The Skinny on Skin

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Posted by Judy Moon

Winter is here whether we like or not. It has it’s good and bad, just like anything. There’s nothing like a steaming cup of hot chocolate on a cold day, or snuggling in to watch a movie on a snowy day rocking your favorite sweater.

One of the down sides for sure is dry skin.

I have recently read over and over on various Facebook posts and blog posts about how we don’t need to shower every day and how it is actually bad for you to do so especially in winter.

I couldn’t disagree more with this, in fact it makes me crazy!

My first reaction is what are people washing with – Spic and Span?

First my disclaimer – I am not a dermatologist, skin expert or esthetician. I am speaking from what I have learned, (as a massage therapist, I touch a lot of skin!) and what I have observed from my own experience and my own skin. Clearly if you have skin conditions you need to talk to a doctor, but I think this type of skin care makes sense for most people.

The skin is an organ. Let’s repeat that out loud – “my skin is an organ”

“I need to treat it like that.”  In fact it’s the largest organ of the body. It has three main functions – protection, regulation and sensation.

The skin renews itself about every 30 days. If this dead skin builds up, it can leave a dull, flat even scaly appearance.

Exfoliation is key! You must remove the dry dead skin first. This will also help with the penetration of whatever products you are using. If you moisturize without exfoliating, you are just moisturizing that already dead layer of skin.

How do you exfoliate?

There are lots of ways to do this –

  • Dry Brushing
  • Hot Towel Scrubbing – ditch that nylon scrubbing thing you have in your shower and treat yourself to an old friend – a wash cloth. It is much gentler on the skin and holds the hot water better – the hot water stimulates the pores to open. Rub the warm washcloth in gentle circles all over your body. Guess what – you are also stimulating your lymphatic system – an added bonus!
  • Salt and Sugar Scrubs – once a week I use a lavender sugar scrub for an extra deep exfoliation. There’s tons of DIY recipes and already make products to purchase – I personally love the Lavender Scrub from Trade Joe’s 

All of these stimulating things are doing just that – stimulating the skin to do what it is supposed to do – function, regenerate cells, breathe, produce it’s own natural oils. Wake it up!

What the heck are you washing with?

Now that we have our skin alive and awake and doing it’s job, what are you going to wash it with? That’s a personal choice, but I would suggest using something that doesn’t have a ton of ingredients in it and if it does, can you pronounce them and do you know what they are? Now that your pores are open do you want to absorb those ingredients? I love Copa soaps. I feel clean and fresh after a shower and they smell divine. We sell them at the studio or you can purchase them online. My favorite is the Vetiver.

So, you’ve exfoliated, cleansed and now you need to moisturize.

Again, personal preference. Same rules apply. Read your label and think about what you are putting on the largest organ of your body. I’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth. That’s extreme for sure, but it kind of makes sense. I use coconut oil right from the jar. I bought a cute flip top jar that I transfer it to and I add some rose essential oil to it. But you can literally use it straight from the jar it comes in.

We offer a dry brush treatment that can help get you started with a good skin care regime. We dry brush your whole body and then follow it with a therapeutic massage letting all of the oils soak in to your fresh new skin. You get to take home your brush, instructions and your new soft skin.

Showering every day is bad for you skin? I take a screaming hot shower daily, so I say, I think we have to agree to disagree.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

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Posted by Judy Moon

You wake up, and you notice that itchy, scratchy, sore tickle in your throat. You feel a little fuzzy, congested, you begin sneezing, you start to feel chilled, your body is sore and achy as if you just worked out. That’s right – you’re sick! The cold /flu season is upon us again.

Do I come in for a massage or not? It might make me feel better, right?

Here’s the truth.

The cold and flu are thought to be spread primarily through the droplets that occur in the air when you cough or you sneeze. They can remain in the air or land on surfaces that others may touch. When you enter a massage treatment room, you will be in a small space that usually doesn’t have great ventilation – there aren’t typically lots of windows to let fresh air in. We want a dark, cozy room, right? Not only are you exposing your therapist to the risk of infection, but other people who will be seeking treatment.

Although it may seem comforting to receive a massage while you are experiencing those symptoms, your body is already working hard; your immune system is doing double duty. Massage can be too taxing on the body that is already in fight mode. You may also actually feel worse after the massage.

However, when you are FREE OF SYMPTOMS, massage therapy can help you push that reset button and get back in the groove.

We sometimes ache when we have a cold or flu. Why is that?

According to clearlyexplained.com – One of the main reasons that your body aches when you are sick, like with a cold is that your body’s immune system is producing plenty of anti-bodies. These anti-bodies also produce histamines, which typically dilates (widens) blood vessel near an infection, this allows for more of the body’s defenses to get at the infection.  There are histamine receptors in blood vessels that cause them to dilate. As these chemicals are released into your blood stream they can end up in your muscles or other body parts. Various body systems can have receptors to histamine that can then trigger a pain receptor.

So when you start to feel like you old self again, schedule a massage. You’ve probably been laying around a lot. You might be stiff. Your immune system could use a boost. Some pressure point work in the sinus area would feel divine. You’ve been coughing -those back muscles could use some TLC.

Better yet, schedule massage as a preventative. Massage is great for helping the body stay strong enough to resist the infection even if you are exposed:

  • It increases circulation of blood and lymph- which is immune boosting
  • Decreases stress levels , which makes us less susceptible in the first place
  • Encourages better sleep, which is one of the keys to good health

Be well and don’t forget your vitamin C!