Monday, May 31, 2010

Dry Brushing the Skin

The skin is the body's largest organ and is so important in the elimination of toxins that it is often referred to as the 3rd kidney (the lungs are #2). One of the best things we can do to keep the skin healthy is dry skin brushing.

More than 30 years ago, a Finnish doctor by the name of Paavo Airola prescribed this technique for his patients to detoxify, exfoliate and stimulate the skin. It is still widely used in spas and cancer treatment centers around the world.

There are many benefits of dry skin brushing, including:

* assists the lymphatic system by moving lymph
* improves circulation and strengthens immune system
* increases oxygenation
* increases cell renewal
* removes dead skin layers
* tightens the skin and improves texture (=softer skin)
* helps improve the appearance of cellulite
* aids in prevention of varicose veins
* detoxifies the entire body
* aids digestion
* invigorating and improves nervous system functions

You can get a good natural bristled dry skin brush at your local health food store or here.
I personally find the short handled brush to be the easiest to maneuver.
There are numerous detailed instructions available online. But basically, you want to start with the feet and legs, then arms and torso - always moving toward the heart, as this is the direction the lymph naturally flows. Use gentle pressure and avoid very sensitive areas and areas with broken skin. I like to do long, sweeping strokes, but some people prefer small circular motions. Either one is fine. But always go toward the heart. And skip the face. Too harsh. The whole process takes about five minutes (but you can do it twice as long if you're really into it), and is meant to be done prior to bathing. You want to wash all those loose dead skin cells off.
Dry brushing is best done in the morning, as it accelerates blood flow and has quite an invigorating effect. And it can be done as frequently as once per day. Also, remember to wash and air dry your brush regularly.
It feels great and is great for you. So brush that bod!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Oldie, but Goodie

Many of you may have seen this already. In fact, I just read that this video was one of the most-linked-to videos amongst bloggers when it first came out. So very un-original of me. But it's always fun to watch again. It's such a powerful piece. And it may be the first time for some of you. In any case, I think it's brilliant. So I'm posting it.

It was part of Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. In addition to showing normal looking women's bodies in their ads, they have some pretty cool self-esteem building tools for girls on their site. So important in our beauty obsessed culture to teach young people to feel good about who they are, don't you think?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stop and Smell the Jasminas

I recently spent five days in NYC and loved every minute of it. I am now fantasizing about becoming bi-coastal. My friend Sarah took me to ABC Carpet and Home where, among many other things, I lusted for this:

Oh, my heavenly heavens.......

The scent is from Intelligent Nutrients, and is made with certified organic essential oils. It doesn't contain any petrochemically derived ingredients, only the plants themselves. So it smells like perfume, but is non-toxic and won't give you a headache.

Here's an interesting article from Environmental Working Group (the same folks who bring you the Cosmetic Safety Database, where you can type in a product and see how it ranks in terms of its safety/toxicity), about hidden chemicals in perfume and cologne.

In addition to Jasminas, I also fell in love with two of their other scents, Attune and Focus. I stepped away and decided I didn't need to buy three bottles of perfume. Now I miss them terribly, and wish I had gotten at least one! I don't wear synthetic fragrance (I'm one of those that gets toxed-out when I'm around regular perfume or artificially scented candles...), so I really don't own any perfume. But I know now that I should. The actual bottles on the product website are not nearly as beautiful as the ones in the apothecary section at ABC, for some reason. Wish I could show you. But I'm sure they smell just as gorgeous...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cure Acne with Your iPhone? Really??

Did you know there is an iPhone app that supposedly helps clear up acne as you talk on the phone? Yep. It's called AcneApp and was developed by Houston based dermatologist, Greg Pearson, MD. He says this app would have go through a lot more clinical study before he could "quantify its efficacy,” but that he was “fascinated by the concept..." Another derm said it takes at least 88 treatments to see results. But people seem to be giving it good reviews. Placebo effect, perhaps?
The principle is the same as that behind the red and blue LED light therapy you'd receive from a Licenced Esthetician to kill bacteria and promote collagen growth. In my experience, those machines actually do produce results. However, the effectiveness of AcneApp has not been proven. And apparently, there is also no way of knowing the specific wavelength coming from your iPhone or what kind of harmful ultraviolet rays could be emitted. That's a little scary.

In my opinion, the best thing to do with your phone to help control acne is keep it as clean as possible. Phones get dirty and greasy. And try not to mash it up against your pretty face too much. Yucky!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ice, Ice, Baby!

You would not believe the way people marvel when I reveal to them that one of the best skin care products is not only free, but sitting right there in their freezers. That's! Ice is cold. And cold is good for pimples. Not only can acne bacteria not survive in a frozen environment (think of the concept of refrigeration... invented to keep bacteria from fuzzing up your food), but it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory - it takes down swelling. So next time you have a big, angry pimple coming up... grab a cube and a towel (to hold it with) and apply liberally. People ask how long to keep it on there. I usually say, "a little longer than you want to, but not long enough to get frostbite!"

Last summer I was in my friend Melanie's wedding. And of course... what comes out to say hello a few days before, but a big, red, "under-grounder" on my cheek. This was so not okay. So I went to the freezer and I held that ice on so long that i got all red and puffed up all around Mr. Zit. So, I think 5 minutes was too long! Try a few minutes - until you get that cold "ache". Or do it on and off for a while. Then do it again an hour or two later. You can do the ice trick multiple times on the same spot. My ice welt went away in about 30 minutes and the pimple immediately shrunk and was gone within a couple days. No picking, scabbing, scarring. Just gone. While this may not work on every spot every time, it's a good first line of defense. It's available, easy, free, and contains no artificial fragrance and no preservatives!
Have you ever tried this trick of the trade? I'd love to hear about your experiences if you have or if you do!

Melanie's wedding:

Super pretty, no?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ta Da!

It's my first post! Yay!! Welcome. Both of us! I'm so excited about sharing the things I know and learn. And about learning from you. There is so much info out there, it's overwhelming!
So... you may have noticed that the header of my blog is a scan of a Post-It sticky note. This very sticky note was on my bathroom mirror for the longest time! I had one on there before that said, "Am I still breathing?" - I got that idea from Ekhart Tolle. He says, every time you read that note, it will bring you back to the present moment. It did, too. So, when that note lost its stick, I made up a new one: You are Super Pretty.
For your first beauty tip, I recommend putting a Post-It on your bathroom mirror. It should say something that makes you smile. Or breathe. Or think a loving thought about yourself that you wouldn't otherwise consciously think. Or just copy mine. It works! There are plenty of studies out there that show that positive affirmations really create positive change. And they can't hurt.
It genuinely breaks my heart when a new client comes in and says, "I hate my skin!" I know how that feels. Believe me, I've had my share of bad skin days. Bad skin years, actually. But the truth is that stress is one of the primary factors involved in skin issues. So, the first step is to learn to love your skin. Because it needs to heal. And things that are healing need extra doses of love. And positive affirmations are a good way to administer a therapeutic dose of self love. Sometimes we need to "fake it till we make it" and just say, "Hey, Self, you are super pretty. I think you're great. Thanks for all the good things you do for me." Even if we're not sure that today we believe it. I can almost guarantee that if you told your skin you loved it every day for a month, you'd look and feel better after that month than if you said, "I hate my skin" every day for that month. Try it. Let me know if it worked for you. More tips, tricks, ideas, and ramblings to come.