Jump into Spring
The clocks go forward and from March to May we jump into Spring. This is the time of year to have a clear out. Time to shake off the winter blues, change routines and improve our lifestyle. We know that stress is not good for lymphoedema. While we lose an hour’s sleep, we gain much needed daylight a good reason to open curtains and windows to let in all the natural light and fresh air. A great mood booster which makes us feel happier.
A reason to get out and go for a walk, or visit your local park, or the simple pleasure of sitting in the garden with a cuppa for those of us who are lucky enough to have gardens. Sunlight increases our vitamin D levels which is good for our bone health. There are very few foods which have vitamin D in them so being outside in the sun is also a great mood booster, makes us feel happier and boosts vitamin D levels.
Who remembers as a child parents and grandparents spring cleaning? The entire house was cleaned from top to bottom, furniture was moved, winter curtains were taken down and summer curtains were put up. Maybe, some decorating or lick of paint to freshen up doors and window frames. I remember it was exhausting and not something I would expect to do living with lymphoedema. Thankfully in 2022 we have many household aids to make life easier and it makes sense to do a little each day, or to do one room at a time.
Spring Clean - Skin Care
Skincare is one of the most important routines of our lymphoedema self-care. This time of year, we start to turn down the heating or turn it off altogether. Central heating does dry out the skin. With more irritants in the air there is a tendency to scratch more, not good for lymphoedema skin.
Personally, it is easier to make lifestyle changes when the weather is better, they don't have to be dramatic, it's the simple changes that are often the most effective. For example, try swopping your favourite cuppa or fizzy drink for a glass of water.
So how do we spring-clean our skincare?
How many skincare products or make-up do you have lying around in bathroom cabinets, bedside tables, or make-up bags. Continuous use of skincare products or make-up allows bacteria to build up and this will be transferred to your skin. Not good for those of us who live with lymphoedema as we may be of a higher risk to infection like cellulitis or conjunctivitis
Here is a check list:
Have you used your products for more than 12 months?
Do you remember the date you opened them, and have they gone past their use by dates?
Moisturisers and sunscreen are part of our daily routine and should last 12 months, watch for colour and texture changes
Keep moisturiser pump heads clean and keep your fingers our of jars of cream to prevent bacteria transferring to your skin
Make-up sponges should be replaced every three months.
Brushes should be washed regularly in warm soapy water and should last a couple of years.
Replace brushes if they become brittle or start to lose the bristles.
Concealers and Foundation should last a year, if they change texture or start to smell then it's time for a change.
Lip Liners and Lipsticks should last up to eighteen months but as they come into contact with your mouth, they may carry bacteria.
Mascara and eye liners last approximately three months, bacteria build up in the tubes. Never share with anyone else.
Eye Shadow can last up to three years if looked after. Never share with anyone else.
Eye Shadow applicators keep clean to prevent the transfer of bacteria to your eyes.
When disposing skincare/make-up products can they be recycled?
Do you know your symbols?
This above information is for guidance, please use sensible precautions to prevent infection. If you are trying a new skincare product do a patch test first. You will find more information on skincare here ...
Unfortunately for some people spring also heralds the start of the Hayfever season which can last all the way through to the autumn. Tree pollen comes with spring, in the summer we have grass pollen, and in autumn we have weed pollen. If you experience Hayfever then do visit your local pharmacy and as ask for advice on how to cope with this condition. Below are my tips:
Tip: Taking honey produced in your local area which you will find in farm shops, can protect you from the pollen where you live. Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and may give relief from hayfever symptoms.
Be aware if you are diabetic this may increase your sugar levels.
Be aware that sugar may increase inflammation. Inflammation leads to an increase of lymphoedema swelling causing damage to the tissue. Which might increase your risk of infection.
Do you know the hidden sugars in our foods? Lots more information on our Healthy Eating page. Read more...
Spring is a time to declutter
Reward yourself for those little achievements
Be kind to yourself
Enjoy the sunshine