Skin Cleansing-Five Steps to a Healthier Skin:

12 04 2015

Cleansing is a vital step in your skincare routine. As simple as this may seem, it is true. This means it is important to do it correctly. Good skin cleansing forms a foundation for the rest of your beauty routine and contributes to healthy radiant skin.

The steps listed below will form a good foundation for your skincare routine.

  • Cleanse your skin twice a day:

Ideally you should cleanse your skin in the morning and the evening.

Morning cleansing is necessary to remove your treatment products and night cream from your skin in order to create a clean canvas (your skin) for the application of your day time products.  (We also know that for those of us, who are not morning people, it helps to wake us up)

The evening cleanse removes makeup, perspiration, dirt and your day cream from the skin.

  • Do a double cleanse:

In the evening it is best to perform a double cleanse. People often complain that, despite their best efforts to cleanse their skin with the correct products, that they have more blackheads and congestion on their skin than they would like.

Part of the reason is that even though they are cleansing and using the right product, their methods are not correct. Performing a double cleanse means that you cleanse your skin thoroughly, wash off the cleanser and repeat the process again.

During the day we often apply more products to the skin- moisturiser, sunscreen and make up. In addition, there are the added factors that can congest the skin- perspiration, oil, dirt and pollution.

Performing a double cleanse ensures that you have removed all your products and make up along with any dirt, perspiration and congestion that may be sitting on the skin.

Once again, it is the first step in making sure that your skin is prepped for the products that you are going to apply in the evening so that you get the maximum benefit from them.

  • Use correct methods and techniques

In addition to cleansing twice a day and doing a double cleanse in the evening, make sure that you use the correct methods and techniques. Do the following:

  • If you cleanse your skin when you shower or bath, it should be the first thing you do. Alternatively, do it before you hop in.
  • Make sure the water is warm. Water that is too hot can over stimulate the sebaceous (oil) glands- not desirable if your skin is oily. Or it can aggravate sensitivity and dehydration on the skin.Water that is too cold will not remove the cleanser and dirt as effectively.
  • Massage the cleanser into the skin in small circles. Take a minute or two to do this so that the cleanser can work into the pores and dissolve oil, make up and perspiration on the skin.
  • Don’t forget those hard to reach and awkward creases and crevices on the face. Often, as a skin care therapist, I can see where people don’t pay as much attention to their cleansing as there is more congestion, blackheads and flaky skin in these areas.These tricky places are:
    • The sides of the ears-there are often blackheads here. Because of the little crease of the ear; dirt, make up and dead skin cells accumulate here, along with the area not being cleansed properly.
    • The hairline- not only can products and make up accumulate here, so can hair products- mousse, gel and  balm, which can also contribute to skin breakouts around the perimeter of the face.
    • The creases of the nose, below the lip and around and underneath the jaw line are also require extra attention.

Rinse your cleanser off with your warm water and make sure you get to all those hard to reach places listed above.

Once all the cleanser is off, pat the skin dry with a clean, dry towel. Be gentle.

  • Tone

Toning comes after cleansing and patting the skin dry. Often people say that toning ensures that you get all the remaining dirt off the skin. The truth is by the time you tone your skin, the cotton pad should be clean, then you will know that you have cleansed your skin properly. If there are still traces of dirt, make up or cleanser on the cotton pad, then it means you have not cleansed the skin thoroughly.

Toning should help to restore the skin’s acid mantle back to normal, not finish off the cleaning process.

  • Exfoliate to deep cleanse:

Exfoliating once or twice a week helps to deep cleanse the skin. Exfoliation comes after cleansing and before toning. It helps to remove dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. Doing this means that when you apply products to the skin afterwards, they will have maximum penetration into the skin as they are being absorbed into fresh healthy cells rather than dead skin cells waiting to flake off. This is important because it means you will be getting better absorption of your products.

This proper cleansing routine ensures that your canvas is well cleansed and prepared for the next step. It will go a long way in helping you to get the best benefit and use from your skincare products. This means a healthier, better looking skin.

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Preparing your Skin for the Change of Seasons

1 04 2015

Have you noticed the change of seasons creeping in? Here in the Southern Hemisphere the days are getting shorter and there is a definite chill in the mornings and evenings. Although not as obvious as darker mornings and cooler temperatures, if you pay careful attention you may notice your body giving you subtle signs that the seasons are on the move. Your skin may getting a little drier, allergies may be bothering you and your energy could be changing.

Some will welcome the cooler weather and others may be dreading it. Either way, there are simple steps you can take to prepare your skin for the season change and keep it in tip top condition. Try these 6  tips:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Review your skincare products
  • Supplement with Omegas- a skincare essential
  • Moisturise the skin on your body
  • Moisturise your lips
  • Have a facial

Drink plenty of water

You have heard this mantra many times. There is a reason for that- every cell in your  body requires water to function efficiently and the skin is no exception. It Is easier to drink water and keep your body hydrated in the summer, but it does become more difficult in cooler temperatures when a warm cup of tea or hot chocolate is more appealing.

Keeping your body well hydrated is not only good for your health on many levels, it will also help to maintain the moisture levels in the skin, keep it supple and reduce the likelihood of it drying out.

Review your skincare products 

Many ask if it necessary to change your skincare products to keep your skin stimulated and in good condition. It is not necessary to change your skincare brand but it is a good idea to review your current products and see if anything needs to be adaptedb . In the winter months it may be necessary to use a richer products. For now though, adding a serum, or mask to pep up your skin will see it through to the next season.

Supplement with Omegas- a skincare essential 

You may be aware of how important omega fatty acids are for your heart, brain, joints and other parts of the body. Did you know they are also very important for the skin too? Whether you suffer from dry or oily skin, it needs omegas to improve its health and condition. Omegas reduce inflammation and irritation in the skin and regulate its oil and moisture balance. Unhealthy diets and low fat diets can cause the skin to be deficient in essential fatty acids needed for many vital processes. Taking a supplement of omegas will help to improve the strength and condition of the skin.

Moisturise the skin on your body

In summer you may skip moisturizing your body as it is not necessary and adds to you feeling hot and sticky. As the temperature cools though, it is a good idea to start moisturizing the body and preparing the skin for the drier winter months. If you haven’t been applying body lotion or hand cream, start by doing so every second or third day and increase the frequency as necessary.

Moisturise the lips 

Dry and cracked lips are a common complaint that comes with the cold weather. Prevention is better than cure. Instead of waiting until they get dry, keep them supple and moisturised now. Simply applying any remaining eye cream to your lips morning and evening or running your moisturiser over your lips will help to keep the skin on your lips in puckering up perfection. Of course you could also apply a good quality organic lip care product that is free of petroleum based products.

Have a facial

Season changes are a good time to visit your skincare therapist. Having a facial will help to give your skin a boost and deep cleanse summer grime from your pores. A good skincare therapist will adapt the treatment according to your skin’s needs. It is also a good time to discuss whether you need to make any changes to your skincare routine to improve its condition.

Implementing any of these tips will help to keep the skin healthy and in good condition as we head into the winter months. Of course the more of them you follow the more your skin will thank you with health and vitality.





Finding your Niche Blog

16 09 2011

To be successful with your blog, it is important to choose a niche topic to write about.

 You may have many interests and want to write about many things but if to harness a loyal readership, it is better to have a specific topic that you blog about.  It is important for the following reasons:

  •  You will be able to plan and write for your blog with focus and purpose.
  • This makes it easier for your blog to grow. Things are seldom achieved ambling along. Goals and plans are required to make anything worthwhile happen.
  • It is easier to meet the interest and needs of a specific group of readers. As with life, it is difficult to be all things to all men.
  • Readers will have a specific reason to find you- you are providing information on a specific topic that they are interested in.
  • Search engines will be able to find you more easily.

 Ask yourself some questions to find a niche blog topic:

  •  What do you know about?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What problems can you solve?
  • What does the competition offer?

 What do you know about?

 We all know something about something. It could be related to your work or a hobby that you have.

 People generally enjoy sharing what they know about a topic. Writing about it makes it easier to create content. For you the creation process will be interesting and enjoyable and will probably show in your writing.

  If you show your knowledge in your writing your readers will come to regard you as reliable information expert in that subject.

  •  What are you passionate about?

 Write about something that you are passionate about. It makes the process easier. It is easy to find yourself lost in time when you do something that you are passionate about and you seldom have to motivate yourself to do it.

 If it is something that you are passionate about but don’t know a lot about, that is fine. The process of finding information will be enjoyable. You will be able to relate to your readers more easily too. Solving difficulties you may have had with the topic can provide useful information for your readers.

  •  What problem can you solve?

 One of the main reasons people turn to the internet is to find solutions to problems. You may be able to offer great advice in solving problems in a specific subject.

 If you provide good information and advice, your readers will come to know you as a trustworthy and informative expert to turn to and recommend. This helps to establish reader loyalty.

  •  What does your competition offer?

 Find out what other blogs are saying about your topic of interest. Perhaps there is something they don’t cover or you can offer alternative or better information.

When people use the internet, they usually do so with a purpose. Choosing a niche topic for your blog will make it easier to build its success. You will be able to establish who you are writing for and why. Readers will have a reason to find you as you provide information on a specific topic that they need or are interested in.





Creating Content of Value

16 09 2011

The power of good content cannot be underestimated. People turn to the internet to find information or solve a problem. This means that useful and valuable content is one of the primary factors in making your web writing successful.  Here are some guidelines to stir up your enthusiasm to create good web content:

  • Be an information expert
  • Solve problems
  • Ask questions
  • Be human

Let’s look at each one in more detail:

  • Be an information expert:

 Choose a topic that you are knowledgeable about, or have a keen interest in. Creating content will be easier. For you the creation process will be both interesting and enjoyable and will probably show in your writing.

 Find inspiration in the following ways- think about:

  •  What you know,
  • What you would like to know more about or
  • What information was invaluable to you when you started learning about the topic?

The chances are that people reading your content will have the same needs.

When you deliver quality information you will establish yourself as an expert in your field. Readers will return to your web pages repeatedly as you develop a reputation for being a reliable source of information.

  •  Solve problems, create content

 The other reason people turn to the internet is to find solutions to their problems.

 If you are an expert in a particular field or have a passion for your topic, it will be easy and pleasurable to help readers find solutions to their problems.

 Here are suggestions to help your web users find solutions to their problems:

  •  Look at other websites and blogs and see what questions people are asking. You will see where their needs and difficulties are. You may be able to offer better or alternative solutions.
  • Think of the problems that you have encountered. If you have had them, there is a good chance that someone else has too.
  • Ask colleagues, friends, family members or fellow hobbyists what problems they may have experienced relating to a specific topic.

Think about how grateful you were to someone who helped you solve a problem that you had. Usually you hold them in good esteem for being knowledgeable in that particular subject. If you do the same for your readers you will be helping to establish their respect and loyalty.

  •  Ask questions

 Ask questions of your readers and take the time to read their responses. This is an excellent way to come up with more ideas for your content. It also gives you valuable insight into what information your readers are seeking and it makes it easier to meet their needs.

  •  Share experiences, create a web community

 It is an undeniable fact of life- people need people. If you show yourself as human, readers will be more interested in what you have to say.

 We all like to be able to read about someone else’s experiences or problems, relate to them, empathise with them and learn from them. We are attracted to people who have similar interests or experiences to our own. We also like to share our experiences. If you can encourage interaction with your readers you will develop a sense of community, something they will want to be part of.

 Creating content that is interesting, informative, original and valuable will help you to establish a website or blog that is worthy of the trust and loyalty of its readers. This will be a readership that will return to you again and again.





Writing for the Web and Me

16 09 2011

When I think of my experience of Writing for the Web Course, as silly as it seems, I compare it to be being a contestant on Idols.

For a long time I had been promising myself that I would do something about pursuing my dreams and goals to write. I finally reached the point where it had gone from being a dream, to a hobby, to where I wanted to take it seriously.  So I enrolled, full of hopes and aspirations.

Then I started to think about those contestants on Idols. They were the same as me. They all claim to be passionate about music and wanting to make it an integral part of their lives. Their mothers and boyfriends tell them they can sing like angels. When they get to the judges though their hopes are dashed and everyone realises how deluded they were. ‘What if I am like that?’ I thought to myself.

I made it through my first auditions (assignments). It was a bit of a struggle.  My inner judges weren’t sure if they had made the right decision and gave harsh criticism. As I started to think about and apply the information and advice that I was given, it made sense and I started to enjoy the challenge. I began to find my writer’s voice.

Writing for the Web also reminded me of an Idols performance. The World Wide Web is my stage and my writing is the performance. There is the careful balance and synergy between the technical aspects to make it run smoothly the creative flair I add to make it interesting, unique and fun.

The Idols have just one chance to dazzle their audience with a great performance or else they are voted off. Web Writing is the same. You have 30 seconds to impress your reader or they click you away- forever.

Just like those Idols singers have the immediate gratification of feedback from fans for a job well done; your writing can have the same response. You do not have to wait for one or two people to approve of your ideas before you get to write and publish. You write and interact with your audience directly. The feedback of your readers (or lack of it) tells you immediately how you have done. This makes Web Writing dynamic, exciting and challenging. You can evolve to the demands of your audience doing and sharing what you love. What could be better?





Natural Ways to Deal with Teen Acne: Lifestyle Factors (Part 2)

11 09 2011

Using organic and natural products is becoming an increasing popular way to treat skin and beauty concerns. Did you realise that addressing certain lifestyle factors can improve acne- in a natural, non-invasive way?

This is the second part of a two part post. Yesterday, we looked at how dietary factors could affect acne. Today’s post deals with a few lifestyle factors that can be adressed to improve acne breakouts for teenagers.

Lifestyle factors can make a natural difference to treating acne:

These are:

  • Controlling stress levels
  • Excessive exercise can aggravate acne breakouts
  • Stop picking and keep your hands off

Let’s look at each one in more detail:

  • Controlling stress levels:

 This can be easier said than done. When tests, exams and the demands of life happen stress levels can get out of control.

 Besides the negative effects that stress has on the mind and body, it will also exacerbate breakouts.

 Firstly, the adrenal glands secrete hormones- during stress it is adrenalin and cortisol. However, the adrenal glands also secrete small amounts of oestrogen and testosterone too. This will interfere with the already tenuous balance of hormones ricocheting through the body, which is a major contributor to acne.

 Secondly, the adrenalin and cortisol secreted will lead to more inflammtion and flare ups.

 It is important help your teen find effective ways to deal with their stress. When times of stress are unavoidable, then taking care of other factors that can be controlled, such as diet and drinking more water should become even more important.

  •  Excessive exercise can aggravate acne breakouts

 Exercise is good and important on many levels. It is also a great way of dealing with stress, and is definately to be encouraged in teens. However, excessive amounts of sport or exercise will have a negative effect on the skin.

 Besides sweat and dirt that accumulates on the skin, it produces a stress response in the body and will have the effects mentioned above on a reactive, sensitised skin.

  •  Hands off and no picking:

 Most people know this, few practise it and it becomes the nagging mantra of mothers. Mom’s let your teens read this:

  •  Picking will spread the acne bacteria over the skin, resulting in new pimples and pustules occuring.
  •  Picking often causes the bacteria to pushed further back into the pore causing the pimple to re-occur, sometimes more aggresively, in the same area.
  •  Pimples and pustules will take longer to heal and scarring will be made worse by picking.
  •  Making a concerted effort to keep your hands away from your face and not picking is likely to reduce breakouts by 25%.

 It is impossible not to touch the desks and other surfaces at school and in public places. Undoubtedly, they are not very clean and it does not help the skin if you keep touching it with grubby hands. Besides trying to not touch the skin, make sure you wash your hands regularly throughout the day.  Keep finger nails short. Bacteria and dirt are more likely to accumulate under long nails. If you are a picker, it more difficult to pick at the skin with long nails than with short.

Keep hands away to keep acne at bay.

 These steps are easy to implement, natural techniques that will go a long way to reduce and control acne. In addition they will help the skin to heal faster and prevent scarring.

Picture credits: www.freedigitalphotos.net





Natural Ways to Deal with Teen Acne: Diet

11 09 2011

During puberty, teen acne happens to most of us, it’s never fun or pretty. But there are simple and natural steps you can take to improve the skin’s appearance.

Moms and teens often don’t agree on steps that can be taken to treat pimples, pustules and acne. This a two part post. Below are practical tips that can be easy to implement. They can make a big difference to the skin and are worth trying before using more aggressive treatments such as acne medication and certain types of facial treatments.

Today’s post deals with diet and tomorrow will look at certain lifestyle factors that you may not have realised could be affecting the skin.

A few simple dietary changes will naturally reduce acne breakouts on the skin:

They are:

  • Cut down on sugar
  • Be aware of your milk, dairy and meat intake
  • Drink more water
  • Eat the right kinds of fats

We can look at each of these in more detail:

  • Cut down on sugar to reduce oily skin and acne

 The rapid growth that teenage bodies experience can cause flagging energy levels. This coupled with catapulting hormones often make teens crave sweets, treats and chocolates. There has been alot of debate as to whether sweets and chocolates cause pimples or acne.

 Well the answer is- they do not. (‘Yay!’ I hear them cheering.) But they do aggravate it. Sugar has an inflammatory effect on the body and consuming too much sugar will aggravate the redness and inflammation of the pustules that are present.

 In addition, excess sugar in the diet can make the sebaceous (oil) glands more active. This will make the skin more oily and cause more blackheads and pimples.

 Decrease your intake of sweets, chocolates, biscuits and sweetened drinls as much as you can and reduce it in beverages such as tea and coffee. Try to opt for non- sugar sweetners such as agave, stevia or xylitol if you must have something sweet.

 This is a natural way to reduce the redness and inflammation of a pimples and pustules without having to take medication or use cosmetic products.

  •  Beware of milk, dairy and meat products that can intefere with hormones

It is a good idea to reduce these products in your diet. Wherever possible, change to free range and organic options when they are avaialable. Milk, yoghurt and meat often contain artifcial hormone residues from the way the animals were reared.

As a teen, the hormones are already disrupted. The body has enough to deal with, and it doesn’t need any more hormones in the mix to aggravate the situation further.

  • Drink more water to naturally clear the skin:

 Drinking water has many natural health benefits for the skin and body.

 When it comes to acne and pimples though it has a specific benefit.

 In his book, The Clear Skin Perscription, Dr Nicholas Perricone states: “When one is partially dehydrated, there is an increase in inflammatory chemicals in the cell, resulting in a proinflammatory state. Dehydration also has a dramatic effect on the natural desquamation process of the stratum corneum, a process that is already dysfunctional in acne sufferers.”

 In simple terms, drinking more water will help to cleanse the cells and reduce the redness and inflammation of areas affected by pustules and breakouts. It also means that a well hydrated body will allow the skin to exfoliate normally and naturally. This reduces the formation of blackheads and pustules forming as there is not a build up of dead skin cells in the pores and on the surface of the skin.

Drink more water to naturally clear acne breakouts.
  •  Eat the right kind of essential fats and cut down on bad fats

 Man made fats that are labelled as trans fats or hydrogenated fats are not the healthiest choice for anyone. They are found in biscuits, cakes, sweets, french fries, pies, pastries, take aways and ready made meals. These are often the foods that hungry and busy teenagers reach for.

 Once again they contribute to the inflammatory effects of acne and can also increase the oiliness of the skin. This leads to more blackheads enlarged pores and pimples.

 Our bodies do require Essential Fatty Acids such as omegas 3, 6 and 9. They are good and necessary for people of all skin types and ages.

 In terms of acne skin, essential fatty acids do the following:

  •  Reduce redness and inflammation of skin and pustules.
  • Increase the wound healing potential of the skin-important for clearing up pimples and scarring.
  • Make the skin more resistant to bacterial infections
  • Make the sebum more healthy, so that it does not clog the pores causing blackheads and pimples.
  • Balance the skin’s sebaceous secretions helping to make it less oily in the oily areas and more supple in the dry areas.

 Teenagers are often at risk of essential fatty acid deficiences. They:

  • May eat too much junk food.
  • Girls follow low fat diets to control their weight and this has a negative effect on essential fatty acid levels.
  • Boys who like to go to gym alot or do body building often follow unbalanced low fat diets, which will exacerbate acne.

Healthy sources of essential fatty acids include fatty fish such as salmon, borage seed oil, avocados, nuts, flax seeds and flax seed oil and pumpkin seeds. It is also a good idea to invest in a supplement of essential fatty acids too.

Many people have found that making changes to the diet significantly improves acne skins. These changes are relatively simple and the best part is that they form part of a more natural lifestyle that will improve health too.

Picture Credits: www.freedigitalphotos.net