I was a willing vacay guinea pig. Here’s what I discovered…
It’s a hard life, but somebody’s gotta do it.
While the festive season can be a wonderful time of light and love, it is also a time where the pressures of work and Christmas shopping combine with the pleasures of Christmas parties, high fat and sugar laden foods and perhaps a little too much Christmas spirit!
According to endota’s skincare expert, Cara Doncovio, “most of us are aware that some of our lifestyle choices around this special time can have a damaging effect on our bodies and generally it’s our skin that can bear the brunt of a hectic and stressful festive season. From Christmas-induced, to eating a diet high in sugar and fat, drinking alcohol or suffering from fatigue – all of these lifestyle choices can take a toll on our skin and we tend to forget that the skin is actually the body’s largest organ!”
Cara says: “There’s no fool proof recipe for clear and glowing skin, but there are a number of steps and precautions you can follow to increase your chances of maintaining a festive Christmas glow this year.”
endota spa, Australia’s largest day spa, has teamed up with independent GP, Lily Tomas to provide their top tips for a skin survival guide this Christmas:
endota spa recently revealed that 56 per cent of Australian women report an increase in stress levels at this time of year.
According to Cara: “Most of us are aware that high levels of stress can play havoc on our skin, but we often don’t realise quite how much of a direct effect this can have. I’m often asked if there is anything you can do to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and the first thing I tell them to do is relax and stop frowning! It may seem obvious but constant muscle tension (like frowning) can lead to permanent wrinkling, as facial expressions used when we are stressed can cause deep lines (like crow’s feet or frown lines), often lasting beyond the stressful period.”
The best way to tackle stress as advised by Dr Tomas is to get to the root of the problem – take a look at what the triggers are which are causing you to be stressed and then explore ways in which you can address these triggers, as opposed to attempting to only remedy the skin which is affected. “The best gift someone can give at this time of year is the gift of relaxation! The most effective way of reducing your stress levels is to solely dedicate time to relax; I recommend a relaxation massage at your local day spa as during a treatment is one of the only times you are asked to turn off your phone. Spas are an oasis of calm and the dramatic reduction in the levels of cortisol is generally a sign of a massage’s effectiveness.”
Put down the piece of chocolate. We all know that too much sugar is a no no for our skin, but do we really know why? Well, research has shown that high sugar foods can significantly damage the collagen and elastin in your skin.
“Sugar attaches to the collagen through a process called glycation and when this usually springy and resilient collagen and elastin becomes dry, brittle and inflexible, the more likely it is you’re your skin will sag and develop wrinkles in the long term,” Cara says.
“This Christmas your collagen and elastin are going to need all the help they can get. A fabulous natural ingredient which helps look after collagen is extract from a type of Aloe Vera plant called Aloe Vera Barbedensis; the extract from the plant is full of the necessary co-factors, i.e. the vitamins and minerals that are needed to stimulate the dermal fibroblast (a cell which looks after the maintenance of our collagen).”
Aloe Vera Barbadensis is one of two core ingredients that makes up all of the products in endota spa’s ceutical anti-ageing range – the collagen serum is a must for those who are looking to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
“I’m sure many of us can appreciate the feeling of dehydration the morning after a heavy night at the work Christmas do, but it’s not just a lack of liquids which our bodies are struggling with the morning after; the effect of alcohol on the skin has a similar effect to the rest of your body,” Cara says.
Drinking too much is also thought to deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients; specifically Vitamin A, which is essential for cell renewal and turnover, which is why sometimes the skin can lose its glow.
“Water serves as a type of internal moisturizer for your skin, which is why staying thoroughly hydrated can help to smooth out wrinkles, and make your skin appear brighter and younger. It is therefore key to remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water – try and drink a glass of water between every alcoholic drink you have and this will improve your chances of staying hydrated,” Cara explains.
“There are a number of natural ingredients I recommend looking out for when trying to rehydrate the skin; for example, macadamia oil is extremely hydrating and penetrates the skin brilliantly. I also recommend shea butter, lillypilly and rosehip and myrrh oil as they are packed full of antioxidants. I personally love endota’s organics lilly pilly body moisturiser!
“As increased blood flow can leave the skin drier, I recommend maintaining a consistent skincare routine which includes cleansing, toning but most importantly moisturizing day and night. I always opt a regenerating night cream for the night time and a hydrating, but SPF moisturiser for the daytime.”
Lack of sleep
“If you are consistently not getting enough sleep it can affect your skin’s regeneration function, resulting in dullness, fatigue, under-eye circles and bags and bloodshot eyes,” Cara says.
“It is important to remember that the skin around the eyes is where it is the thinnest on the entire body, with just 10 layers – it is for this reason you’re eyes are extremely sensitive and often the first giveaway if you’ve had a late one the night before!
“If you suffer from puffy eyes, use cucumber slices as mini ice packs on the eyes; they constrict the blood and lymph vessels that bring fluid to the area – there is a genuine reason behind this!”
Similarly to using cucumber, there a number of healing properties associated with natural ingredients, for example pea extract has been known to stimulate collagen which improves skin elasticity and firmness. Green tea extract is also packed with antioxidants which help to shield against environmental damage and fortify against future damage.
Dr Lily Tomas recommends “sleeping with your head slightly elevated to prevent fluid from pooling around the eye area.”
Just because gambling, boozing and late nights (come early mornings) isn’t your scene doesn’t mean that you should discount visiting Las Vegas on your next trip to the US of A – and here are some reasons why…
Highroller Ferries Wheel at the LINQ
Situated in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, the High Roller is the main feature of a $550 million open-air entertainment district, The LINQ Promenade. The High Roller in Las Vegas isn’t your average Ferris wheel, it’s actually an observation wheel – currently the biggest in the world a staggering 550-feet-tall. It still holds the Guinness World Record for largest observation wheel.
Grand Canyon by Plane or Helicopter
Definitely a must-do. Take off from Las Vegas Airport on a breathtaking helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon. Approximately a 45-minute helicopter flight each way. For something special land deep in the canyon for champagne picnic, and fly low over the famous Las Vegas Strip on your return.
Lightshow at Fremont Street – Neighbourhood Block Party
Downtown Las Vegas is famous for The Fremont Street Experience, it has been described as a project that blends vintage Las Vegas with high-tech wonder, live entertainment and more to create an attraction that rivals the famed Vegas Strip. It provides an intimate party atmosphere with a laid-back feel. The street experience also features a Viva Vision canopy and light show, zip lining, food trucks and live music. It’s hosted monthly on every second Saturday.
OMG, the shopping outlets in Vegas are cray cray, depending where on the strip you are staying outlets are approximately a 15min cab ride or there are regular shuttles/buses that depart from various points on the strip. My favourite is Las Vegas North Premium Outlet which has over a 115 store, with the likes of Burberry, Calvin Klein, Diane Von Furstenberg, Kate Spade New York and many more.
Sahra Spa and Hammam, The Cosmopolitan
After you have completed exploring the LINQ Promenade, had your picnic in the Grand Canyon, partied hard at the neighbourhood block party and pretty much maxed out your credit card at the shopping outlets, there is only one last thing to do; experience the luxurious spas The Strip has to offer. My favourite is The Cosmopolitan Sahra Spa and Hammam, one of the newest hotels on The Strip. The hotel itself is understated luxury with a very funky twist, it’s also home to Marquee nightclub. The Sahra Spa and Hamman is a 43,000 square-foot oasis inspired by desert cultures from around the world. With over 25 treatment rooms, luxurious penthouse spa suite and an authentic Turasis of indulgence and rejuvenation. You must try the body wrap!
The menu is inspired by regional flavours of Spain and France where Pablo Picasso spent much of his like. Highly recommend the White Alba Truffle Menu, the Ravioli of Butternut Squash is to die for, plus the restaurant boost over 1500 of the world’s best European wine. Definitely a treat!
Hotspot: Hakkasan at the MGM Grand
Not only is Hakkasan one of the greatest nightclubs on the Strip, attracting all my main men Steve Aoki,Calvin Harris and Tiësto but it also has the finest authentic Cantonese cuisine. Their description: “To enter Hakkasan is to enter a different world, a mysterious realm of the senses that exists beyond a hidden passageway. The Hakkasan DNA is all about a relaxed mood with a sensual vibe. The interior design exudes a sultry Shanghai-Chinois chic” – and I would have to agree!
Signature dishes include Stir-fry black pepper beef ribeye with merlot and Roasted silver cod with Champagne and Chinese honey.
And if you are just looking for that 2:30am burger and fries, I would highly recommend a visit to Grand Lux Café at the Venetian (the same inventors of The Cheesecake Factory). Their Avocado-Chipotle Cheeseburger definitely hits the spot, (the burger has avocado it’s still healthy)!
By Lisha Singh
Images via kuriositas.com, Google images, Legacy of Taste UK
The ‘Man’cation has carved an acceptable place in the Australian travel vernacular, but Aussie blokes are also now adding their stamp on wellness with the “Brotreat” becoming increasingly popular according to Australia’s leading health and wellness authority, Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia.
“We have experienced a surge in men enquiring and attending retreats with their mates and to answer the increased interest and demand, we have developed more specific male retreats to cater to a range of health and wellness issues that face Australian men,” general manager of Golden Door Australia, Brigid Walsh, explains.
“Before now, men especially seemed to struggle with the retreat concept; waiting until a crisis forced them to consciously put their health and wellness above other aspects of their life. But men’s wellness is a rapidly growing aspect of our business which we believe is being led by men recognizing and accepting that taking time out, focusing on themselves and learning new ways to cope as a healthy preventative measure that assists them in managing busy, stressful and at times – overwhelming lives.”
Partnering with unique wellness consultancy Sunshine on Legs, which specialises in assisting people to achieve a sustainable life balance, Golden Door’s Men’s Wellness Retreat provides an opportune environment for men to focus on themselves and their own health; motivating them to rethink the masculine ideologies that many men were raised with.
Sunshine on Legs co-founder and renowned men’s wellness expert David Ball says: “The emphasis on what it means to be a male can often conflict with health maintaining behaviours such as seeking advice about health and wellbeing, utilising health services and taking a break for ‘me-time’ when it is required.”
As opposed to the quintessential blokes getaway where it’s common – if not expected – for men to overindulge in activities that can be detrimental to wellbeing, a health retreat is a sanctuary where digital devices, alcohol, caffeine, junk food and late nights are off the menu.
“The advantage of coming to The Golden Door is that it gives male guests an opportunity to remove themselves from their daily stresses, step out of their current situation and make it possible to view life from a different perspective which can stimulate rebalance, revival and refocus,” David says.
David Ball’s men’s wellness retreat is held regularly at The Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia and focuses on giving men the tools needed to achieve a life balance and become effective leaders of themselves, their work and their families.
Image via healthandfitnesstravel.com.au
Snack decisions are made in a New York minute: currently Titou, Tartine, Tossed, Magnolia Bakery, but night dining is a production, tracking down the latest and ultimate dining experience. Savvy New Yorkers pick the winners from our shark pool of new eateries by a simple rule of three: what’s to see, what’s to eat, and who’s to greet.