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In honor of the winter season and New Year, let's take a little time to nourish ourselves. The skin is the largest organ and elimination system of the body, and everything applied to your skin is absorbed into the body via the blood stream. Similar to eating, what's in your lotions and oils matter.

I don't know about you, but my Florida humidity-accustomed skin dries out like an alligator in the colder months. Try a few (or all) of these daily rituals to hydrate, cleanse, detoxify and nourish your skin from head to toe:

1. Stay hydrated. 

Water is essential to life as we know it. Aim to drink the equivalent to half your body's weight in ounces of pure, filtered water. Get a reusable water bottle that you can refill and take everywhere. Yes, it may mean extra bathroom breaks, but after some consistency your body will adjust to a new level of hydration. Bonus: drinking lots of water flushes out toxins naturally and can assist in weight loss.

2. Eat (and drink) more produce. 

Fruits and veggies are nature's way of replenishing our bodies with nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It's only natural that produce contributes to our skin regeneration process. While it's recommended to get 6-8 servings of produce per day, it can prove to be a challenge if you don't plan accordingly and keep your kitchen stocked. A few ways to sneak more fruits and veggies into your diet:
  • Sign up for a local CSA or Co-Op and pickup produce boxes or have them delivered to your door. Each week you'll be able to try new produce and get creative with recipes at home. I recently tried Nature's Garden Delivered (only available in Georgia and Arizona), a produce delivery service that allows box selection to be customized. Plus I was able to request only local and organic items. Very cool service!
  • Green smoothies are super easy to make. Add a handful of any leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, lettuce) to your regular smoothie and pack in the produce to break your fast, or enjoy as a snack anytime. Here are some of my recipes to get you started.
  • A vegetable-based soup on a winter day is comforting for the soul. Pour yourself a thermos and lunch is made. A few soups from the blog. I need to make more!
  • Prepare your produce for the week each Sunday. Take a few minutes to rinse, chop and store fresh fruits and veggies, to create a personal produce tray if you will. This makes it easy to grab for whipping up quick meals, or pack snack size portions for when you're on the go.

3. Body brush daily. 

This is the fastest and most effective way to remove dead skin cells and breathe some life back into your winter skin. It only takes a few minutes to complete the brushing sequence and you'll feel incredible. While lightly exfoliating, body brushing also detoxifies, improves circulation and tightens the skin...plus a lot more! For details, read these previous posts (some of the most popular on the blog): Benefits of Body Brushing and Benefits of Face Brushing

4. Take warm (not hot) showers and apply moisturizer/sunscreen. 

In the winter, it's best to use warm water when bathing since hot water has a tendency to dry out the skin. As soon as you step out of the shower, apply a good moisturizer or body oil from your face to your toes. In my experience, oil-based products tend to have more of a lasting effect in the colder months. One of my favorites is the Skin Saver Series, which includes an oil for the face and one for the body. Reapply as needed throughout the day. As always, try to use products free of parabens and other chemicals, many of which disrupt the body's chemistry via hormones and don't do anything for our beauty. Oh, and don't forget the sunscreen before heading outside!

5. Sweat it out. 

Perspiration is surprisingly helpful in replenishing the skin. When you sweat the body and skin are working to eliminate impurities, including your dead skin cells. Once dead skin has been removed, the skin is busy regenerating and as new skin cells replace the old the skin's overall tone, texture, elasticity and color improves. Continue sweating and the skin continues repair and improve. Consistency is key since the skin will slowly revert back to its prior condition if sweating (or body brushing) stops. Practice any workout you like, just do it regularly and don't stop until you break a sweat. A few of my favorites:
  • Take a spa day...or four. Let yourself melt in a far infrared sauna (or any sauna you can find). A few sweat sessions per week and your body with seriously thank you.
  • Try a Bikram hot yoga class. Close your eyes and pretend like it's summer while you sweat it all away. Each Bikram class is about 90-minutes in length and goes through a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. No matter where you practice Bikram, you'll be able to follow the flow of the class. Bring an extra towel and be sure to stay hydrated!

Here's to a healthy and glowing New Year!

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