The seasonal shift is in its full swing and spring has arrived!
Many welcome longer days, warmer temperatures and life waking up from its deep winter sleep. Yet some, especially at the beginning of spring can feel physically and emotionally uncomfortable and their skin doesn’t look or feel happy either.
Because nothing in nature stands still, seasonal changes remind us that it’s time for a thoughtful atonement. If we wish to flow with seasonal rhythms with ease, observing and embracing what nature teaches is the obvious thing to do.
Each season of the year has its unique intrinsic qualities. You can say that as individuals we are very much like seasons of the year, each is beautiful in its own way with specific predispositions, qualities and needs. Since we are undeniably part of our environment, living with the cycles of nature is consequently a key to health, happiness and vibrant glow.
What happens in Nature when spring arrives?
In very simple terms, snow melts, earth thaws and becomes saturated with water. Plant life awakens beneath the ground. It can still be quite chilly, and the humidity can be high. The degree of that of course will vary depending on your location. I am located in central Canada, and these are definitely predominant qualities in our environment. Everything feels wet, heavy, cold, slow and still a bit gray. But we can smell spring in the air and that gives us a feeling of excitement!
The human body and the arrival of spring.
If you are feeling out of balance and/or by nature you are prone to: water retention, weight gain, skin congestion and dullness, puffiness and stagnation, depression and lethargy, this may be a challenging time of the year for you.
This makes perfect sense and is truly logical when you consider what happens in nature when spring arrives. Since ‘like increases like’, suddenly your spring-like body may feel overwhelmed by the increase of water in the soil, dampness in the air and general heaviness in the environment. Too much of the same thing is happening in your body and your external environment at the same time and this makes you feel way out of balance.
So, you may experience even more water retention, more weight gain, your face may look puffy and your skin lack luster. One good word to describe what’s taking place is STAGNATION. In general, your body could use some help and assistance in order to relieve it.
How to assist your body when spring arrives.
You may be wandering why I keep talking about your body when the title of my article is ‘Spring and your Skin.’ The reality is that your skin is part of your body and just like you can’t separate human health from the environment that it lives in, you can’t separate the skin from the body it covers.
We will get to specific recommendations for the skin, I promise! So please hang in there.
If ‘like increases like’ then ‘the opposite heals’. So what we need to do to alleviate stagnation is pretty obvious. Movement, stimulation, warmth, lightness and anything which enlivens body and mind will remedy stagnation and congestion. So up your exercise, hop on the trampoline, get a lymphatic drainage massage, dry skin brush or visit a dry sauna. Tune up your diet. You can’t keep eating foods which create stagnation and congestion and expect lightness and brightness. It just doesn’t work.
This is a great time of year for a cleanse. We need lighter, warm, nourishing foods which will provide plentiful nutrients and at the same time will assist the body in eliminating what it no longer needs.
There are plenty of resources regarding seasonal diet if you would like to explore this in more detail. But generally, we want to eliminate cold, heavy, greasy, sweet, sour and salty foods. And introduce light, warm, fresh steamed greens, sprouts, daikon, dandelion greens, radicchio, arugula, and endive, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, garlic. Bitter, astringent and pungent are your spring tastes to include… lovely warming teas and a bit of warming spice to stimulate your digestion.
For gentle cleansing, I like eating kitchari in the Spring and Fall. Here is the link to a simple kitchari recipe and a great article written by Radha Shwaller.
Cleanse your body, mind and skin. You’ll feel clarity, lightness and renewed energy and you’ll have a healthy glow.
That’s a wonderful feeling!
Spring and your Skin
Your spring skin needs a lot of loving care. Winter was long and if you live in a northern climate, it was cold too. You probably stayed more indoors, and your skin is feeling it. Add the stress of the past two years and loving care is not just a nice thing to do but it becomes absolutely essential.
When out of balance, spring skin feels and looks tired. It lacks color and it can look drawn. Congestion and puffiness are often present as lymph is not flowing with ease. You may see more swelling around your eyes, in front of your ears, at the corners of your jaw and all along the jawline. Face or parts of it may look heavy and swollen. You may also see more cellulite and stagnation around your body. Some people may also experience flareups of acne, breakouts and their skin may feel like it needs a good clean up.
We will apply the same logic and reasoning to taking care of our skin as we did with taking care of our body. We intend to loosen up the stagnation / waste material in the tissues and help move it out of the system.
Cleansing, detoxifying, de-congesting, and a bit of stimulation and warmth will be very helpful to most people’s skin at this time of year.
Body and skin care practices for the Spring Season.
- Self-massage with warm oil. Find a lovely recipe for a spring body oil in this article by Radha. My Ayurveda teacher once said that oiling and massaging our body with warm oil every morning is a powerful way to create an aura of protection around our body, before we go out into the world. I loved that sentiment very much. Self-massage is excellent for the nervous system, musculature and is especially helpful with blood flow and lymph flow. It moves stagnation, toxins and heaviness out of the body. Season specific oil blends like the one in Radha’s article further assist the body in finding ease and balance.
- A Green clay mask for your entire body – a simple and effective way to assist your body in the detoxification process. Green clay – breast masks can also be applied to draw out toxins from the tissues. Green clay is very drawing which makes it appropriate for skin and body challenges related to the spring season. All you need is green clay, purified water and your hands.
- Dry skin brushing – will assist in exfoliation of dead skin cells and improved blood and lymph flow. There is a wonderful feeling of enlivened, tingly tissues after dry skin brushing. Make sure to use a natural bristle brush.
- Body Scrub – there are many body scrubs available on the market but I like simple scrubs that you can make yourself. Ultra-fine sea salt blended with sesame oil and a splash of grapefruit essential oil will be very effective and lovely to use.
- Facial Massage – is a wonderful way to improve circulation of both lymph and blood in the face, neck and decollete area. It may seem a bit intimidating to do at first but you don’t need to be a professional to do it. Mostly, it comes down to closing your eyes, taking a deep breath and letting your hands guide you. General suggestions for a very basic face massage is to work upwards and from the middle to the sides of the face. The deeper the touch, the deeper the tissues you affect. Simple gentle surface pinching of the skin could be fun to do and it will effectively get blood going and you may even get a tiny effect on the connective tissues. Be creative and have fun! Joy will always highlight your beauty.
- Facial GuaSha – I love my facial GuaSha tool and I use it whenever I feel that my skin needs a boost or when it feels puffy or congested. The tool does a great job at helping with gentle stimulation and detoxification and it helps to lift the tissues. The trick is to do it correctly so make sure to find a trained professional to teach you.
- Warm Facial Compress – Facial compressing is an important step in your cleansing practice and will provide valuable benefits for your skin during the Spring months. It relaxes your skin and facial tissues, opens skin pores preparing them for deeper cleansing and encourages better flow of lymph. It will work great especially with lymph stimulating herbal infusions. Calendula infusion is a nice choice for this practice. All you need is a soft cloth, a bowl of warm (preferably purified water) and calendula herbal infusion to add. After your initial night cleansing you can spend a few minutes compressing your face. It’s so simple and relaxing. You’ll love it!
- Facial Scrub – this is a great time of the year to include a gentle facial scrub in your weekly skin care practice. I am never for grainy, sand-like textured products because from my experience, they are too harsh on the skin and do more harm than good. Oats and almonds make for a good facial scrub base. If you don’t have access to a good quality organic herbal product, I would suggest that even plain powdered oats are better as a scrub than a harsh commercial one. You can exfoliate gently 1-2X a week.
- Green Clay Facial Mask – like on the body, green clay will also draw toxins out of the facial tissues. It makes for a wonderful simple facial detox mask. If your skin is very sensitive you may want to skip green clay all together or you may want to mix both white and green clay together for a gentler effect. And you can always opt for a Manuka Honey Mask instead.
- Manuka Honey Facial Mask – if you are lacking brightness and your skin feels dull, you’ll love Manuka honey! 1 tsp applied to your face and neck and left on for 15 min will make your face look clearer and feel fresher. Honey is effective at removing dead skin cells. Manuka in particular is great at alleviating inflammation so it can help with acne at the same time. Honey is a humectant and it’s wonderful with addressing dehydration. All around a great ingredient to keep in your cabinet
- Professional facial Massage – I have spent 25+years massaging faces and I will tell you with my hand over my heart that nothing is better for your face than a skilled face massage. Regular face massage will keep your facial tissues healthy and your mind and body relaxed. It is truly healing and I hope that you can find someone in your area to provide it for you. Your skin will love face massage during this time of the year because of its effect on stagnation and congestion of all kinds.
- Professional Facial – getting a proper facial from a holistic professional is a wonderful and healing experience. Your holistic facialist will work on deep cleansing and will encourage more lymph drainage, more stimulation and more detoxification during your treatments at this time of the year.
- Skin Care Formulas in tune with the spring Season – make sure to edit your skin care products. Clear expired products out of your cabinet. Let go of products which you bought on an impulse just to find out later that you don’t like them. It’s the perfect time to let go, clear and start fresh. Your Spring skin care should focus on proper cleansing, gentle exfoliation, stimulation and detoxification.
The trick to feeling and looking great no matter what season, is to live in balance and in tune with nature. Respecting nature’s laws during the spring season will prep your mind, body and skin for a happy welcome of the summer season and so on. So, no matter what your predispositions or tendencies are, you will always flow smoothly with Nature’s heartbeat.
Have an amazing spring and may you feel light and bright always!