Skin Deep

Face the facts: Proper skin care essential

By Deb Dittner

As you prepare for the warmer temperatures of spring and the sun shining down upon your face, you must also prepare for skin care challenges.

With temperature change and increased sunlight, skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, and eczema can flare due to an increase in oil production and sweat.

And then you also have seasonal allergies that can occur when plants begin to grow, causing allergens and the release of pollen into the air.

This can trigger a histamine reaction showing itself as rosacea, rashes, and generalized irritation. During winter months when hibernation occurs for animals, our oil production as well as hair and nail growth decreases, only to be awakened come spring.

So how do you make variations in your skin care routine to help alleviate these problems?

A variety of small and simple changes in your diet and skin care procedures will help.

— One of the most important strategies is proper hydration.

Pure filtered water helps to hydrate from the inside out. Change your moisturizer from the heavy winter types to a lighter, calming moisturizer that will hydrate the skin and provide a layer of protection from irritants and pollution.

— Springtime also brings an increase in much needed sun exposure.

Protection in the form of sunscreen is important but must be chosen wisely. It must be void of chemicals that can cause irritation and other damage.

Mineral Sunscreen Lotion by Young Living comes in 10 and 50 sun-protection factors and is free of harmful chemicals. Badger Sunscreen is another good brand. When choosing a sunscreen, look for non-irritating and hypoallergenic.

To decrease the effects of sun damage, consider using a vitamin C-rich facial mask approximately once per week. Vitamin C provides a protective anti-oxidant barrier, assists in sunscreen protection, and decreases sun-induced damage.

Another product to repair and soothe skin irritation is using a manuka honey mask. This will calm and restore the skin while providing antibacterial properties.

A yogurt mask is another great treat for the skin, allowing for healing to occur. Allow these masks to sit on the skin for approximately 15 minutes then rinse with warm water.

In spring, you also begin opening the windows to let in the fresh, crisp air along with pollens and other irritants that can cause puffiness, redness, and dry patches.

An air purifier helps to rid the home of pollens and accumulating dust, and is especially useful in the bedroom.

A variety of houseplants can also provide a natural purification of indoor air quality. Some plants I love to incorporate are snake plants (also known as mother-in-law tongue), peace lily, English ivy, and the broadleaf lady palm, to name a few.

And of course, you need to eat whole nutrient-dense foods, including greens (kale, collards, mustard greens and dandelion greens) slightly steamed as these will aid in detoxifying the liver, again nourishing from the inside out.

• Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner and health consultant. Her mission is to transform as many individuals as possible through nutrition and lifestyle changes. For more information, check out her website at www.debdittner.com or contact her at 518-596-8565.

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