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Skin time - you time

By: By Judy Davie and Rae Williams - Green Living Cosmetics Pty Ltd

This holiday season I propose you take some time to appreciate the important person in your life - yourself! It's not selfish, it's sensible because when you're not good what effect do you have on those you love? It's easy to get caught up in the holiday rush with endless chores and social engagements where you wind up an exhausted emotional wreck by the time the New Year starts.

I challenge you to shift your focus and value, not only those around you, but yourself. It's an indulgent time so perhaps you should indulge on yourself and stock up on some food staples for your body and your skin!

At this time of year, we tend to consume a lot more food and alcohol plus we subject our bodies to extremes in heat, off-set by fans and air conditioning. Add to that the extra-long list of tasks that can stress the most resilient of people and our bodies enter a battle against damaging free radicals produced when we're under the pump.

Nature's best defence to all of this (other than a damn good rest) is antioxidants. Plants produce them to protect themselves against harsh growing conditions and we are the benefactors when we eat the plants - or use the extracts on our skin and hair.

The other day I was coaching an Indian woman who'd lost her leg in a train accident in India. Today, she lives in Australia and many years after the accident, two children later, and a full time sedentary job, she was upset because she'd gained so much weight. We talked about the reasons why people eat. When food is scarce, as it is for many in India, people eat what they can afford for energy to survive. Here in Australia where most of us are blessed with an abundance of food, we have the opportunity to eat for optimum performance.

Optimum performance is a diet rich in minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients (those from plants) with a certain amount of energy (around 8,700 kJ) which enables you to maintain a fighting fit range. As you might imagine my advice was to reduce the amount of carbohydrates in her diet, change her choice of carbohydrates to wholegrain, low GI plant food, increase protein, drink more water, and most importantly, eat more fresh vegetables of the non-starchy variety.

The best skin care advice is quite similar to my body care advice. Use the best that nature can offer, from fresh plant food bursting with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. And just like food, opting for organic can ensure you're not overloading on chemicals. Working from the inside out and outside in, pure organic plant food can protect, hydrate, repair and rejuvenate both your body and skin.

Vitamin C from strawberries, rhubarb, kale and leafy greens can repair cells, strengthen collagen and blast free radicals out of our life. Rosehip with its powerful Vitamin C and E antioxidant blend helps to smooth the skin, while Aloe Vera, with B, C, and vitamin E, is believed to have a calming anti-inflammatory effects on the gut and pollutant protective properties on the skin. Stone Crop from the same succulent family as Aloe Vera can heal, hydrate and brighten skin.

Our skin does tend to be the visual litmus test to how well we're surviving the silly season and inflammation, boating, and random skin breakouts are tell take signs of excessive living. Topical plant skin treatments with anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-septic ingredients such as Clary Sage Oil, Tea Tree Oil and Ylang Ylang may provide some short term benefits to help you through the holidays looking as good as possible, provided you restore your healthy living habits when the partying is over.

Personal plant skincare may seem an extravagant indulgence, but I rather see it as a personal necessity when you're up against it. Applying it can be one of these "deep breath relief moments of me time" than many of us seldom get. Those few moments before you climb into bed when the day is over and stretched in front of you are a good (if you're lucky) 8 hours to lie horizontally, close your eyes and check out for the day. And in that time, while you sleep your skin is being looked after too.

Happy holidays!


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