Autumn seems to be lasting longer this year. An orchestra of rust and burgundy colours enchants my heart and brings inspiration for the days ahead. Autumn is a transitional time in nature and our bodies. The natural process of degradation begins because of the lack of light and dropping temperatures, giving the leaves all shades of yellow and red. Nature retracts the energy from the outside, pushing the roots back into the soil, in a preparation for the coming cold.
The same happen to us – this is a time when we are more prone to ‘be’ rather than to ‘do’. Our bodies are ready for the winter rest from all hectic summer activities. We start preferring hot food and like to spend more time at home rather than outside. Our inner metabolism changes and carbohydrates and fat are necessary to raise the heat in our bodies. The internal fluids slow down and the blood circulation from the external layers focus on supplying inner organ. As skin contains less fat on the outside layer, it becomes less oxygenated, paler and flakes more easily. Skin can become arid and dry. Pollution and central heating also play a big part. Dry air from the central heating damages the respiratory tract and dries the skin speeding up the ageing process. It also speeds up the loss of water through the skin, increasing the natural evaporation. Normally we lose 700 ml of our internal water daily, but the central heating increases this loss.
So what can we do to help the skin during this season?
- Inner hydration: in summer we need cold drinks to cool down our system, but in the cold season we should drink warming herbal teas and tisanes (i.e. cinnamon, ginger, clover, pepper, vanilla), teas from seasonal berries (bilberry, rosehip, cranberries, etc.) which are rich in vitamin C and anti-oxidants, vegetable soups, or simply hot water with lemon and honey. The best old-fashioned drink consists of a dried apricot, fig or date, the skin of an unpeeled organic lemon, an organic apple split in four parts (leave the seeds in), a clove bud, half a stick of cinnamon, and a slice of ginger in half a litre of cold water. Cover, bring to the boil and then allow steeping for 15 minutes. Strain and drink, adding a bit of honey if preferred.
- External (environmental) hydration: to prevent the environment (house or workplace) from becoming too dry, use a humidifier or place a bowl of water on the radiators. A few drops of organic essential oil (i.e. eucalyptus) can be added to the water.
- Inner support: take supplements that increase the cellular metabolism (like algae), antioxidants (vitamins C and E) and Omega 3 and 6 EFA (Essential Fatty Acids found in flax or hemp seed oil).
- Skin hydration: a more intense and protective skincare daily regime. Use oil-based products to keep the moisture and to rebuild the external protective layer by reducing evaporation through the skin.
These tips apply for the colder months ahead too.
Remember that Beauty is in all things, in and around us. Here is to a beauty-full season and 2017.