Archive for the ‘Beauty Sleep’ Category
Skin cells regenerate completely over the course of about six weeks. I love knowing that nature’s never ending cycle gives us so many opportunities to begin again. Starting over—re-establishing skin’s holistic health from the foundation up—is a great gift to ourselves. And just think of how your complexion will glow in late February! In sync with this season of renewal, I’m offering some of my favorite skin-reviving tips for the new year. We hope that these simple, foundational habits will help usher in a bright and hopeful new year. The Big Picture: Take a moment to reconsider your routine—how are your habits nurturing your skin, and where is your regimen missing the mark? Perhaps you need a makeup refresher, switching to preservative-free, mineral-based products. Trust yourself to know what your skin needs most right now, whether more daytime protection (from both the sun and toxins), or nighttime replenishment. Or both! Power Up Breakfast: While many of us eat lunch, and often dinner, away from home, breakfast offers a great chance to revive skin with the essential fatty acids it craves, especially in wintertime. For those who love juicing and smoothies, consider adding coconut water or coconut milk to your blend, or some hemp seed or flax—all so fantastically rich in omega fats. Go for eggs and avocado, or find a way to bring almonds or anti-oxidant rich pomegranate seeds into your morning meal. Reach for olive oil instead of butter. Trade green tea for coffee. Circulate Freely: Add circulation-enhancing yoga poses to any fitness regimen—including downward dog, forward bends and inversions—flushing out toxins and bringing an instant glow to the complexion. Mid-Day Restoration: That little window of time between one thing and the next can be a delight, if you carve even just a few minutes to refresh the complexion with a quick treatment masque. Close your eyes for a moment and put your feet up. Alternately, carry one of our take-along sized flower waters in your purse, for replenishment on-the-go. Prettify Your Beauty Zone: The time you take to care for skin will be so much more fulfilling when blessed with your intentions. If possible, invite natural elements into the place where you care for skin—a seashell, a candle, a beautiful stone, a flower in a vase, or a potted medicinal plant, like rosemary. Dust off that shelf or your dressing table, and edit out the products that are no longer working for you. Fresh Start: Of course, nothing supports skin’s renewal like a holistic facial. If you can, please come visit us in West Palm Beach. Otherwise, try an at-home facial treatment, exfoliating with Epi-Peel, to clear away dead skin cells, and replenishing skin with our Restorative Radiance Masque. Nighttime Nourishment: Think of winter as a seed time of year, when things are growing out of sight, in the dark and under the surface. To foster that renewal, be sure to provide skin with ample nutrients at night (it’s not a time to skimp on your favorite crème!). Similarly, give yourself all the deep sleep you need, taking advantage of every opportunity to energize and heal.
Happily, at the Spa we work surrounded by candles, and it’s such a luxury to absorb their warm, flickering and friendly light. Candles are soft on the eyes and cast a loving glow, while consistently clearing and cleansing the energetic fields around us and reminding us of our truest intentions. But I also love to light candles at home—they literally rekindle my inner flame, and soothing candlelight is so helpful to meditation, softening the edges both literally and figuratively, and inviting an easy tranquility that supports introspection. It’s lovely to find a quiet space where you simply sit in solitude for a moment or two, perhaps surrounding your candle with objects that resonate for you, from nature, or from your life. (Choosing a toxin-free beeswax candle, rather than one made from petroleum-based paraffin, is best.) The ancient practice of yogic candle gazing, or Trakata—fixing the eyes on a candle for some length of time, then, with eyes closed, visualizing the flame at the brow’s center—opens and cleanses the “third eye,” at the pineal gland, our seat of intuition, bolstering focus and concentration, bringing clarity and releasing stress. In the morning, you might light a candle while you perform your beauty ritual, or do your yoga routine, warming the heart. During the day, you might keep a candle on your desk, bringing focus and intention to your work. And, of course, nothing is sweeter than dinner by candlelight. At the day’s end, that amber light has the added benefit of preparing the body for rest. Our circadian rhythms are hugely influenced by our exposure to light, as the eyes connect to the rest of the neurological network via the hypothalamus, regulating sleep cycles and hormonal fluctuations. Lighting a candle before bedtime is very effective. Our connection to the warmth of fire at that moment is visceral and ancient. All that power in one small flame! As the holiday season grows near, and as we find ourselves surrounded by this symbol of hope, celebration and prayer, let’s find creative new ways to usher candlelight into our lives wherever and whenever we can.
Slipping into a new season provides a great opportunity to change rhythms. If your summer was dreamy and loose, transitioning to fall might mean a return to structure—and to good sleeping habits, one of the most fundamental paths to healing body, mind, spirit and skin. We all know the telltale signs of a sleepless night—the dark circles and the dullness—but new scientific studies show that sleep deprivation effects every aspect of wellness, from cardiac health to brain function. Of course, sleep loss also increases signs of aging—the fine lines, uneven tone and reduced elasticity. When we sleep, our cells work to undo the environmental damage of the day, making deep repairs at the foundation, and making sleep radically important for the skin. During sleep, collagen destroying cortisol levels are at their lowest, while growth hormones prolactin and melatonin, as well as anti-inflammatory beta-endorphins, are at their highest. At the same time, skin is at its most vulnerable at night, with its ability to retain moisture greatly decreased, making a carefully chosen night cream essential. During this prime-healing span, when absorption is also optimal, skin needs rich nutrients, as well as protection against further moisture loss. But while there are a handful of incredible formulas available to support health and healing, nothing can replicate the benefits of a solid eight hours of rest—yes, eight! Nothing beats sleep. I like to begin my evening ritual by cleansing my skin, reflecting on my day, gearing down with gentle intent. Another useful suggestion made by sleep experts is to turn off electronic devices a full 90 minutes before going to bed, switching over to reading instead. Another is keeping a consistent bedtime. If you think of it, constantly altering your bedtime or waking time is like being continually jet-lagged. If you put your heart into it and commit to a new sleeping plan—even just for a month—I think you’ll agree that the body simply loves this so-simple luxury. Down time is actually our primetime, re-balancing everything you need to meet each day with the full force of your spirit. Sleep tight!