  Continue to process until hummus is smooth and ingredients are well blended.  After moving to serving container, drizzle some olive oil over the hummus and garnish with some cilantro or chopped scallion.  Best served room temperature or chilled.

Serve with vegetables or crackers.  I served them with sesame rice and a cheese rice cracker.

Yum Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato & Cilantro Hummus

Sweet Potatoes Benefits for the Skin
Sweet potatoes are great for the skin because they are loaded with beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A.  Vitamin A is essential to keep skin healthy.  Because of its high anti-inflammatory and an anti-oxidant properties, it also helps the skin to heal, slows wrinkle formation, and helps with acne.  One cup of cooked sweet potato has over 400% of the daily value for vitamin A! 

Sweet potatoes are also high in another skin loving nutrient, vitamin C.  Collagen helps with prevention of wrinkles and helps maintain healthy skin.  It is synthesized by vitamin C.  Scurvy while extreme shows the importance of collagen for the skin–the skin breaks down with sores appearing.

Sweet Potatoes also have other skin friendly nutrients, such as some B’s and copper.

Cilantro Benefits for the Skin
Cilantro is high in phytonutrients that helps with anti-aging and fight free radicals.  Also, cilantro also contains anti-bacterial properties, which is good for fighting skin issues such as acne or eczema.

So, while this hummus is choked full of skin loving nutrients, it’s the taste of it that will have you making it again and again.

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Yum Friday Recipe: Kombucha Salad Dressing and Kombucha Green Smoothie

25 May

We are very happy and exited to share two wonderful recipe from guest blogger, Lis Viehweg, M.A., CNFC.  Lis is a Denver-based Certified Natural Food Chef.  Lis created two fantastic recipes using kombuchaPassionberry Kombucha and Fresh Raspberry-Tarragon Salad Dressing and Green Kombucha Smoothie.  Can’t wait for you to try them.

Kombucha Salad Dressing by Lis Viehwig

Kombucha is a fermented tea loaded with probiotics enzymes.  It is said to have originated in Russia in late 19th century.  It comes in different flavors and is sold in most natural foods stores in the refrigerated section.  All the benefits Lis addresses below help the skin by allowing the skin to receive more nutrients.  Also, when toxins are prevented from forming or are reduced, they won’t show up on the skin in the form of  wrinkles, dry skin, blemishes, eczema, keratosis pilaris, etc.

Kombucha:  Fizzy, Fermented, and Fabulous


Lis Viehweg  M.A., CNFC
Certified Natural Foods Chef

Trust me, your stomach can use all the help it can get.  Friendly bacteria, contained in probiotic food sources, are just the guys for this job.  Probiotic enzymes improve immunity (so you don’t get sick) and help your body absorb vitamins and minerals better (so you don’t get sick AND you feel better, to boot).  Win-Win.  The fermentation process enhances the enzyme content of foods and chemically kick-starts digestion. 

Food that remains undigested in your gut can lead to such unappetizing outcomes as cell damage and toxic strain on the liver and kidneys, thus creating a “perfect storm” environment for allergies, inflammation that is a causative agent for diseases such as cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and immunity issues.  So drink your kombucha, children.  Or eat it!  Kombucha is an easy additive to smoothies-  I’ve included my favorite green smoothie recipe.  But one day, I said to myself:  I wonder how kombucha would work as a salad dressing?  Et voila. 

Passionberry Kombucha and Fresh Raspberry-Tarragon Salad Dressing

Ingredients for Dressing:

Kombucha Salad Dressing by Lis Viehwig

½ cup fresh raspberries
2 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
½ cup Passionberry kombucha ( any fruity kombucha will do)
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
½ teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea Salt or Grey Salt
Freshly-ground  Pepper to taste


Muddle raspberries and tarragon in the bottom of a mixing bowl.  Add kombucha, Dijon mustard, honey, and lemon juice; whisk to blend.  Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Yield:  1 1/2 cups


Green Kombucha Smoothie


1 cup green kombucha
1 small apple (preferably organic), unpeeled and cut into chunks
1 banana
1 cup of frozen strawberries
A big handful of (organic) greens:  salad greens, baby spinach
1 Tablespoon chia seeds (optional)


Throw all of the ingredients into a blender and whirl until smooth.  If you like your smoothies thicker, add more frozen strawberries or ice cubes.
Note:  Chia seeds are a good source of fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids, important for good digestion and a healthy heart, among other things.

Yield:  approximately 2 ½ cups

Besides being a natural foods personal chef in the Denver area, Lis is available for healthy food consultations and specializes in transforming cultural/traditional recipes into healthy ones.  You can contact her: lis@foodie1.com.

Lis Viehweg M.A., CNFC
Certified Natural Foods Chef
Honest Chow.  Real, good food prepared with care and a dash of humor by the curly girl….

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What Does Love Got to Do with… Beautiful Skin?

2 Apr

When you feel love, when you love, and feel loved the energy from these feelings comes through you and manifests itself in many, many ways.  The glow and health of your skin is one of the ways that love is reflected.   Your skin looks brighter, wrinkles are kept at bay, and skin conditions improve all with love.

With love as the inner center of your experience, you radiate outward.  In addition, when love is your dominant force, you want to take better care of yourself.  So, you eat better, exercise, and you are involved in healthy relationships and activities.  Love brings happiness and joy, and the cells in the body pick up on this energy communicating in ways that lead to a healthier body.  And healthier, better-looking skin is one of the beneficiaries of these responses to love.

[“Smile, it enhances your face value.”  Truvy (Dolly Parton) in “Steel Magnolias”]

See for yourself.  Try loving every day throughout the day no matter the difficulties you have for thirty days.  See if your skin doesn’t look better and your life feel better.  Here are some thoughts and tips:

Love is not a mental exercise; words alone don’t make love.  Words need to be connected to feelings.  Think of someone or something that doesn’t need to give you love back for you to feel love (a baby, small child, puppy, pet, flowers, etc.).  Got the feeling?  That is love.

[The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.  Helen Keller]

Now with that feeling, love yourself first unconditionally.  Just don’t say your love yourself, feel it in your entire being.  Loving yourself is not selfish as many of us as many of us have been taught to believe.  In fact, in order to love others fully, you need to love yourself first.  Everyday practice loving yourself.  (You can check in with how you are doing with this by observing how you are treating others in your life and those whom you meet during the course of your day.)

Every morning before you get out of bed and every night before you go to sleep list all the things you love.  Just don’t stop at ten or twenty things keep on going. Gratitude is an expression of love, so you could also list all the things you are grateful for.  Don’t forget the people that make your life possible (fireman, policemen, people who make it possible to have electricity and running water, sidewalks, farm workers, etc.). 

[“When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them.” — Chinese Proverb]

What about those difficult people in your life?  Find something to love about them.  Send them love; they are most likely in great need of loving themselves.

Express in words and feeling love and appreciation to people in your life everyday.  Mentally pass on love and happiness to people you meet (grocery clerk, barista, bus driver, bank teller, etc.)  Elbert Einstein on of the greatest scientific minds of all times gave gratitude a 100 times a day:

[A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men living and dead and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I received and am still receiving.]

 The upside to love is there is no downside.

BTW – When you buy our products, you are getting love.  We put and send love in every bottle.

Click to Buy Our Great All-Organic Skincare Line:


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Whole-Body Approach to Skincare

19 Mar

So, just what is a whole-body approach to skincare?  A whole-body approach is just that.  In order for the skin to be healthy and beautiful, or to heal a skin condition, it takes more that just topicals applied to the skin.  It involves all the aspects of your life.

In our collective psyche, skin has been viewed as something outside ourselves, meaning we often don’t see that our skin’s condition is as much dependent on our internal workings as any of the other body’s organs.

While skin is the largest organ in the body, I would venture to guess it is one of the least understood.  Much of how we view skincare is a trickle down effect from doctors.  They often approach skin disease and diseases in general through a myopic lens, focusing just on the disease.  Since the advent of the predominant pharmaceutical culture, physicians have stopped trying to heal the body or be healers.  For example, most dermatologist still harp that food, lifestyle, mental attitude do not have a part in acne.  Why is it so hard for them to connect the dots when diseases, such as scurvy that have skin manifestations are a result of improper nutrients?

On the other hand, a whole-body approach to acne says that the body is out of balance and needs to be brought back into balance with proper nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, etc.  It also involves the use of skincare products, but doesn’t just rely on them or pills as a cure. Dermatologists who do not counsel patients who have skin conditions about the effect of proper nutrition, exercising, mental attitude, stress, etc. on the skin are doing the patient a disservice.

The skin is an organ and is affected by our lifestyle just as any other organ is in the body.  Don’t get lolled into thinking that because we can see a layer of it on the outside that its not being affected by what you eat, think, do, and feel.

While Yum Scrub Organics produces skincare products, we know that products alone can’t do the job.  No matter the marketing hype from any cosmetic or pharmaceutical company, wrinkles, blemishes, eczema, psoriasis, backne, acne, dryness will not go away/stay away or diminish with just a skin-applied product.  Big spending advertising is another way we are lolled into thinking the skin is something separate from the rest of our body.  However, the right product can certainly play a large role in skincare (or we wouldn’t be in the business).

To really enhance the beauty or healing of your skin, you do need to also go deep inside.  A whole-body approach to skincare then is about all that makes you–you.  It involves what you eat and drink and what you don’t eat and drink; exercise, mental attitude/mindset, and spiritual development.  With regard to spiritual development, we are referring to the inner path or who you are as a person that comes from deep within–not the religious connotation of spirit.

Applying a whole-body approach, you embrace a natural healthy lifestyle that benefits your whole body.  You see the body as interconnected, what affects one part of the body affects another part and affects the whole body.  With this in mind you approach the care of your whole body–physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual–with mindfulness.  If you apply this approach, your skin will radiate and of course your entire body will be much healthier.

Click to Buy Our Great All-Organic Skincare Line:


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Browse through some of our posts to get some suggestions on some whole-body techniques.

Yum Friday Recipe: Asian Style Anti-Inflammation Soup

16 Mar

I love soup; I could live on it.  They are easy to make; you can be very creative with ingredients; they are healthy and everything is in one bowl to eat.  Let me retrace my steps a bit to “healthy,” and add that most soups are healthy.  Those heavily creamy mixtures that are also cheese laden, not quite so healthy.  You know who you are broccoli, cauliflower, cheese, and one I just saw online, “Cream Cheese Potato Soup.”  Whoa!   My arteries are clogging at the thought while my mouth is watering with a craving.  Not for me, though, the dairy would send my stomach into a tailspin.

Lately, my soup tastes have been going  Asian  with a hunger for ginger, turmeric, and a thinner broth.  And that is where this recipe comes in.  It relies on those ingredients as the base spices.  It is also a very versatile soup, lending itself to easy adaptations.

While there are some really great nutrients in the vegetables in this soup, the stars are the spices and herbs.  It is heavily dosed with anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, onions, and cilantro.  So, the bottom line is this soup is really good for the skin and because of its anti-inflammatory ingredients it’s great for skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, keratosis pilaris, etc.  Including this soup in your regular diet along with foods high in omega 3, fresh fruit, and fresh dark green vegetables will have your skin glowing.

Ginger has been used in eastern cultures for centuries as “food medicine.”  Turmeric in Ayurvedic medicine is considered a healing food for acne and other skin conditions.  If you can get fresh turmeric, it’s the best.  While dried is good, fresh turmeric has a smoother, less pungent taste then it’s dried form.  Asian markets and larger Whole Foods carry it.  It really makes a difference in the taste.  But, I don’t always have fresh turmeric on hand, so I use the dry form. 

The base of the soup always has either vegetable or chicken stock, onions, ginger, turmeric, cilantro, and garlic.  While I change-up certain vegetables, I always include onions, some type of mushroom and greens (spinach, kale, watercress, etc.).  Really, the soup is delicious with just those three vegetables.  And it great served with lime wedges.  Lime juice adds another level of flavor. 

I love using homemade stock, but hey, time doesn’t always allow for it.  When I use commercial stock, I use a very good quality stock and always organic.  I also find commercial stocks much more condensed in taste, so I dilute them.   Usually, I dilute them about half stock and half water.  Vegetable stock I may dilute a bit more.

This soup is a great one to play with for flavor and ingredients.  I usually serve it with bean thread or rice noodles.  Lately, however, we have eaten it without any starch, or I have really enjoyed serving it with sticky short grain rice.  That’s what I love about it, you can play around with the ingredients.  For examples, if I could eat shrimp I would probably add some at the end of the cooking process.

The other thing I enjoy about making this soup is that the vegetables are rough cut.  They aren’t diced in small pieces, so it really speeds up the time.  The soup can be made in about 30 minutes or less, depending on the vegetables added. 

Yum Asian Style Anti-Inflammation Soup – serves 6

64 oz homemade chicken or vegetable stock – if using commercial stock dilute 32 oz of stock with 32 oz of water
1 large onion cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced – about 4 cups

2 cups sliced mushrooms of any variety (frozen shitake nice to have on hand for this soup)
2  cups rough cut chopped greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard, watercress)
½  cup chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger

2 – 3 teaspoons fresh grated turmeric (if using dry turmeric, 2 teaspoons)
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped jalapeno or other hot pepper (optional)
salt/pepper to taste
6 lime wedges
4 – 5 cups prepared rice noodles, or 4 cups cooked rice (optional)

If serving with rice noodles, start the noodles soaking.  If serving with rice, start cooking rice.

In a large pot, add the stock, onions, ginger, turmeric, garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat so soup simmers.  Cook about 12 minutes; add the mushrooms and greens, cook about 10 minutes; add cilantro.  Taste for seasonings. You want a nice balance between the ginger and turmeric.  Simmer for additional 5 minutes.  Serve as is or over rice noodles or rice.

other vegetables – If you use other vegetables, make sure to keep a nice balance of the amount of vegetables used so the soup remains brothy.  Also add the vegetables that take longer to cook first, so the softer vegetables, keep their color. 

Some vegetables suggestions: celery, carrots cut on diagonal.  If you use celery or carrots, add them with the onions and cook until tender soft.  Other vegetables, such as snow peas or peas, add in the last 5 minutes to keep their texture and color.

Add a couple tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce.  If you do this, reduce or eliminate the salt.

Add a little shrimp in the last few minutes.

Add some bean sprouts last 5 minutes of cooking

Sometimes I sauté the onion (carrots and celery too if being added) in some extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes then add half the spices (ginger, turmeric, garlic) and sauté for about a minute or so before adding the chicken stock.  Then I add the remaining portion of the spices after the stock begins to simmer.

Happy Eating

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Get Your Happiness On

7 Mar

So, for skin to be healthy and beautiful, you need good nutrition, good sleep and rest, exercise, a skincare regimen, great products (ha-hum), etc.  However, there is something we tend not to relate with healthy, beautiful skin and that is happiness and laughter.  Do not underestimate what feeling happy and laughing can do for the skin. 

Happiness and laughter bring a natural glow to the skin.  Feelings of happiness, reduce stress and lower blood pressure, which gets reflected on your skin with less wrinkles, improvement in skin conditions, such as acne and eczema, and more suppleness.  With less stress and worry, more nutrients flow to your skin instead of being directed to bodily functions that are a part of the body’s “fight and flight” response.

An Angel We Can All Love

Kick Start Your Happiness Gene
Okay, we don’t really know if there is a happiness gene.   But imagine there is one, and we are going to turn it on.

The quickest way to turn on your “happiness gene” is to think or list all the things you love, every little thing and every big thing you can think of.  Just keep going and going and going with the list.  Hand-n-hand with love is gratitude.  Again, list all the things big and small, you are grateful for.  If it’s hard getting started, think of all the people whose work makes your lifestyle possible: farmers, utility workers, builders, grocery workers, farm workers, automobile designers and workers, etc. 

Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists ever, gave thanks and gratitude 100 times a day every day.

A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer lives are based on the labors of other people, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.

Here are few videos and images to jump start your happiness! Yeah, some are cute, some funny, and some ridiculous.  Enjoy.

Ridiculous Happiness

Lizards Get Happy Too

Blossoms Bring Hope

Joyous Abandonment: It's Catchy

Piggy Possum...Too Full to Move...Caught Red Handed

Nothing Like a Good Roll in the Snow

Sign of Spring

Take the Woe out of Winter’s Dry Skin

20 Feb

Yesterday CNN Health promoted a segment about ways to help dry skin during the winter months.  I hung around to see what  I could learn.  I was disappointed; it was the same old tired information that has been repeated year after year after year, and it is the same information that is on almost every website discussing dry skin.  CNN’s report was basically a fluff piece, something that is not uncommon in television news. 

Their expert (dermatologist) suggested not to take hot showers or baths; keep the showers short; apply moisturizer; give extra attention to joints (elbows and knees).  Common sense tell us the same thing.  It really annoyed me that CNN (ditto to other news outlets that do this) has an almost unlimited amount of resources, and this was the best it could come up with.  While the suggestions are helpful to some extent, they will not give much relief.  I know.  I did them for years.  So, I am going to pick-up where CNN left off and give you some other insights and suggestions to help get your dry skin under control.

Things That Can Worsen Dry Skin
Definitely, winter’s dry air and the dry air heat in homes and offices create the perfect setting to suck the moisture right out of your skin.  At the same time, however, there could be things that contribute to your dry skin that you do not notice during other times of the year because the dryness is not as severe.  During, say the summer months when there is more humidity in the air, your skin may not be as dry.  Therefore, you may not notice factors other than winter that contribute to your dry skin woes.  Even if that is not the case with you, these still may worsen winter’s dry skin: 

  • Trigger Foods.
    You may have a sensitivity or allergy to certain foods that reveals itself on your skin.  Wheat, gluten, yeast, corn (including corn by-products), dairy, and sugar are usual suspects.  For example, wheat, yeast, and sugar make my dry skin and seborrhea worse.  An elimination diet is  an easy way to see if certain foods bother you.  With an elimination diet, you eliminate one food for a certain period of time and then reintroduce it.  
  • Alcohol.
    Drinking alcoholic beverages increases dry skin because it dehydrates the body.  For women, this is even more so because women have less body water then men ( (52% for the average woman v. 61% for the average man) to begin with.  Also, alcohol stays in women’s body longer then men because women metabolize it slower, which will affect the skin in numerous ways.
  • Caffeine.
    Too much caffeine will also worsen dry skin.  Caffeine is a diuretic that increases the excretion of water from the body; thereby increasing dehydration.  Also, too much caffeine can cause nutrients to be excreted from the body.  Since the skin is the last organ to receive nutrients, a lack of or decrease in them will affect it.
  • Smoking.
    Really nothing more needs to be said.  Smoking is bad any way you look at it. Period.
  • Wool and Lanolin.
    You may be allergic or sensitive to wool.  Of course, you don’t wear wool in the summer, so you would not notice it.  If you are sensitive or allergic to wool, it will make your dry skin worse.  Since lanolin is derived from wool, lanolin in products can make you dry skin worse.
  • Glycerin.  
    Humectants, such as glycerin,
    are believed to draw moisture to the skin.  However, that is not the case for everyone.  Some people (self included) dry skin becomes worse when using glycerin products.  Also, research has shown that in dry climates and when humidity is low (winter – less than 65%)  glycerin draws moisture away from the skin.  Another thing to watch out for is petroleum derived glycerin.  This is a cheaper version of glycerin.  Also, glycerin can be obtained from animals.  Petroleum and animal based glycerine can be harsh for your skin.  If you want to use glycerine, make sure the product states that it is a vegetable form.
  • Chemicals and Petroleum-based Ingredients.
    They can irritate the skin, making dry skin itchy and drier.  Often they are added because they are cheap.  Products made with them are marketed to make them alluring to the consumer.  They are often used to emulsify; preserve; give a certain feel or texture, and/or scent skincare products.
  • Lotions.
    Lotions can build up on the skin; therefore not giving skin a chance to shed dead skin cells.  If dead skin cells are not removed, your skin will be flakier.
  • Sugar/ artificially sweetened carbonated  beverages.  
    Stop or reduce your consumption of these because of the chemicals, such as phosphoric acid, and sugar.  They will irritate already dry skin and too much phosphoric acid found in many sodas (esp. colas) interferes with absorption of some nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin K.  Vitamin K is an important skin nutrient.
  • Cleansing bars.
    What is usually referred to as “soap,” is generally a detergent.  These detergent bars can be too harsh for dry skin.  The same with most commercial shower gels; they are too harsh for dry skin.

Things That Can Help Dry Skin
Dry dead skin cells hang around because there is not enough oils to help them to flake off.  Skin oils keeps skin moisturized as well as help with the removal of dead skin.  The plan then is to find ways to increase skin oils, keep moisture in, and remove dead skin cells.  Try these suggestions and see if they help you combat dry skin:

  • Increase omega 3 fatty acid intake.
    One of the symptoms of omega 3 deficiency is dry skin.  And as we have stated several times on this blog, most Americans are deficient in omega 3 while being high in omega 6.  Omega 3 and omega 6 need to be in balance.  Due to the western diet, Americans are out of balance with these essential nutrients.
  • Eat fresh vegetables and fruit daily.
    Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, collards, and broccoli (not a leafy vegetable, but is skin loving) have many skin-loving nutrients.
  • Eat foods high in vitamin C.
    Research shows that vitamin C helps with wrinkles and dry skin. Vitamin C helps form collagen.
  • Drink WATER daily.
    There is nothing like good ‘ol water for keeping skin hydrated.  Juice, soda, coffee, and tea don’t count.
  • Use a warm air vaporizer or humidifier.
    Place one in your bedroom and/or home.
  • Exfoliate regularly, at least once a week. 
    Because there is not enough oil on the skin, dead skin needs to be manually removed.  I exfoliate every time I shower.  Be careful, do not use harsh detergent exfoliators.
  • Water filter for the shower head.
    Chlorine in water is dry skins worst enemy and winter only makes it worse.  So invest in a water filter for the shower head; they start at about $35.00 – $45.00 dollars; you’ll thank me.  They make a huge difference.  And if you want to take a bath, you can run the water through the shower filter (takes awhile, but worth it).  A dechlorination ball also works great for baths.  We’re familiar with Rainshower Dechlorination Crystal Ball.  You use it by placing the ball in the tub as it fills with water.
  • Moisturize skin at least 2x day.
    But do not use just any old moisturizer, moisturizers are not created equal.  Of course, we prefer plant oils and botanicals to lotions.
  • Keep skin covered.
    This help skin to retain as much moisture as possible.
  • Exfoliate the bottoms of your feet.
    Nightly before going to bed scrub the soles with a body brush.  Afterwards, massage a plant-based oil into them (extra virgin olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, etc.) and put on cotton socks.  Your feet will love you for it.  The bonus is that this routine is very relaxing and will help you to sleep.
  • Pamper dry hands.
    Apply moisturizer (plant based) and wear a pair of cotton gloves over them to bed.
  • Spritz face throughout the day. 
    Use an herbal hydrosol (skin loves rose and lavender) to add moisture to your face during the day.  It’s an especially good way to moisturize skin while wearing make-up.  You can also use plain distilled water in a spritzer.

These are our suggestions to help winter’s dry skin.  If you have a suggestion we missed, we would love to hear it.  Just add your comment below.

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