Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Needed Massage In Winter

Traveling in winter means having an arsenal of tubes and bottles on the dressing table to ward off winter itch and dry skin. Pharmaceutical brands seem to suit my skin better than anything from the cosmetic counters at the mall. (Cetaphil, La Roche-Posay, Avène, Physiogel, the like) The face isn't an issue. The usual serum as a base before putting on a rich moisturizer in the day, and slap on cold cream for night protection.

It's the body that I've a problem with. Somehow in winter, I'm more active, with riding, walking and whatnots. That means added friction on the skin. It's the body that gets really dry, and can turn itchy. It's an itch that steaming hot showers can't sort out because it makes it even itchier after stripping the skin of all its natural oils. In winter, this girl from a 90%-humidity country totally switch out shower gels normally used and go for labels kind to sensitive skin. Yah...must shower everyday in winter too. The usual twice a day shower, and washing of the hair once a day. For the body, I completely abandon all semblance of lotions and go for oils. Non-perfumed, non-scented. Oils in winter on the body aren't particularly greasy. Not after fumbling with buttons on winter coats or pulling on layers of clothes.

Not stuck in the office chair all day, and being able to twist and swim out knots in my body meant that it isn't necessary to grab regular massages. On a regular schedule, two massages a year would do fine. However, halfway through a trip in winter, a visit to the spa is a must, for a massage with essential oils rubbed into the body to prevent the onset of the annoying 'winter itch' which can persist days after getting back home to the tropics. Back in humid Singapore after each winter, I'll still use oils and bear with the grease for up to a week after a trip. Kia-si mah. I haven't gotten terrible winter itch all these years. A twinge here and there, but nothing that induces an incessant need to scratch or have the irritated skin pop up into painful bumps or scabs.

But yes, going to the spa in winter can be troublesome. Instead of a quick one hour thingy, it becomes a two-hour outing. Well, one has to remove all the layers, fleece tights, leggings and all; secondly, it's so toasty in the spa that you won't want to leave it to walk out into the cold. Thankfully there's the car, so not much bracing against the cold needed. If you aren't walking everywhere, or grabbing the bus and the tube, then there's no need to pull on so many layers. Beneath that thick wool or down coat, a soft camisole, a wool sweater, a scarf will do. Under these conditions, I don't exactly need a hat, but will require gloves. You can skip the tights if you're in knee-high boots. After all, with a car, it's a less than 10-metre dash in and out. Although I'm not so sure how your naked toes will feel in flip flops in 6°C.

The awesome-ness of indoor heating. To be able to wear slippers in winter!

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