Whether you are new to hot yoga or you have been practising for a while, you may start to see how your practice benefits your daily life outside of the studio. One of these things may be your skin. Many a myth exists around hot yoga (did you know we are all half unicorn?) but many people claim that getting your sweat on in the hot room improves your skin, giving us that (*cough* unicorn-) glow we all resonate with (except some Mondays).
Hot yoga improves blood circulation, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the skin from the inside out, simultaneously encouraging the release of bacteria, toxins and other nasties out through the loosened pores. We’re sold; but what else can we do to help our skin this winter?
We have assembled a list of some lesser-known skin essentials that you might just find in your kitchen cupboard, meaning that you can keep costs down and avoid unnatural ingredients.
- Baking soda: As an abrasive, this product can be used as an exfoliant to help loosen dead skin. To get your feet silky soft for our barefoot hot yoga studio, how about trying a baking soda foot-bath, with half a cup of baking soda to every gallon of warm water and leaving for 30 minutes?
- Oats (particularly colloidal oatmeal): one of the few FDA approved natural ingredients to treat skin irritations such as eczema and dry skin
- Beta Carotene: our body converts this nutrient, found in red, orange and yellow fruits such as carrots and sweet potatoes, into Vitamin A helping us to heal wounds and maintain healthy cells
- Apple cider vinegar: regulating the pH level of the skin, a splash of this product with some water can be used as a toner or occasional face wash
- Fruit: You can make you own natural, exfoliating face-mask using fresh mango skin, mashed strawberries or pineapple. Apply directly onto the face for a few minutes before rinsing. (If you suffer from fruit-related allergies, do not try this at home!)
- Lemon: Fierce Grace Brixton knows the value of the mighty lemon. We put it in our water every day! Lemons are anti-bacterial, anti-viral and have special immune-boosting powers. If the lemon was a Star Wars character, it would be the wise Yoda – the force is certainly strong with this one. A great detoxifier, our livers and digestive tracts also love them. They can be used to beach-blonde our locks in the sun and with a high concentration of Vitamin A, lemon can be mixed with warm water to whiten nails and even out skin tone. Phwoar, is there no end to the lemon’s magical powers?
- Brown sugar: Sugar is the nation’s bad-boy in town right now, but mix half a cup with a few tablespoons of olive oil and water and you’ve got yourself a finger-licking good way to clear away dead skin. Sugar might be in the naughty corner but this sure sweetens the deal.
- Chamomile tea bags: Eurgh, now that we are all in winter hibernation mode, those dark, puffy eyes are a killer. The best antidote is sleep, but as you are all jumping out of bed for our early morning classes, try this alternative. Tea bags contain caffeine and anti-inflammatory tannins that should, fingers crossed, have us all looking a decade younger in no time! Place a tea bag in boiling water for 5 minutes, leave to cool in the fridge then place one over each eye-lid (please note that the fridge part is strongly advised, unless you have asbestos skin). Chamomile is the equivalent of a hug in tea-world and smells like it too, so that gets our vote.
What are your favourite natural skincare tips? Let us know!