... skin, nose, lungs and everywhere.
The opaque smoke screen has moved off but we can still smell the fires. The ash isn't falling from the sky now, but our bodies are still struggling with the ongoing damage.
I've been struggling with sore eyes, painful sinuses, headaches and irritated skin. This began when the massive California fires started.
I have no control over the fires. Our brave firefighters are busy battling it. But I know the secret to taking back control of my body, skin and wellness. Here's what I've changed that has made all the difference.
Smoke is irritating to the eyes. They feel gritty and sore. Eye drops help but don't clean out the smoke as much as you need. I recommend a daily eye wash. It refreshes tired eyes, calms sensitivity and cleans out smoke, ash and debris.
I use Bausch and Lomb Advanced eye relief eye wash. It's a saline eye wash with an eye cup. And it's a great way to not only rinse the eyes but also the lids and lashes.
My sinuses are sore, slightly bloody and causing these headaches. What to do? Saline to the rescue. A saline nasal spray is a great way to clear out the sinuses and reduce the nasal irritation.
A physicians assistant recommended a neti pot or neti bottle. It's also a saline nasal wash and it works even better than nasal sprays. A couple of times a week to once a day has worked well for me.
Sinuses part 2
If you're having unexpected bloody noses there's another step you can take. Here's a recommendation from a friend, that came from her doctor.
Put a dab Neosporin to a cotton swab (q-tip).
Swipe the swab around the inside of each nose.
Don't go deeper than the head of the cotton swab.
This creates a protective coating that will hydrate the skin that tends to crack and bleed when dry. The antibacterial properties may protect from bacterial infections.
The air is unpleasant. It's terrible for asthmatics and anyone with lung issues. But it's not good for those of us with healthy lungs either. And we can't avoid the smoke and ash in the air. But we can improve our health.
Change the air filter in your air conditioner. Then you can run the fan and filter out some of the smoke out of your homes air. Even if you don't have the cooling air conditioner on, the fan will help reduce the smoke and ash.
Remember that you may need to change the air filter again, after the fires are out.
Lungs/Breathing part 2
You can improve your breathing with a cool air humidifier. The smoke and fires are drying the moisture out of the air. This dry air isn't good for our lungs. So a humidifier returns moisture to the air and improves our breathing.
I found the cutest little cool air humidifier at Cost Plus World Market. The donut shape sits in a bowl or cup, powered with a USB cable to your computer and mists out cool air. It's not as powerful as a standard humidifier but you don't have to clean it out. And it sits by bedside at night.
The mini humidifier has had a cumulative benefit. I don't wake up with a scratchy, irritated throat in the morning. It's also great for helping the skin stay better hydrated in our dry climate.
Hey, if you're waking up with a sore throat and the humidifier is not helping enough? Gargle with salt water. Add sea salt to cup of water, gargle the salt solution for a minute and spit it out. This helps with a smoke-induced scratchy throat. If you have other symptoms or if the irritation persists, please call your doctor.
Did you know ash is very alkaline and irritating on the skin? The smoky days are equivalent to smoking 25 cigarettes. Neither is good for the skin. And it's leading to severe breakouts, deep congested blackheads, and irritations.
So what can you do? Here are 5 steps to get your skin back in balance.
Deeper cleansing helps remove the ash and debris from the skin. A milky cleanser is a great way to make ash and debris lift off the skin.
I'm fond of our Cleansing Milk - a clean rinsing, clean scent, milky wash. But any cleanser can help. But there is a trick to it.
6 Steps to Deep Skin Cleansing.
1. Apply cleanser to dry skin. Spread it around the skin
2. Add water to the skin, spread it around.
3. Continue to emulsify cleanser on the skin for longer - one (1) to two (2) minutes.
4. Use a damp sponge to remove cleanser and debris off the skin.
5. Rinse skin well.
6. Once a day, repeat this process for a full and thorough cleansing.
Since ash is alkaline it is also altering your skins natural acidic PH. An alkaline ph makes your skin irritated, sensitive and dehydrating. So your second step is to return your skin back to acidic PH.
I don't recommend an astringent or witch hazel as that will dry out already dehydrated skin. But a toner for dry, normal or combination skin will work well.
TuscanySkinSpa Refreshing Balancing Toner is what I use after I cleanse. The toner is a soothing and hydrating with an Aloe Vera base plus calming rose and lavender. I enjoy the scent as I mist it over my face, neck and décolleté.
Antioxidant repair helps reverse some of the dna damage caused by the smoke damage. A daily topical vitamin C serum protects against environmental skin damage. And you can use it day or night to get the repairing benefits. Here are two we love and carry.
Advanced Vitamin C Brightening serum offers double duty. Repairing smoke and environmental damage. While brighten the skin and even out skin tone. All with a few drops in the morning.
Time Defying Retinol + C combines the best anti-aging ingredient on the market - retinol. And it has a powerful vitamin C. Use a half dropperful at night to improve skin texture, tone and appearance. While it repairs environmental damage as you sleep.
Hydration and Moisture is essential to keep the skin in balance. And you don't need a thick heavy face cream to make this happen.
Use your fave moisturizer after you've cleansed, toned and applied your serum. This will seal in the hydration and prevent future water loss.
I do recommend you check the amount of emuslifier in your moisturizer. If there's too much emusifier it will actually make your skin drier. I'll share the simple trick to discover excess emulsifier in your moisturizer. Check out the blog post
Do you hate rich, creamy moisturizers but need to put one on your face to keep from drying out?
Is your skin feeling sensitive, irritated and tender?
Are you breaking out but your skin feels dry?
I have the solution - AntiOxidant Arctic Hydrogel.
The AntiOxidant Arctic Hydrogel contains extracts SNOW ALGAE. Snow algae's known for it's resistance to environmental damage. This plant can withstand extreme climate conditions. And the extracts offer that same protection for your skin. The light gel texture absorbs without residue. And the instant cooling soothes redness and irritation.
During the day apply your sunscreen. I know you're not going out as much. But the UV rays are still attacking your skin through your windows. I do recommend a zinc oxide based sunscreen for the best protection against UVA and UVB
Staying in window-less room during the daylight hours? Well, only then can you skip spf.
At night you make want to apply a night cream. A night cream uses your body's natural repair time to boost your skin. Apply it after you cleanse, tone and applied any serums in the evening.
A favorite at the spa is Overnight BioTherapy Night cream. It'll repair environmental damage. In a couple of weeks it'll transform the skins hydration level. Plus it isn't heavy or thick in texture and yet it's a nourishing night cream.
So your five steps for smoke-free skincare are:
1. Deep cleanse your face twice a day.
2. Spray on a toner to balance ph and hydrate.
3. Apply an antioxidant Vit C to repair.
4. Hydrate your skin with a lighter or gel based moisturizer.
5. Protect your skin from further damage with a daytime spf or evening night cream.
Since I changed my routine with these steps, I've been feeling and looking better. My eyes don't sting. Sinuses aren't clogged or bleeding. Breathing is better. My sinus pain headaches are gone. And my skin looks great, it isn't irritated or broken out.
All in all finding ways to fight off the smoke damage has made all the difference. Let me know how these tips have helped you.
Stay safe and healthy,
Michelle of Tuscany Spa
PS: This is information we've shared with clients during their consultations. We focus on improving our clients' skin and wellness.
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