Natural products secret to great skin in desert climate

Alva Carpenter

Published — Wednesday 10 July 2013

Last update 10 July 2013 3:10 am

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Desert climates have plenty of sunshine but they are usually dry and arid and you need to take extra special care of your skin to keep it looking fresh and wrinkle free.
Like me, most women have many pots of creams and lotions in their bathrooms. I do like my morning ritual of preparing my face for the day and again pampering my face at night.
The skin care market has become over-scientific and can be confusing. The cosmetic industry’s main aim is to create a market so that customers keep on buying new products that promise eternal youth and flawless skin. Aging is seen to be avoided at all costs and we are all encouraged to spend vast amounts of money on anti-ageing preparations.
What we can do is look after ourselves and accept that life is a journey with different joys at different ages; but taking sensible care of ourselves without being slaves to the dream of forever sixteen. Skin care in the Gulf is extremely important as the sun can age the skin very rapidly, especially if you sunbathe.
Sun damage
The sun is the number one cause of wrinkling, pigment changes and skin cancer. A little light sunshine is a valuable source of Vitamin D, but prolonged sun exposure damages the skin and ages it prematurely. Expatriates who sunbathe for a pastime age quickly and the damage shows up suddenly. So always use a sunscreen on your face and hands. Look for a sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Always protect your eyes too with good quality sunglasses.
How can natural products be an answer to eternal youth?
Skin care manufacturers would like to believe that they have found the answer in a little pot of hope but there is no single solution; to have beautiful skin you need to work from the inside out.
I am from the whole health school that believes that skin is cared for internally and there is a direct correlation between what we feed our bodies and what shows up in our skin.
I am a great believer in moisturising the skin with natural products because Mother Nature provides everything we need to improve the skin. Go in for natural ingredients that work with the skin, rather than applying chemically refined products that contain elements that you may never have heard of.
Food always counts.
Everything you do or do not put into your mouth affects the quality of your skin. For example; eat junk food and you will not have healthy skin. The amazing news is that you can transform your skin by making simple changes to your eating habits. Eat simple fresh food and drink plenty of water.
Plump out your skin with water
Your body is made up of 80 percent water and your skin loves it. Dehydration shows first on your skin. Drink at least 8 to 12 glasses of water every day. You can provide an external boost to your skin by applying a morning spray of mineral water before moisturizing. 
Caffeine can cause dehydration so think of coffee, tea, and cola as occasional treats.
Practice good skin care
It is important to know what is in the products that you are putting on your skin; many cosmetic manufacturers focus on only telling the customer what the creams will do for them, not what is in them. In the hot sun there are products that you should use very carefully.
Retin A products should not be used when going out in the sunshine as skin will burn more easily and can be damaged long-term. If you use a Retin A product only use it at night and then use a Sun Protection Factor (spf) of 30. Retin A products should not be used during pregnancy.
Use gentle products to cleanse, moisturize and gently exfoliate.
Air conditioning is dehydrating and causes dry skin — you may need to use a gentle exfoliant to remove dead skin so that your moisturizer can do some work. Exfoliators should only be used at night as the new skin can be easily damaged by sunshine. It is very important to moisturize your skin at night and I recommend a skin oil, as oils are more easily absorbed than creams; then you can wake up to lovely soft skin. It is also important to use a moisturizer on your lips such as Vaseline, which keeps the moisture in; and always have a bottle of water by your bed.
Exercise your facial muscles for a natural face lift. Facial exercises keep the muscles toned and work better than any cream. As we grow older our facial muscles need exercising to counter the effects of degenerating connective tissue that lead to sagging around the jaw line, and drooping eyelids. Facial exercise is also vital following weight loss. If you would like to receive my complete facial workout, and a fact sheet on skin care in harsh climate you can e-mail to [email protected] for a free copy.
During the hot summer months, with the air conditioning on full, it can dry the top layer of skin, which can leave it dry and flaky, making the pores prone to clogging, leading to spots.
My healthy recipe of the week
Enjoy very simple lemon drizzle loaf cake
Serves: 12
• 110g (4 oz.) butter
• 170g (6 oz.) self-raising flour
• 4 tablespoons milk
• 170g (6 oz.) caster sugar
• 2 eggs
• lemon zest and juice from 1 lemon
• 3 tablespoons icing sugar
Preparation method
Preheat the oven to 180 C/ Gas mark 4.
Grease and line a medium size loaf tin.
Beat the first 5 ingredients and the lemon zest together until smooth and creamy.
Pour cake mixture into prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes.
Heat the lemon juice in the microwave for 45 seconds, and stir in the icing sugar.
While the loaf cake is hot in the tin, pour the lemon mixture over. Enjoy.
Ask Alva
I have a habit of drinking daily about 10 cans of soft drinks and cola. Is this harmful? Nabila
Soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages can deliver up to 12 teaspoons of sugar in a single serving, with no other useful nutrients. These beverages offer no health or nutritional benefits. Start to cut down slowly and work toward only having canned drinks as occasional treats.
— Alva

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