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The Invitation

The Invitation

by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Stress and Skincare (part 2)

Most of us live with stress, the issue for our health and our skin is how we handle it; stress and skincare are partners  – we need to understand the relationship.
Not only does our skin suffer but adrenal exhaustion from too much stress can trigger allergies, food cravings, poor sleep, depression, weight gain, low blood sugar, compromised immune system, you’re tired all the time, you get coughs and colds that never go and more. A tired body = tired skin.

So what can you do about stress? It might seem a silly question because for most of us we’re all leading incredibly stressful lives and of course we can’t make changes if we don’t first identify what the stresses are and therefore what we need to change.

Apart from the obvious culprits of emotional and mental stress, it’s good to think about the basics ie lifestyle and dietary choices. If you think your health and your skin is compromised by your diet, then it’s never too late to make changes!

One of the first places we see the signs of ageing is in our skin.  Stress and skincare are intimately linked. The accumulated effects of doing all those things we love to do – getting a sun tan, eating chocolate and ice cream, drinking delicious wine, enjoying a long cool, fizzy drink in the summer can all add up to creating inflammation and free radical damage which is now known to contribute to the ageing process. But there are lots of things we can do to help slow down this ageing process and which will, at the same time, help to make us generally healthier. This has to be good news!

While there’s no magic pill that can make you look 20 years younger, you can help your skin in a number of ways – staying out of the sun, not smoking and eating a healthy diet.

Where are you on this stress curve?
Photo: STRESS AND YOUR SKIN    PART  2 </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Most of us live with stress, the issue for our health and our skin is how we handle it.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Not only does our skin suffer but adrenal exhaustion from too much stress can trigger allergies, food cravings, poor sleep, depression, weight gain, low blood sugar, compromised immune system, you're tired all the time, you get coughs and colds that never go and more. A tired body = tired skin. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>So what can you do about stress? It might seem a silly question because for most of us we’re all leading incredibly stressful lives  and of course we can’t make changes if we don’t first identify what the stresses are and therefore what we need to change.  </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Apart from the obvious culprits of emotional and mental stress, it’s good to think about the basics ie lifestyle and dietary choices.  If you think your health and your skin is compromised by your diet, then it’s never too late to make changes! </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>One of the first places we see the signs of ageing is in our skin. The accumulated effects of doing all those things we love to do - getting a sun tan, eating chocolate and ice cream, drinking delicious wine, enjoying a long cool, fizzy drink in the summer can all add up to creating inflammation and free radical damage which is now known to contribute to the ageing process.  But there are lots of things we can do to help slow down this ageing process and which will, at the same time, help to make us generally healthier.  This has to be good news! </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>While there’s no magic pill that can make you look 20 years younger, you can help your skin in a number of ways – staying out of the sun, not smoking and eating a healthy diet. Where are you on this stress curve?

Stress and Skincare

You might have seen an article in The Times on Saturday 28th September talking about stress and its impact on our health. But what about your skin, stress and skincare, what’s the connection?

Stress and skincare are intimately linked, how many of us get flare ups when we’re under stress?  Today we are bombarded with stresses never before experienced in history. These are just a few of the ‘energy thieves’ we learn to live with: Emotional stress, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, sugar, caffeine, acute and chronic infections ie yeast/bacterial/parasites, fear, anxiety, depression, poor diet and junk food to name just a few!

Stress, no matter where it comes from, affects us on MANY levels. Stress is coped with by your adrenal glands and depending on the level of stress they have to deal with, the rest of your body will try to compensate and adapt – we’re hard wired to survive!

Stress and skincare  go hand in hand; the hormones involved, in particular adrenalin and cortisol, can impact your skin directly and indirectly.
Adrenalin diverts blood away from your skin so it doesn’t receive proper nutrition.
Emotional stress stimulates hormonal changes and you break out in spots.
Stress causes muscle tightness and slows down the blood flow to your skin.
Excess cortisol lowers your immune system and your skin is more prone to infection.

Most of us live with stress, the issue for our health and our skin is how we handle it.

Sweet Almond Oil for Skin – My Desert Island Choice

Listening to desert island discs the other day, I asked myself the question “ if I could take just one oil to a desert island which one would it be?” I’ve no idea how long the guests on desert island discs think about this in advance of the programme, but for me the answer was very easy, Sweet Almond oil.

You might think that with all the amazing oils we can now get hold of I would have chosen something a little more ‘exotic’ or unusual  like Mullein or Mustard seed oil.

sweet almond oil for skinOn my desert island it will be hot, so mustard seed would be a very bad choice, it’s great to mix in to head massage oils or to add to oil blends for muscle aches and pains but used on the skin on its own, it causes reddening and it heats the skin which will be the last thing I need!   Mullein needs to be added to other oils such as jojoba to moisturise  or pumpkin seed oil when you need a lifting effect.

The beauty of Sweet Almond oil is that you can use it on its own; it doesn’t need to be mixed into anything.   Almonds and Almond oil go back to pre-Biblical times, it’s a skin care classic.   Rich in fatty acids and Vit E it’s good for all skin types. A little goes a long way as it’s slow to be absorbed into the skin, so while I’m waiting for a ship to rescue me from the island, I  can use it to moisturise my face and body, I can massage with it,  I can rub it into my scalp if I get dandruff…. it’s a perfect desert island companion.   

My perfect oil is one that I just had to use in Moisturiser Plus, my very first cream I made and which has won a Platinum award from Janey Lee Grace, passionate advocate of healthy living without chemicals.

 

 

 

 

Skin Allergies – Just the beginning?

Warning over ‘epidemic’ of skin allergies from chemicals in cosmetics and household products

I wonder how many people take this headline seriously. We should, because it could have wider implications than we realise.

At last, the news is out that chemicals you put on your skin can have consequences for your health; in fact, you could say that your skin is an excellent drug delivery system!  After all, that’s why hormone patches and nicotine patches work!  So it should come as no surprise that MI (methylisothiazolinone) has negative effects on your skin.

In a world that in increasingly toxic I believe we no longer have the physiological capacity to deal with the huge rise in toxic chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis in one form or another.

Since World War 11, 80,000 new synthetic chemicals have been  produced and released into the environment  –  pesticides, herbicides, chemical solvents, xenobiotics, toxic metals, plasticisers, disinfectants, chemicals from industrial pollution, nitrates and fertilisers, not to mention the rise in smoking and second hand smoke,   – and those are just a handful of what’s on offer.

As far back as 1962, the potential risk from chemicals was highlighted by Rachel Carson in her ground breaking book Silent Spring.

Whilst many companies claim that toxicology studies are done on a particular chemical, what no one can do is assess the risks when different chemicals are combined. If you think about it, it’s an impossible task, where would you begin? There is no way you could test all the different combinations.

Most women are using hundreds of chemicals on a daily basis – shower gel, deodorant, moisturiser, eye cream, night cream, eye shadow, eye liner, lip liner, blusher, lipstick etc and they’re using them every single day.

Many of these chemicals are fat soluble. That means they are stored in fatty/adipose tissue in your body and the organ with the highest % of fat is your brain!

At the moment, the focus is on skin and allergies, but how long will it take to recognise that the increase in brain diseases such as Parkinsons and Alzheimers, just might have something to do with the rise in chemicals in our environment, in our homes, in the products we put on our skin and which, I believe, based on the work I do with clients who suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, are no longer metabolised by an overloaded liver.

When you realise that your liver has specific pathways that deal with all the toxicity most of us are exposed to, it makes sense to support and look after it, which could mean changing your diet, giving up alcohol, changing the products you use, going on a detox, taking appropriate supplements to support liver function..…….there are many options!  There’s a school of thought that says ‘detoxing’ isn’t necessary and it’s a waste of time and money, but your liver is fundamental to your health so it makes sense to take the very best care of it.

The oil conundrum

Do you or don’t you put oils on your face if your skin is oily?

It’s quite a conundrum for many women who have greasy or oily skin, so if you’re one of them you’re in good company – Victoria Beckham and Alicia Keys have apparently both said that that they’ve suffered from greasy skin and acne.

Oily or greasy skin tends to look a bit shiny and has enlarged pores, it’s also prone to getting pimples, blackheads and blemishes and when you’re in your teens, acne can be a big problem as well.   There’s good news though, although you may hate it when you’re young, as you get older you tend to have fewer wrinkles, so that’s something to look forward to!

There are lots of reasons why you might have oily skin, hormones often play a part especially if you use the contraceptive pill; you may secrete too much sebum which is a common cause of oily skin and dark skin is often oily as it has more sweat glands and sebaceous glands than white skin; using oils that are too fatty on your skin will also exacerbate the problem.

Looking after oily skin doesn’t have to be difficult; the trick is to remove the excess sebum without drying up the skin.  How do you do this?

You need to use a very gentle cleanser and twice a day is plenty. If you over-cleanse or do too much peeling using products that dry out your skin, your body starts to overproduce sebum.  It’s also a mistake to use abrasive exfoliants because you strip the skin of its natural acid mantle which protects the skin from bacteria. Using the right toner [with no alcohol] can help to close up pores which means you reduce the possibility of inflammation from dust and dirt getting into the pores.

Unfortunately, there’s a myth that says you shouldn’t put oils onto oily skin.  This is both true and not true – it’s certainly true if you use oils which are comedogenic, meaning that they block the pores. By contrast, you want to give your skin the right oils so that you help regulate sebum production and your sebaceous glands can have time off! This way you help your skin move toward being a more ‘normal’ skin type.

When you’re looking for a suitable moisturiser for oily skin, read the label and see what plant oils have been included.  The important thing you need to know is what to avoid, [despite what the advertising says] and what oils will actually benefit your skin.

Oils that your skin will love are those with high quantities of omega-3 fatty acids, these are thin, dry oils and quickly absorbed – Kiwi seed, Chia seed, Thistle and Rosehip are all excellent.  The oils you need to avoid or check that they’re used in very small quantities are Olive, Neem, Macadamia, Moringa, Camelina, Coconut oil, Castor oil and also products that are paraffin based or that contain a lot of emulsifiers as these too can clog pores.

You can also use clay masks but only use the masks on the parts of your face that are oily and choose green or yellow clays which are best for oily skin.

Looking after oily skin starts from the inside – what you eat is really important.

Eating lots of saturated animal fats or highly processed vegetable oils can all exacerbate oily skin problems.  Eating chocolate, sugar, fizzy drinks and junk food is the fastest way to create inflammation, alter your blood sugar levels, interfere with absorption of nutrients and disrupt your hormones!

Wise choices in what you eat and what you put on your skin will pay you back many times over.  It’s worth remembering that everything you put on your skin is absorbed, after all, that’s why hormone and nicotine patches work and everything you eat and feed your body with will be reflected in your general health which includes the health of your skin. You are what you eat!