#292 Pamper Your Skin

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Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.

Dorothy Parker

10 Tips to Help Your Skin Survive Winter

By Steve Edwards

WinterWinter is hard on your skin. Even the healthiest of us have a rough time coping as the days shorten and the thermometer begins to drop, which is why words like dry, chapped, itchy, and flaky are often associated with snow, wind, and cold. Here is a 10-step program to help your skin survive the winter.

  1. HydrateHydrate. This is, by far, the most important thing you can do during the winter. When it's cold, it's hard to drink enough water. For one, you don't get thirsty. But even when you are, drinking cold water can cause your body to revolt, creating a catch-22 that can leave your skin dry and itchy. Our bodies are mainly made up of water. Here are some of the roles that water performs:

    - Regulating body temperature
    - Carrying nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body
    - Moistening oxygen for breathing
    - Protecting and cushioning vital organs
    - Helping convert food into energy
    - Assisting the body to absorb nutrients
    - Removing waste

    That's a tall order of functions; and the organ that's most affected when deprived of water is the largest one, your skin. It's hard to convince yourself that when it's cold you often need as much, if not more, water than you do when it's warm. This is because cold air is drier than warm air. Exacerbating the issue is the fact that artificially heated air is drier than naturally heated air, creating a need to hydrate even more.

    Do keep in mind that water need not be cold, or even just water. You can hydrate with almost any liquid, but most have added ingredients (sugar, caffeine, alcohol, etc.) that will hurt you in other ways. This makes keeping an assortment of herb teas an excellent winter accessory choice.

  2. P90X®Exercise. Most of us work out to keep healthy and/or look good in a bathing suit. If that's all you thought exercise did, welcome to the bonus round. Working out also does wonders for the skin by toning, reducing stress, and increasing circulation. Increased circulation means that your blood can deliver oxygen and nutrients to your hide.

    Exercise also makes you sweat, which flushes toxins out of your system. Additionally, it releases sebum, a mixture of fatty acids, waxes, triglycerides, and cholesterol that acts as the skin's built-in moisturizer. Researchers at Eberhard Karls University in Germany believe that sweat also releases dermacidin, an antibiotic that limits disease-causing bacteria, thus reducing your chances of skin infection. So pop in that P90X®, Turbo Jam®, or Rockin' Body™ video for healthy skin!

  3. MoisturizeMoisturize. Try doing it as soon as you get out of the shower and do your best to make this a ritual. Post-shower, when your natural oils have been washed off, is a vital time for moisturizing. Even if you're pressed for time, taking a minute to add moisturizer to your entire body is worth it, since your skin absorbs it best when it's warm and damp. You don't have to limit this to once a day—your skin would be pressed to get too much lotion—but after a shower is by far the most effective time.

    Try finding products free of fragrance and parabens. Also, don't buy products that contain mineral oil or petroleum. Both of these will clog your pores and can trap sweat and dirt, thus causing acne. For your face, you should also try to use a moisturizer that contains sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 (more on this in #7).

  4. Baking SodaTake hydrating baths. While soap dries your skin, there are ingredients that, added to a bath, will help you hydrate. Baking soda works if your skin is very dry and itchy, but as a precautionary measure, choosing a hydrating bath substance makes more sense. A perusal of any skin care aisle will provide you with myriad options.

  5. Shower less. Soap and water do more than just wash away dirt. Soap removes natural body oils that do more than just protect our skin; soap removes body oils that help us fight off environmental toxins. Our preoccupation with cleanliness can actually have an adverse effect on our health. Not that you shouldn't bathe, but doing it more than once per day is excessive, especially if you're not sweating profusely. And if your skin feels dry and itchy, opting for a moisturizing bath is the prudent call.

  6. ActiVit®Take your vitamins. Vitamins and minerals do all kinds of things for your skin. Zinc and protein speed healing and reconstruct damaged tissue, as does vitamin C, by aiding the production of collagen—the protein-building blocks vital to all your connective tissue. Vitamin E helps with circulation, which flushes out toxins. Both C and E deliver antioxidants, which are believed to fight against sun damage, smoke, and the dreaded hole in the ozone layer, although they are by no means a substitute for sun block and a good hat. To ensure you get all the vital nutrients you need every day, it's a good idea to take a premium multivitamin like ActiVit®, which includes 200 percent of your daily value (DV) of vitamin C and 100 percent your DV of vitamin E.

    Fatty acid supplementation, like fish oil, also helps ensure that your nutritional profile is strong and ready to combat the evils of winter (Core Omega-3™ is a great way to meet your fish oil needs).

  7. SunscreenUse sunscreen. Most of us are conditioned to add sunscreen while skiing or going to the beach, but daily sunscreen use on your face and neck should be practiced. Many facial moisturizers have sunscreen as an ingredient. Because they are more expensive, it makes economical sense to have two bottles of moisturizer, one for your face and neck, and one for the rest of your body.

    Make sure your sunscreen is broad-spectrum in addition to having a high SPF. It should protect against both UVB rays, which cause superficial sunburn and skin discoloration, and UVA rays, which penetrate deeper into the skin, accelerating aging and causing skin cancer. Make sure you don't forget your ears and the back of your neck when applying sunscreen as they are prime real estate for skin cancer. Don't forget your lips, either—try to use a lip balm with an SPF 15 or higher to avoid drying and burning. The stuff's cheap, so keep a tube in your car, at your desk, at home, etc.

  8. FruitEat fruit. All the damaging effects of cold, dry air create free radicals—nasty little oxidized molecules that are believed to cause tissue damage at the cellular level. Among other things, free radicals contribute to the development of cancer. The best way to neutralize them is with antioxidants, like the ones you get from many fruits and vegetables, including oranges, berries, leafy greens, and beets. You'll also find antioxidants in green tea and some in tasty items like chocolate. But fruit, which is harder to find during the winter, is the best natural source of antioxidants and has a number of other hydration and health effects to help keep winter's ill nature at bay.

  9. HumidifierHumidify. When Mother Nature isn't cooperating, it can make sense to use man-made solutions. Humidifiers come in all shapes, sizes, effective ranges, and prices. From the poor man's solution of boiling a large pot of water to highfalutin units that can make life in an igloo mimic living in the Amazon jungle, the principle is the same: to add moisture into a dry environment.

  10. Layered ClothesSkin-friendly couture. Cottons, silks, and other skin-friendly fabrics that glide over your skin can help lessen the irritation of winter. Unfortunately, many traditional fabrics that keep you warm can also make you feel like you're wearing a Brillo pad when the northern winds begin to blow. When you can, layer with something soft as a base.

Related Articles
"Should You Drink Bottled Water?"
"12 Teas to Brew Up Better Health"
"6 Ways to Keep Clean While You Get Lean"
"Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin"

Steve EdwardsIf you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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4 Tips to Spice Up Your Workouts

By Denis Faye

Power 90®Once upon a workout mat, there was a princess who bought Power 90® to get fit. She loved it. She got fit, but not fit enough. So she did it again—and got even fitter. Still, she decided she needed one more round. But there was a problem. After looking at Tony Horton's grinning mug for 6 months straight (excluding her rest week, of course), she wanted to sock his lights out. She was so sick of the same workout, over and over, that she thought she was going to go nuts.

After looking at Tony or Debbie or any Beachbody trainer for the 180th time, it wouldn't be surprising to think, "Gee, it's just not working out between us. The magic is gone." Well, prepare yourself to bring some zing back into your relationship. It's easy to make doing the same old workout every day fun again. Here are four how-to tips.

  1. MusicChange your tune. By now, you probably don't need Debbie Siebers to remind you to lift your head during reverse crunches. You've done them enough times! You know how to do them, thank you very much! So turn down the volume on your television and turn up the volume on your favorite mix CD. Nothing motivates you to work out like great tunes.

    If you're stumped as to what to play, check out the Message Boards. Plenty of people there will be happy to share their playlists with you.

  2. Peer WorkoutInvite a friend. Now that you and Chalene Johnson have reached this stage in your relationship, maybe it's time to start seeing other people. Misery loves company, so pull your significant other off the couch and get him or her Turbo Jamming. If they aren't game, try a neighbor, or the mail carrier.

    In the rare event that you can't find someone to Push Play with, check out our FREE online virtual gym, WOWY® (Work Out With You). It's free to join and a great place to find other exercisers who are willing to work out with you across cyberland and talk results afterward.

  3. Outdoor WorkoutA change of scenery. Is a 72-inch plasma screen TV too heavy to move? Try popping your DVD in your laptop. Heck, that way, you could even work out outside. Nothing like fresh air to recharge those pumpin' red blood cells! Or, make it a personal goal to exercise in every room in the house—and make sure to videotape yourself trying to do three-way lunges with the two-kick option in the downstairs bathroom.

  4. Go OnlineDo the talking. This one is a Message Boards favorite. Have you had enough of Shaun T's upbeat enthusiasm? Let him know! Yell at the screen. Get that rage out. Don't worry about hurting his feelings because, well, you know it's just a television, right?

    Better still, log on to one of our online chats and talk with our instructors live. You might have to practice a little more decorum and a little less primal screaming, but they'll probably be able to offer you tips and tricks that will breathe new life into an old workout.

Related Articles:
"6 Simple Solutions for a Sexier Seat"
"What's Your Fitness Personality?"
"8 Foods to Boost Your Metabolism"
"10 Tips from the Best of the Boards"

Denis Faye If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Test Your Skin IQ!

By Monica Gomez

True or False?

  1. ToothpasteFalse: Toothpaste effectively treats acne. Toothpastes contain sodium monofluorophosphate—or, plainly put, some chemical form of fluoride. While fluoride helps protect your teeth against tooth decay and works with saliva to protect tooth enamel from plaque and sugar, it can be slightly less helpful to your skin. Fluoride can actually irritate or burn the skin as well as provoke skin allergies. It's true that other ingredients in toothpaste, like hydrated silica, sorbitol, alumina, and glycerin, may have the potential to combat acne. In fact, silica and types of aluminum are used to treat acne via dermabrasive products. However, in toothpaste, these ingredients are too minimal to make an effective impact or to profoundly exfoliate the skin. Yes, the placebo effect may be hard to argue with, but keep in mind that toothpaste is designed to protect your teeth, not your skin.

  2. CucumberTrue: Cucumbers do not contain inherent properties that combat under-eye puffiness. Freshly cut, cool cucumber slices are commonly used to reduce under-eye puffiness. Although it is believed that cucumber flesh can reduce swelling and revitalize skin, or that some inherent property in the cucumber is responsible for this, cucumber is over 90 percent water and the remainder is mostly inert fiber that provides no benefits for your skin. So what it is about cucumbers that make them effective for treating the tired-eye look? The reason behind that is their cool temperature. You store cucumbers in your refrigerator—hence their cool temperature. The cold temperature is what is responsible for reducing the swelling under your eyes (by constricting blood vessels and reducing the inflow of fluid into soft tissues). The same results can be obtained with a washcloth dipped in cold water.

  3. SunscreenFalse: SPF 30 sunscreen is 20 percent more effective than SPF 15 sunscreen. Actually, SPF 30 sunscreen is only 2 percent more effective than SPF 15 sunscreen. The stronger "dosage" or SPF doesn't necessarily afford you more time in the sun. SPF 15-rated products block approximately 94 percent of UV rays while SPF-30 rated products block about 96 percent of UV rays (SPF 40-rated products block around 97 percent). The difference is minimal. What is important is that you use products that are at least an SPF-15 and are "broad-spectrum," which means that they'll protect your skin against UVB and UVA rays (for more on the effects of these rays, read Steve's article above). Look for the ingredient Parsol 1789 (avobenzone) for solid coverage. It is recommended that you apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before exposure and that you reapply every 2 hours—regardless of whether or not you've gotten wet.

  4. CelluliteFalse: Cellulite only affects overweight women and men. Cellulite can affect any woman, regardless of weight, and it is also a problem that a fewer number of men experience. Cellulite is a form of fat—malformed, trapped fat located in the first subcutaneous layer of the skin. Unfortunately, it is highly resistant to exercise and dieting. This resistant nature is due to how cellulite fat is trapped (it's trapped in a mesh of fibrous connective tissue). Also, it's not just limited to the thighs and buttocks; cellulite can occur in the upper arms, the back of the neck, and the stomach. While there is no known "cure" for cellulite, methods to combat this stubborn condition range from expensive creams to deep mechanical massages.

  5. SunTrue: Twenty minutes of exposure to a tanning bed is equivalent to spending 4 hours in the sun. Tanning beds may increase your risk of skin cancer. That's because they give out UVA rays, "which penetrate deeper into the skin [than UVB rays], accelerating aging and causing skin cancer" (refer to Steve's article for more on this). UVA rays are also know to weaken the immune system. It is a misconception that a tan is healthy and that it protects you from sunburn. A tan on a light-complected person acts only as an SPF 4 sunscreen, approximately. A tan is actually the result of the body defending itself against further damage from UV radiation. And sunburns will increase the risk of skin cancer, wrinkles, freckles, and leathery skin later in life.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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