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Use LESS Moisturizer on Dry Skin

With age, natural oils decrease, so you need to replenish it with moisturizer, but how much moisturizer should you use? Here is the answer: Moisturize oily skin…but leave dry skin alone. It sounds utterly counterintuitive; but let me explain what I often refer to as my ‘less is more secret.’ There’s a difference between ‘dry’ and ‘dehydrated,’ and the two words can’t be used interchangeably when you’re talking about skin.

Dry skin simply means the surface of your skin is thirsty, while underneath it all, your skin might actually be relatively well-hydrated and happily cruising along. That’s why it’s important to fight the impulse to over-moisturize, which will stifle the production of natural oils and leave you more parched in the long run. It’s a condition that’s made even worse by over-cleansing, which ‘strips away the natural lipids that account for over 90 percent of your skin’s moisture,’ explains Dr. Katayama. So if you fall into that tissue-drops-off-immediately category, scale back the creams and cleansers and let your skin return itself to normal.

Dehydration, on the other hand, means you’re parched from the inside (not good) and the tell-tale sign of this condition is what most people refer to as ‘oily skin.’ (I know you’re probably scratching your head about now.) But logically, it makes sense: Underneath the surface, your skin is thirsty, causing the outer layers to desperately protect what little moisture is left by producing excess natural oils. On your end, it’s a condition known simply as oily skin, and chances are, you’re out buying oil-free makeup and matte powder to compensate for that unsightly sheen. But by significantly increasing your water intake (preferably, drinking 64 ounces a day), and using moisturizing creams diligently, you’ll actually rehydrate your skin on an internal level, and are bound to see a reduction in all that excess surface oil.

Skin Fast Once a Week

You’ve heard of celebrities who go on juice fasts and detox diets in order to flush out their system and lose quick pounds, right? Turns out, your skin needs the same break. According to Dr. Katayama, advising dermatologist at Mirai Clinical, ‘Your skin has an inherent ability to take care of itself. If you use moisturizer excessively every day, it causes your skin to become lazy and results in the production of fewer natural oils.’

These oils, a protective barrier, are an important tool in shielding your skin from dryness, UV rays, pollution, and even cold, biting temperatures. A once-a-week ‘skin fast’ can help your system reboot and keep its natural hydration system in check. (But no more than once a week, please, or you’ll risk drying out your skin.) Here, the simple how-to’s:

  • Once a week, wash your face gently at night with a mild cleanser
  • Skip any moisturizers or nighttime wrinkle products and go to sleep ‘naked.’ (Yes, pajamas are fine…I’m talking naked skin here!) Optimally, keep your bedroom properly humidified to avoid parching your unprotected skin.
  • In the morning, wash your face gently again, this time using only a splash of lukewarm water. (Note: You can try skin fasting on the rest of your skin as well.)
  • Drink plenty of water to compensate for the lack of moisturizing products that day
  • Once your skin is rebalanced and product free, try the morning Tissue Test to determine your true skin type: Simply place a clean tissue over your face; if it immediately falls off (no oils to adhere the tissue to your skin), you have a dry complexion. If it sticks, and only begins to fall off as you lean forward, then you have normal skin, which is optimal. But if the tissue is still glued to your face when you’re practically looking at the ground, you/ve got oily skin.

Fat Burning While Bathing

From “Less is More” by Koko Hayashi

Temperature and weight loss are intricately connected. Despite the fact that warmer body temperatures are equated with good health, many Japanese have actually learned to manipulate their fat cells (brown) and fat-storing cells (white) for maximum efficiency by following a warm bath with a cold bath plunge, followed by a warm soak.

When your body temperature is suddenly reduced for a short time, your brown cells spring into action, burning energy like your own personal furnace in order to create heat within your body. In other words: you’re shivering and your body, working hard to bring up the temperature, is peeling off calories in the process. That chilly state also helps rev up circulation, as your body wildly pumps blood through those arteries and veins in an attempt to warm things up. When you feel warm, on the other hand, your body produces Heat Shock Proteins (HSP), a cell-repair mechanism–with anti-aging benefits such as producing collagen for skin–that kick in when your cells are exposed to elevated temperatures. (Want proof? Take a look at the skinny Japanese wild monkeys that roam near volcano and hot spring areas; they routinely expose their bodies to hot water…then jump into the cold snow immediately afterwards. It’s like their very own weight-management program!)

All of this explains why the key to revving up those internal engines lies in alternately increasing and decreasing body temperature. It’s a natural habit for the Japanese, given that we’ve always loved bathing rituals. Even Samurai warriors were said to have soaked in hot mineral springs to heal battle injuries. (We refer to this ritual, by the way, as “yuj”; “yu” means hot water, and “ji” means healing.) To this day, hot springs are in abundance in our country, one of the few upsides to the unstable geological environment that’s been responsible for our catastrophic tsunamis and earthquakes.

In Japan, we typically turn to the bath for both physical and mental relaxation, beginning with body washing and rinsing before we enter the pristine tub (known as a “furo”) for a luxurious, warm soak. After this, we often begin the hot/cold regimen that jump-starts the metabolism…generally in this order: hot bath, cold shower, hot bath, cold shower. Feel free to alter the routine based on your personal preference: if you want to wake yourself up and get a bit of a jolt, I advise ending with cold; but if it’s relaxation you’re after (say, you’re about to go to bed after a long, hard day), finish up with the hot bath.