Photo by jayneandd
Alright, thanks for sticking with me till the last episode of “Winter Trilogy”. Let’s briefly go through the journey here together: strongly believing that beauty should first come from inside, I think we should start with eating the right foods that clear up and nourish our skin, and warm up our body; once we know how to take care of our body from the inside, we then move onto taking care of the largest organ on our body – our skin.
When the skin is nourished with the right foods and natural skincare products, we are now going to explore a few additional tips as well as some unique Traditional Chinese Medicine’s teaching also included in the “winter acne skin survival kit” I have prepared to share with you, all for true nourishment and full protection. Let’s hop onto the train and continue our journey. Hope you enjoy the ride!
Get Some Humidity
Photo by Mark Oaksley
If you live in a place where central heating is your source of getting heat, make sure you get a humidifier for your place to avoid drying out your skin. I remember when I first came to Boston and lived in an apartment with central heating, a soaking towel hung in the bathroom could get 100% dried by itself after one or two hours! Imagine the wet towel was the well-nourished skin; whereas the dry and rough one was the hyper-dehydrated flaky skin caused by moisture-sucking central heating. Hmm… I don’t want that to happen to either you or me. So, please remember to use a humidifier when necessary and keep the humidity level between 30% and 50% (a hygrometer can help you do the measurement).
Photo from MartialArtsNomad.com
As mentioned in the last two episodes, winter is the season when we are likely to develop low moods and all kinds of stress, whether it is caused by the weather or by work pressure (because we try to get things done before the year ends). According to The Clear Skin Diet, stress can stimulate our nerve system to cause oil glands to produce more sebum. What’s more, a report in 2001 in Archives of Dermatology revealed an interesting finding that when we are under stress, our skin’s ability to retain water was reduced. Therefore, we see stress not only disturbs us emotionally, but physically as well; and irregular sebum production and loss of skin moisture inevitably lead to poor skin conditions. How do we solve the problem? I have curated some good tips for you below:
Photo by RelaxingMusic
By now, you may have noticed that I am a fan of meditation; and I try to do it every day. This is a great way to relive stress and retain a balanced mind and mood. If you haven’t done so, feel free to visit my latest “Tracy’s Pick of the Week”(News No. 10) to learn more about this scientifically proven practice in fighting anxiety and benefits related to skin and overall health.
Aromatherapy with citrus (e.g. orange essential oil) has been shown to reduce the anxiety level and improve the mood.
Furthermore, stress is naturally associated with fear (often manifested itself as intense urination, which is why when we are scared and nervous, we feel like visiting the bathroom. Isn’t this interesting?!). According to Suzanne Bovenizer, aroma-therapist and massage therapist since 1988, essential oils can help promote “a state of self-acceptance, courage and moral fiber”. The kinds of oil that assist in relieving fear are: chamomile, clary, marjoram, geranium, marjaoram, bergamot, frankincense, neroli, and sandalwood. Beside, Marta Tuchowska, also massage therapist and author of Erase Anxiety: Fight Anxiety with Natural Therapies, recommends lavender, verbena, basil, palmarosa, ylang-ylang, rosemary and mint are also ideal to shake off anxiety. All these oils can be used in combination or alone in an aroma lamp, in a warm bath, with massage oils, or with unscented body lotions.
What does Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Say?
Photo from NiPic
According to TCM, there are six parts in our body that, if protected well, can boost our metabolism, strength our body and fight diseases. Below are six of them:
TCM practitioners believe that slightly massaging our core and bellybutton can be beneficial for the liver, gallbladder, lung and kidney (which needs to be treated with special care especially in the winter, as I already mentioned in the post of “Foods and Nutrition for Acne Skin”), calm our mind and prevent diseases. To massage the core, we simply place one hand on top of the other; massage the area around the bellybutton with a clockwise direction; and breathe naturally.
For those who rarely exercise, it is recommended that, whenever you have free time, your two hands take turns to pat on the lower belly once every second for 20 minutes. This helps boost your metabolism. Besides, this simple exercise may reduce your belly fat and relieve constipation.
TCM believes our ears are connected to our kidney. If we massage our ears often, it can prevent ear frostbite in the season, strengthen the kidney functions and promote longevity as well. To massage our ears, place our index fingers on the inside the tragi and thumbs on the outside of them; then move from inside to outside of the tragi. Do this for about three to five minutes. Also, try massaging our helixes with thumbs and index fingers by moving up and down the helixes.
Photo from National Human Genome Research Institute
Chest massage or slightly patting on our chest can activate thymocyte, which in return strengthens our heart and lung functions. To do this, simply place our right hand on our right chest; massage the body from the right chest all the way to lower left belly; do this back and forth for 50 times; and vice versa. Then place our hand in the middle of the chest and massage that area up and down for another 50 times.
Massaging or slightly patting on the back in the morning and in the evening often can calm the mind, prevent colds and improve immunity.
Like what we do with the back, massaging and slightly patting on the spine can improve digestion.
Additionally, having a foot bath before bedtime is always a good option. It is super helpful for our sleep. According to TCM, there are many acupuncture points at the bottom of our feet; having a foot bath with water temperature between 131 and 158 F (which is 55 to 70 C) can stimulate those points, improve circulation and prevent diseases. Also from personal experience, it can slightly help heal acne marks, too!
By now, you see TCM places a lot of emphasis on how to take care of different body parts to nourish innate organs which we cannot directly see or touch in our daily life, which is an excellent example that reflects one of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s key principles: there is no isolation in the body; instead, TCM views different parts as a section of the system. What does that imply? If we take care of different body parts and innate organs, our face will sooner or later restore natural glow. ; – )
Photo by Mark MacEntee
Woohoo! By now you have graduated from “Winter Trilogy”. I hope you enjoy what I have prepared for you and wish you a warm and nourishing winter. Meanwhile, if you have any tips to share on how you enjoy your winter time and take care of yourself and skin, please share below!
- Dr. Oz Blog
- Huffington Post Healthy Living (Emilie Davidson)
- Huffington Post Style (Simone Kitchens)
- METRO UK
- News Health
- Suzanne Bovenizer
- China Health: take care of different organs: core, ear, chest, spine and back
- China Healh: 3 key principles
- China Health
- The Clear Skin Diet
- Erase Anxiety: Fight Anxiety with Natural Therapies