Skin Care in Spring

Spring is finally in the air in the Inland Northwest. The sun is starting to make appearances, as is the snow, rain, hail, wind – all in the same afternoon. It’s that time of year we eagerly anticipate future seasons and don gym shorts in 45-degree weather – fooling ourselves that it’s warm enough for this attire, am I right? In the same day, wearing a winter coat rated for -50 degrees is more than acceptable. Going between the icy temperatures of the morning, balmy afternoons, wind, and Gobi Desert of the indoors, the skin on your hands and lips starts to become dryer and rougher. As someone who’s dealt with psoriasis a majority of their adult life, I’ve often struggled with dry skin and keeping my condition under control. With the help of several dermatologists throughout the years, I feel like I have a solid plan of action when it comes to protecting my moisture –starved skin.

 

Moisturize

I hate putting lotion on, I hate the feeling, I hate the smell, I hate rubbing it in! However, it’s the first line of defense against dry skin and can be very effective. Whenever I am lax about putting it on, I notice my skin start to crack, so I have embraced it as a reluctant friend. Recommended: CeraVe, O’Keeffe’s Working Hands, Vaseline, Eucerin, Nivea Cream (particularly effective with cracking). After you wash your hands, slap some lotion on ‘em!

Cover-up

Trap that moisture in! Even when the wind isn’t whipping, the sheer cold on your skin dries it out. Slip on some gloves whenever you are going outside. I’m very techy (always on my phone) so I find this particularly annoying. However, there are some great gloves for relatively cheap (around $10) that work well with touch screen devices and keep the variety of temperatures from chapping your hands.

When you are at home, you can also wear gloves to help create an occlusive barrier (traps moisture). Slip some cotton gloves on after you put lotion on. Even wearing them for a few minutes while you read or watch the entire season of Stranger Things can vastly improve your hands (or go for that medical professional look and put a pair of medical exam gloves on while you sleep – no one can judge your look under covers). Keeping in moisture is the look you’re going for here.

Speaking of moisture, choose your soap carefully; many popular soaps can in fact dry your skin out terribly (I’m looking at you AXE). I’m a big fan of Dr. Bronners, Nubian Heritage African Black Soap and dead sea soaps. Take a bath once in a while instead of a shower, and gently pat dry if you are having very dry flare ups. Also, turn the temperature down on your showers. Taking a warm shower vs a hot shower makes a big difference.

 

Exercise

Since I have young kids at home, exercise took a back-burner (okay, to be fair it was never on the front burner), so it has been difficult to regularly try to stay fit and healthy. It is such an important piece to keeping your skin healthy though. By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital.

Exercise can be rough when the weather is unpredictable, but try to get out and burn some extra calories; go for a walk, run, bike ride, enjoy the outdoors while you can- you never know, it could completely change in an hour. Indoors can also offer some great exercise opportunities; in home, with an exercise ball, kettlebells, yoga mat. Or branch out of your norm, join a gym, see what classes are available at the YMCA, join a yoga studio, or even check out CrossFit. Another idea is to walk the mall, if you can avoid the temptation of buying a new set of shoes, doing laps around the mall can be an amazing way to burn calories in a warm environment. Whatever your choice, try to get that heart rate up this time of year.

 

De-stress

Be sure to take time for yourself and relax. Take time to stop and enjoy what you have and those around you.

Don’t be embarrassed.

People can be the worst. It’s so frustrating when you are just starting to feel good about your skin and the guy at the store asks you, “dude, what happened to your hand?”

  1. a) That’s none of your business
  2. b) I thought it was starting to look pretty good…so, thanks.

It only makes it worse for people to comment on your skin or wonder what they’re thinking. Let it go. You can’t control what comes out of people’s mouth. All you can do is your best at keeping your skin healthy. J
*See your provider before making changes to your skin care and exercise routine.

 

by Matt Grebe, Content Manager

 

Weight Gain – 5 tips to get back on track

Blame it on the wild winter we had. Or perhaps you were too stressed about something in your life to worry about what you were eating? Maybe you had “just a sliver” of a few too many desserts, cakes, slices of pizza, etc. – because a little bit won’t hurt, right? Or to borrow an outdated Jamie Foxx lyric, “blame it on the a a a a a alcohol.” Whatever the excuse, it happened and you’ve acquired some excess weight over the past few months.

It’s easy to get in to a mode of sedentary lifestyle and casually eating when you aren’t even hungry. I mean, cheddar and sour cream chips are so darn tasty – why not?

We’ve worked with our providers to put together a solid plan to get you back on track. Here are our top 5 tips to get you back on track:

  1. Give yourself a break – You aren’t a bad person for switching off the exercise and food intake side of your brain for a bit. You’re a person – it happens to everyone. Too often people throw in the towel because they feel they’ve blown it or it’s too hard. They then give themselves permission to continue to over-indulge thus making it more difficult! No one is perfect and we all fall away from our best intentions and eat the wrong things, skip the gym or get a bit lazy and make excuses. The most important thing to remember is not to berate yourself about it but rather spend the energy getting back on track.
  2. Learn from the experience – If you don’t recognize what led you to fall off the healthy eating wagon, you’ll probably react the same way the next time the situation arises. Write down a list of the situations that trigger you to overeat, and plan an alternative for each. For example, if parties are your downfall, have a healthy snack beforehand to keep your appetite in check.
  3. Be kind – Don’t try to punish yourself with incredibly restrictive diets and over exercise. You may lose weight short term this way, but usually this sets up a pattern of gaining and losing weight. Look at the big picture and understand that weight loss requires a small decrease in calories over a longer period of time. Also, don’t deprive yourself. If you go out once or twice a month to Zips, it won’t kill your diet (depending on how much you drown your meal in tartar sauce-but that’s more of a personal issue. Guess who might be going to Zips tonight…). Just be sure that the majority of the time you’re getting a good dose of fruits, veggies and protein.
  4. Plan ahead – When you get hungry, that’s the moment you tend to overeat. Plan some healthy snacks throughout your day. If you’re away from home, be sure to bring a snack pack or two with options such as carrot sticks, trail mix, almonds, or fruits.
  5. Shake a leg – Can’t make it to the gym, don’t have time for a run? Do something small during a break. Go for a 15-minute walk, take the stairs, etc. Every little bit adds up to the bigger picture of being more active. It can also relieve stress you may have been building up (another reason people tend to overeat). When it is exercise time, try to find something you enjoy. There are a ton of activities out there, you just have to find the right one.

by Bill Bomberger and Matt Grebe