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Time-tested advice from Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., CNS, can make our winter beauty rituals that much easier because her tips are a distillation of both wisdom and experience. Most of her recommendations are really simple and easy to implement, like her advice to take up to 25,000 IU of vitamin A (“the skin vitamin”) for guaranteed flawless skin, shiny hair and hard nails.
Dryness, redness, and the accentuation of wrinkles are common skin complaints in winter. Cold weather, less sunlight and the lack of fresh, antioxidant rich produce on our dinner plates take a toll. When the skin’s DNA and the membrane of cells become damaged, the complexion can lose firmness and tone. Winter conditions require special avoidance of lifestyle habits that precipitate these skin conditions. Top wrinkle promoters are: smoking, alcohol and caffeine (which dry the skin), low protein or fat-free diets, environmental pollution, toxic chemical stressors, lack of exercise needed for oxygenation of tissues, habitual frowning and squinting, and even over-the-counter drugs, such as aspirin, that rob us of vital nutrients.
1. Remember that the sun is your friend for twenty minutes, three times a week before 10 A.M. and after 3 P.M.
2. If you do choose broad spectrum sunscreens and lip balms, look for products that contain a physical, not chemical block, like zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Whatever you do, avoid sunscreens containing toxic benzophenone. One safe and effective natural option is 3rd Rock Sunblock (save 20% off with this link).
3. Drink adequate water to keep skin cells well-hydrated. I like the ten minute rule: 2 ounces of water every ten minutes to continually keep hydrated.
4. Take plenty of antioxidants which protect against free radical damage. Best antioxidants for the skin include: grape seed extract, vitamin E and the powerful bioflavonoid Pycnogenol, all of which enhance collagen and elastin, proteins that keeps the skin firm and toned. Don’t forget lycopene, a superior antioxidant found in the pigment of tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon. It provides protection against both UVA and UVB sun damage. Blueberries have the highest antioxidant properties of all fruits.
5. Vitamin C is especially important for stabilizing collagen in the skin. UNI KEY’s Time-C releases 1,000 mg of vitamin C over 4-6 hours. It is buffered with magnesium and lysine to prevent stomach upset and optimize acid-free absorption and utilization.
5. The B vitamins are critical for helping the body repair environmental skin damage. Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) helps prevent wrinkles and premature aging because it encourages the production of hormones, including cortisone, necessary for silky skin. Equally important is biotin, part of the B complex and found in egg yolk, liver, and yeast.
6. Get your daily essential fatty acids which help stabilize hormones and mobilize calcium into the skin for resilience. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) provides stellar skin protection by helping to moisturize internally. GLA-90, with cold pressed black currant seed oil, provides top-notch skin protection.
7. Avoid over-washing the skin in winter and use only natural soaps and cleansers. Especially avoid any skin products containing petrochemicals, including: petrolatum, mineral oil, solvents, artificial colors and synthetic fragrances. These infiltrate the skin with toxins known as xenoestrogens, dangerous endocrine disruptors which mime our natural hormones and confuse functions of the body. About three quarters of the skin products on the market today contain xenoestrogens and even heavy metals.
8. Skin has an ideal acid mantle between 4-6 on the pH scale of 0-14. Acidity draws more blood to the surface, giving skin a healthy glow. You can test your skin care products with a small strip of nitrazine or litmus paper available at a pharmacy. Skincare products should turn the paper yellow, not alkaline blue or purple, which is the terrain of dandruff and itchy skin.
9. UNI KEY’s beauty trio includes three complimentary products proven superior for skin health: BeauCle Purifying Cleanser, BeauCle Corrective Creme and BeauCle Ultra Hydrating Moisture. Packaged in BPA-free bottles, these nourishing formulas contain anti-aging herbs, healing botanicals and a unique probiotic complex to restore ideal 5.5 pH balance. Best of all, BeauCle formulas support collagen production to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, restoring skin to youthful appearance.
Hair often becomes dry and limp in winter months when environmental moisture is lacking. Chemical-laden shampoos, volumizers and heating appliances can damage hair that is already compromised by winter conditions. Repeated procedures such as waving, straightening and colorizing can lead to hair breakage. Experts advise that when it comes to hair, doing as little as possible proves that less is more. Science confirms that the most important element of hair care is how the strands are nourished.
Ann Louise’s top tips for strong, beautiful hair in the winter:
1. A protein-rich diet is vital for lustrous hair. Protein produces the keratin needed to make hair strong. If protein is deficient, our tresses can go into a “resting phase” with noticeable hair loss. Try adding a scoop of protein powder to your morning smoothie for an excellent boost to hair health. One of the purest all natural protein powders on the market is UNI KEY’s Fat Flush Body Protein. Free of gluten, dairy, egg, soy, GMOs and artificial sweeteners, the formula provides 20 grams of delicious vegan pea and rice protein per serving.
2. You can bump up your protein absorption by adding a capsule of the digestive aid hydrochloric acid (HCL) with pepsin to every protein meal of meat, fish, poultry or beans.
3. Take advantage of the sulfur-rich supplement MSM, available at health food stores. Sulfur greatly nourishes the hair follicles.
4. Biotin, involved with the synthesis of fatty acids and glucose metabolism, helps promote hair growth. Taking a Biotin 5 mg supplement aids in the utilization of both protein and B vitamins for stronger keratin in both hair and nails.
5. As with the skin, hair and scalp should be on the slightly acidic side. Rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar after shampooing will keep your scalp dandruff-free.
6. Taking 20 to 50 mg of zinc daily will discourage conditions that cause hair to split at the ends.
7. For a home remedy that has worked for many with thinning hair, mix one-half cup of cayenne pepper with a pint of 100-proof vodka. Carefully apply it to thinning hair areas, while protecting the eyes. Within 5-6 weeks, look for new hair sprouts.
Toe and finger nails are composed of laminated layers of the protein keratin. Cold weather, or immersing the hands in water for long periods, can dry and crack the nails. It is important to protect hands and nails by wearing rubber gloves when washing dishes, cleaning or working with chemicals. Medical specialists are now warning about the dangerous toxicity of many polishes, solvents, hardeners and glues used in some commercial manicure procedures. Nails should be strong and smooth, without pits and grooves. The abnormal condition and appearance of nails (ridges, white spots, flattened or concave shapes) can signal a number of nutritional deficiencies.
Ann Louise’s top tips for strong, healthy nails all winter long:
1. A diet high in carbohydrates and low in protein can leave nails dull and brittle. Good sources of protein for nails include fish, chicken, eggs and beans.
2. Taking 500 mg daily of an MSM supplement with at least one third sulfur is excellent for keeping nails strong.
3. The essential fatty acids, especially the GLA oil, can help restore fragile nails to health.
4. A good B-complex tablet daily for two months will transform brittle nails.
5. Apple cider vinegar applied to the nails has been reported to strengthen them.
6. Soaking nails in 3% hydrogen peroxide for one or two minutes daily discourages fungus and old-fashioned lanolin oil is a superb nail moisturizer.
7. Nails require essential minerals, including: calcium, phosphorus, selenium, iron, copper and manganese. Magnesium is especially important for keratin tissues. The most effective way to avoid or remedy magnesium deficiency is UNI KEY’s Mag-Key, a full-spectrum formula with four different types of magnesium, plus vitamin B-6 for absorption and assimilation. Full spectrum magnesium is needed for over 350 body processes, including the preservation of strong bones and teeth.
Beauty, and the vibrant health that nurtures it, really does come from the inside. A good diet, plenty of sleep, low stress, adequate sunlight and moderate exercise are the primary keys to healthy living all winter long. Add the benefits of Ann Louise’s practical maintenance tips, and we are on the path to truly beautiful skin, hair and nails, even in winter.
Editor’s Note: This is a great resource to learn more about the toxins that should be avoided in your personal care products, food, household products and more – Xenoestrogens: What Are They? How to Avoid Them.