6 Tips for Healthy Winter Skin

The change of seasons can wreak havoc on your skin. Dry winds can result in chapped lips and tight cheeks, but with a little bit of prep, you can have the skin of your dreams. When you bring out your winter coats each year you should think about changing your skincare routine to make sure your skin stays supple and smooth. If you have sensitive skin, remember to test new products on the inside of your elbow and wait 24 hours before putting it on your face.

Combat Dryness

Cold winds outside and heaters inside cause tight dry skin. This is the biggest change people notice with Winter skin. Use a thicker body lotion like a body butter or balm and a heavier face moisturiser. Don’t forget to use a nice thick night cream to wake up with soft dewy skin. Dry skin is irritated even further by having hot baths and showers and so try to make sure your water isn’t scalding and try switching to a gentle soap-free cleanser.

Try Natural Secrets’ Goats Milk Shower Gel

Natural Secrets Goats Milk Shower Gel 500mL


Keeping your body hydrated on the inside will help keep your skin hydrated on the outside. Drink plenty of water, even more than you think you need. And have an extra glass of water for each alcoholic or caffeinated drink.

Go Gentle

It’s tempting to use harsh scrubs and strong cleansers on your face to try and remove the top layer of dry skin, but this will do more damage in the long run. Opt for a gentle cleanser and don’t wash with hot water – use warm instead. If your face feels particularly dry, only use a cleanser once a day so you don’t strip the skin of natural protective oils.

Try Sukin’s Sensitive Cleansing Lotion

Sukin Sensitive Cleansing Lotion 125mL

Don’t Forget About your Hands and Lips

The skin on your hands and lips are exposed all year round and they need extra care. If your hands are so dry they’re cracking you can help them heal by putting a thick layer of hand cream on under some cotton gloves (or clean socks!) overnight. This will help the cream sink in and prevent mess. For lips, make a conscious effort to avoid licking them as the digestive enzymes in saliva can cause more damage. Some thick pawpaw ointment will help to protect and moisturise this delicate area.

Excessive Dryness

If you have patches of excessive flaky dry skin you may need to add a little more moisture to your routine. Adding a few drops of jojoba, rosehip or argan oil will help sooth, heal and moisturise those patches. Use it directly on the dry area or add a few drops to your regular moisturising cream. If the dry skin is also itchy it could be a sign of irritation and so try using non-scented products for a while.

Remember to SPF

Our Australian winter sun can still cause damage and age the skin. Make sure you wear sunscreen on your face if you are going to be outside, or even better, find an everyday face moisturiser with SPF so you know you’ll be covered.

Try Natio Renew Day Cream SPF 15

Natio Renew Day Cream SPF 15 50g

Passing Exams with Flying Colours

For many youngsters completing their HSC or School Certificate, the next few months are going to be very stressful. Stress is not technically a ‘bad’ thing; without it, humankind wouldn’t have been able to achieve some of the most wonderful things we have. The problem lies where stress is experienced for long periods – this we know is what causes damage. Small amounts of stress can help students to keep focus, but everyone reacts differently to stress and its effects.

Some people feel pressure and develop stress symptoms more than others. Stress responses can differ between males and females as well, with research showing females present internal symptoms and responses such as nausea, butterflies and feelings of inadequacy which can lead to sadness and depression. Males tend to externalise their anxiety and can become increasingly irritable or angry.

When someone is faced with increased pressure (in this case at exam time) their body can go into a ‘fight or flight’ response which releases increased amounts of adrenaline into the body. This can lead to various symptoms including:

  • Feeling cranky and irritable (increased yelling or crying, swearing, hitting)
  • Indecisiveness and/or confusion
  • Problems with going to sleep or getting up in the morning
  • Strongly beating heart, sweating
  • Mild chest pains, back pains, nausea, trembling, shortness of breath
  • Minor stomach upsets
  • Possible skin breakouts
  • Teeth grinding, nail biting and fidgeting
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Going blank in the exam.

One of the best things parents or carers can do if their child is experiencing exam stress is to try to be as supportive and tolerant as possible. Encouraging positive lifestyle habits can help the exam period seem easy.

Get That Organised Feeling…

  • Picture your exams as a time-bound project. Are the exams 60 days away? That’s your 60-day challenge. Best of all, there’s a definite end point.
  • Work out the basics: which exams you have, how the marks are allocated, and how much you have to learn for each one. Don’t expect to learn everything, but having in mind where you’ll get the marks can help you prioritise.
  • Break your revision down into small chunks, and form a plan. Once you’ve got a plan, you won’t have any more dilemmas at the start of the day about what to work on.
  • Schedule in plenty of free time to unwind, and protect this time. Nobody can work all day every day. Give yourself plenty of rest and you can do the same amount of work in half the time or less.
  • Equally, don’t panic if you go slightly off schedule – tomorrow is another day.

Get Into Some Good Habits…

These habits will help you concentrate as well as reducing stress!

  • Take frequent breaks. Psychologists say we can only concentrate properly for 30-45 minutes. When you’re on your break, do something completely different – move away from your desk, walk about, or make some tea!
  • Eat well. Keep blood sugars level to avoid highs and lows of energy, by eating slow-release foods like healthy fats, proteins, fruit and veg.
  • Drink lots of water. People often underestimate how much hydration helps!
  • Think about when and where you work best. Some of us aren’t morning people and not everybody finds themselves productive in the library. There’s no one best place or time to work – it’s about what works for you!
  • Keep active. Even a short walk will do. Exercising is one of the quickest and most effective ways to de-stress. Fresh air will clear your head and perk you up.
  • Sleep! Try to get about 8 hours’ sleep a night. If you’re stressed about not being able to sleep, there are lots of ways you can overcome sleep problems.
  • Find activities that help you relax. Maybe it’s a hot bath, watching a TV show, or a creative activity. Schedule this down-time into your timetable.

Avoid Bad Habits…

  • Don’t set yourself ridiculous goals. Nobody can revise 10 topics in a day! Avoid setting the day up to be a disappointment.
  • Don’t cut out all the enjoyment from your life. It’s tempting to decide you’ll just knuckle down to work and “focus”, but this is counterproductive – it’s impossible to focus without giving your brain rest by doing other activities.
  • Avoid stimulants. Caffeine, alcohol and drugs impede your energy and concentration in the long term. It’ll also make it more difficult to get that much-needed sleep.

On Exam Day…

  • Eat a good and light breakfast – something that will sustain you and help you concentrate.
  • Try to arrive at school or the exam venue early.
  • Go to the toilet before the exam starts.
  • Keep away from people who may agitate you before the test or may say unhelpful, anxiety-provoking comments.
  • Try writing about your thoughts and feelings at least 10 minutes before the exam to free up brainpower from focusing on emotions, so you can focus on the test material instead.
  • Take time to slow their breathing and relax when you first sit down in the exam room.
  • Skim over the exam paper, underlining key words and instructions.
  • Work out how long you have for each question or section.
  • Watch out for the wording of the questions – you need to understand and address what the question is really asking.
  • Answer the questions you find easiest first to build your confidence, then as you relax more move on to more difficult ones.
  • Don’t worry about how long others are taking but keep an eye on the clock to ensure you have enough time to answer the more difficult questions.
  • Re-read answers if possible and make any changes that are necessary – correct spelling, check workings.

Other Tips…

  • Eat well. Sugar may give an instant energy hit but, eventually, it will make you even more nervy than before. Whole foods provide sustained energy, freeing your body from the extra stress of big highs and even bigger lows.
  • Exercise increases blood flow, including to the brain, and provides a buffer against anxiety associated with minor stress, but keep it gentle. Evidence suggests that while light-intensity exercise lowers anxiety, a high-intensity workout can make it worse. Yoga is a good choice.
  • Avoid stimulants. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and heightens emotions. Nicotine is also a stimulant, so using cigarettes to calm your nerves may only deepen anxiety.
  • Alcohol may help you to feel relaxed but at a cost. Apart from a rebound stimulant effect (hyperexcitability), alcohol is an amnesiac; it helps you to forget – bad news around exam time.
  • Supplement. Stress depletes the body of stress-busting vitamins C, E and the B-complex family, magnesium and zinc. A good-quality multivitamin or stress supplement should help replace what is lost.
  • Try aromatherapy. Sprinkle lavender essential oil on your pillow to help you sleep. Lemon oil is also effective. Put a few drops of lavender or rosemary on a handkerchief to inhale before an exam as these can improve mental clarity. Aromatherapy massage also has a mild, transient anxiety-reducing effect.
  • Drink water. Your brain cells work better when you are hydrated.
  • Stay positive. Don’t reinforce fears with negative thoughts. Thinking positive can change paralysing stress into motivating stress. In healthy adults, after a month, positive thinking made their outlook more positive; objective testing revealed a 23 per cent reduction in cortisol (a stress hormone) and a 100% increase in DHEA (an anti-stress hormone)
  • Meditation can reduce anxiety and panic attacks in the long term.
  • Consider herbs that help maintain balance during stress. While the herb Panax ginseng can also be a stimulant, the gentler Siberian ginseng is said to sharpen mental alertness and help cope with stress.

Being well prepared before, during and after the exam period will ensure the exams come and go without major stress and disruption.

Good Luck!

Got some questions or tips of your own? Let us know in the comments!

Can you stop a hangover?

We all want to be sociable and have a great time at that party – but don’t go reaching for the hair of the dog the next morning – there are healthier ways to face the next day and get back on track.

Here are some proven ways to help deal with, or even prevent a hangover from happening – so you can have an enjoyable time over the holiday celebrations.

Refuel at the breakfast table – alcohol causes our blood sugar levels to drop, so boost it back up with a glass of apple juice the next morning. Fruit juices are a good way to help treat mild low blood sugar, but if you are really feeling unwell, then reach for something a little higher in glycemic index. Some Rice Bubbles or Vegemite on toast might be good in addition to the fruit juice.

Go one for one – keeping well hydrated while drinking alcohol is very important, especially in our hot Aussie climate. We often find ourselves outdoors, next to the pool or BBQ, drinking alcohol, and forgetting to rehydrate ourselves. For every glass of alcohol consumed, reciprocate this with a glass of water. Our tissues around the brain are made mostly of water, and dehydration shrinks these tissues so you can understand why “a pounding headache” can happen the next day if you don’t keep hydrated. Having some rehydration formula on hand is also a great, sensible option – especially on those really hot days!

Make sure to eat as well as drink! Just because alcohol contains calories, doesn’t mean it counts as a meal replacement. Drinking on an empty stomach will allow alcohol to absorb faster, so try getting a good meal in with plenty of healthy carbs before starting on the alcohol. Some research also suggests that a full stomach will also help keep blood alcohol levels lower.

Keep it light – darker drinks like bourbon or red wine produce more substances during fermentation, which may contribute to the cause of a hangover. Skip the whisky in favour of a nice crisp white wine, or vodka instead!

Stay classy – the more expensive liquors are usually distilled more times, so contain fewer substances from fermentation – therefore fewer chemicals for a potential hangover.

Take a multi-vitamin – drinking depletes nutrients in the body, including B12 and folate. A Berocca the morning after a party night might help replenish what nutrients you lost the night before.

Skip the bubbles – opt out of carbonated beverages – research shows that the bubbles may cause alcohol to be absorbed more quickly (yes we’ve all tried drinking beer through a straw to get the party happening faster!) – hence the New Year’s Day hangover.

Try some meditation or a gentle walk – deep breathing and meditation-type exercises can get oxygen flowing and blood pumping to help relieve stress. A gentle walk or some gentle meditation the next day might help you feel a little more relaxed and in control.

Grab some potassium – when dehydrated, we not only lose water but electrolytes. Gain them back by snacking on potassium-rich foods like bananas and spinach, or make sure to have a rehydration formula on hand to sip during the day.

Get into the eggs! Eggs contain taurine, which has been shown to reverse liver damage caused by a night of heavy boozing. Scrambled, fried, poached it doesn’t matter – add some spinach and veg for extra antioxidant power!

Take some ginger – hangovers will often cause an upset stomach. Having some ginger tablets, fresh ginger or ginger tea on hand can certainly help settle things down.

Get some fresh air – oxygen increases the rate that alcohol toxins are broken down, so slip, slop and slap and get outdoors! It may even release some endorphins to boost that post-hangover mood (don’t forget to keep hydrated).

Be the D.D. – the only 100% proven way to prevent a hangover is to not drink! If waking up to a pounding headache doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, then play designated driver for the night, and cheerfully enjoy helping your mates stay safe and recover the next day.

Things to have on hand during the holiday season:

  • rehydration formula
  • Berocca or a multivitamin
  • Ginger tablets or ginger tea
  • Paracetamol
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Fresh food – fruit, veg, eggs
  • Hats and sunglasses
  • Aloe Vera Gel (sometimes we find our sunscreen efforts a little lacking)
  • Eye drops for red eyes

Enjoy the social events that the holiday season brings, but always remember to be sensible and safe.

Other products you might also like to keep in the medicine cupboard…

  • Travacalm Ginger Tablets
  • Caruso’s liver detox
  • Hydralyte formula and icy poles
  • Blackmores Coconut Water
  • Berocca
  • Amcal Paracetamol
  • Visine Red Eyes Relief
  • Glucodin Tablets – for a fast glucose boost
Chapman & Wood