With winter slowly ebbing away, it's high time to think about the state of our bodies, our skin in particular. A blink in the mirror at our post-winter pasty faces and it's clear that we could do with some natural skincare tips for spring to get us into shape for bearing all in the summer ahead. There's nothing like the first rays of spring sunshine to show skin's fault lines.
After months of being slathered in make-up and heavy creams and exposed to moisture-wicking central heating, not to mention suffering a lack of sunlight with its Vitamin D-inducing properties, our bodies face a checklist of maintenance to get done before full exposure on holiday. It's best to plan a skin and overall body spring clean now to ensure we're not spending those precious holiday hours hidden away in a bathroom, however plush and five star a view of the Amalfi Coast or Aegean it has.
Here are 5 easy, natural skincare tips for spring to slough off the sluggishness of winter and prime our skin for the summer ahead. All effortless to implement and virtually cost free.
If winter months have seen too much caffeine and alcohol, one drunk to warm winter days and the other to cheer us on dark nights, it's time to reduce the intake of both and replace with pure water.
We don't need to down 3 litres of water a day, but certainly a good three large, healthy, glassfuls a day plus some cleansing herbal teas and infusions can do wonders for plumping the skin. If you thought skin moisturizing came only from the outside, you're wrong.
While skin is permeable to varying extents depending on what is lathered on it, our skin's own microbiome and environmental factors where we live in, our skin regenerates from bottom up. The new cells formed within our skin's deepest layer (basal layer or 'stratum germinativum') need nutrients in order to multiply, go forth and move up to create fresh new skin. The whole process takes around a month on average though shorter and longer time spans depending on your age.
So, hydration from within is one of the simplest and most effective ways to get some zest for life into sallow pallid skin and if you start now, you've easily two months to summer holidays before bearing all.
With January's New Year's Resolutions long gone, our plans to exercise will no doubt have gone on the back burner for even the best of us. If you can make time, three times a week, to do around 20-30 minutes of brisk(er) exercise you'll be helping your largest organ - your skin - substantially.
Exercise increases the blood flow to even the most outlying capillaries, whose job it is to carry oxygen and nutrients to the cells, including skin cells. Not only will you have a rosy glow from the exercise, you'll be ensuring your neglected skin is being revitalised.
Even setting a small goal like walking a metro stop further or taking the stairs at work at a jog can be a start to an spring into summer exercise plan. Just start now, and don't leave it til you're feeling the sand between your toes.
3. Go Nude!By this I mean let your skin feel the breeze and breathe, and give it an airing after possibly months of overly hot-housed heated homes and wadges of thick duvets. This is the most tantilising part of your spring clean skin regime and also the most risky and risque'. It's as if our bodies have been in a closet all winter.
The feet, neck, shoulders and arms are the first areas to be exposed and all will be sensitive to those first rays. Be aware that if you're grabbing a break outside, those spring sunrays are powerful and can scorch your long underexposed and sensitive décolleté very fast. Prepare your skin for that. Keep a natural fibre scarf to hand as a cover up and do put on some reliable SFP (at least factor 30) sunscreen.
Also, give your skin a make-up break, even if it's only one day a week at the weekend. Skin's pores and hair follicles are there for a reason - to let your skin eliminate toxins and to allow your sebaceous glands to produce sebum (the body's own 'oil' and natural moisturizer). It's unnatural for skin to be continually clogged up. At Olentium, we are advocates of skincare not skin slathering.
If you coincide that make-up-free day with some exercise, your face should glow anyway and you'll be quickening the pace of the skin's functions as a waste eliminator. If it's warm enough, sleep nude a few times a week too - the best way for skin to do its repair and regenerating is overnight and this is best done up against natural fibres like cotton, linen or silk.
4. Tip-top Toes
We're not anywhere near ready to talk about pedicures and varnish (remember, we're at the maintenance stage still). The prettying up comes later. For now, we need your feet to remember way back to when you were a toddler learning to walk and when you used every single individual toe to curl and grip as you made your first steps.
The best exercise for feet is walking barefoot on sand. Remember how weird it feels to try on those first summer sandals at the shoe store peeling your pinkies out of knee-high boot to try them on? Do you want to give your toes and feet total freedom or just parole for summer? Sure, we can't leave off shoes all year round, but you can do some tip-top toe exercises 12 months of the year anywhere, on the beach or lounge floor.
- First, stand up straight, head up and arms by your side relaxed, on a comfy, non-slip surface. If need be stand at right angles to a wall and support yourself with an outstretched arm with your palm on the wall.
- Then, do some walking on the spot: rise onto the ball of one foot, while keeping the other foot's heel down. Bob up and down on alternate feet for around 20 times.
- Next, with both feet flat on the floor, rock back on your heels and stretch your toes upwards and outwards. Then lean forwards with feet flat down (as much as you can without falling!). Again, repeat around 20 times.
- Now, raise one leg straight off the floor at around 30 degrees in front. Simply point and stretch the foot forward and back to exercise the ankle. Do this around 20 times and then change leg and foot and repeat.
We rarely exercise foot muscles but this routine will be the nearest you can come to walking barefoot on sand, which is the ultimate massage and exercise for feet. Come beach time, you'll be walking tall.
5. Buy Swimwear & a Body Brush
We've all been in the mirrored horror of trying on new swimwear against lily white and sometimes less than flattering flesh; caught like rabbits in the headlights. It's horrendous.
To avoid total swimwear meltdown, I'd recommend something counter intuitive: buy your swimwear as early on in the year as you can, almost as soon as it hits the stores.
Why? Well, not only will you have more choice and beat the crowds, but working towards wearing your swim gear will be a huge impetus to implementing the skincare points above sooner rather than later, or the night before your summer holiday.
Buy also a dry body brush. Body brushing can stimulate the skin cells helping remove the dead upper layer of dry (and probably scaly-looking) winter skin. Let those new skin cells glow. Here's some good advice on what brush to buy and how to body brush beneficially. Don't go mad and scrub hard; do things gently.
5 effective, easy natural skincare tips for getting yourself on the road to beautiful skin for summer months ahead and year-round wellness.