Is Jack Frost nipping at you?
There is help for winter-worn dry skin. We visited with Jeff Nova, owner of Nova Spa in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, to learn about natural, holistic strategies to nourish, protect and heal your skin from the elements.
MTK: What is the Nova Spa approach to skincare?
Jeff: We embrace the opportunity to educate clients about their skincare from a preventative, proactive approach. We recognize the need to provide clients something more than risky instant gratification protocols that attempt to ‘defy nature’ using harsh topical treatments, ‘injectables,’ and synthetic formulas that rarely penetrate the skin. We’ve seen many clients whose skin, and overall health, has suffered from problems due to these types of treatments.
The best approach to skincare is clean, using non-toxic solutions, free of harmful synthetics and preservatives, that support the health the skin from the inside out. At Nova Spa we utilize nature as it was intended, integrating medicinal wild-crafted herbs, fragrant botanicals and mineral rich seaweeds into our facials and body treatments to help ‘defer aging’ by working with the power of nature. Our primary product line is Shira Organic skincare, which represents the finest all natural and organic anti-aging formulations available today. We believe in promoting youthful vitality for our clients, giving them a healthier overall condition from head-to toe, inside-to-outside—so they can look good and feel better.
MTK: For many people, the winter months create chaos for the skin. What are common mistakes that people make when treating dry skin?
Jeff: Many of us maybe unaware of the environmental impact from home heating, humidifiers, and hot water causing adverse changes in our skin. For example, taking a hot shower can rob your skin of protective oils that help hold in moisture. Other common skincare mistakes are not exfoliating, insufficient moisturizing, and not using sunblock year-round.
MTK: What suggestions do you have for a winter skin care regimen, both in terms of “outer care” –what is applied to the skin, and “inner care” including nutrition?
Jeff: Many people are not aware that, to maintain shelf-life, many store bought cosmetics and moisturizers contain toxic ingredients that irritate the skin and even contribute to poor health. So, a first step is to shift the products you use to those with more natural, preferably organic ingredients.
Outer care regimens are usually skin-type specific; however, a great regimen would include:
- Wash with warm water and a gentle moisturizing cleanser
- Gently pat skin dry, never rub or pull.
- Following cleansing, use a toner to balance Ph, lock in moisture, and protect the skin from environmental conditions.
- Apply a moisturizer for your specific skin-type.
- Finish with a quality sunblock.
When purchasing products, read the label. You typically don’t want a product with soap, detergents, perfumes…etc.
Our favorite Shira products, good for most skin-types are Shira Oatmeal Coconut Cleanser, Pomegranate Toner, and Shira Pure Avocado Moisturizer.
As for inner-care for the skin, nutrition is so important. From a holistic nutrition perspective, which is vital to healthy skin, we understand that ‘we are what we eat,’ and more importantly, what we don’t digest. Digestion, or the lack thereof, plays a significant role in how we look and feel.
- Water-dense tropical fruits help hydrate and protect skin. Most fruit contains high levels of vitamins A and C, powerful antioxidants that replenish nutrients, promote collagen production, and help maintain the vitality of the skin.
- Drink plenty of water to maintain moisture balance..
- Eating fish is important to supporting healthy skin. Fish contains omega-3 fats, which strengthen skin cells, help protect skin from sun damage, can protect against cancer, and help reduce inflammation. Salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and rainbow trout are all amazing for your skin. Grill or bake, instead of deep-frying your fish.
- Snack on orange and yellow veggies which are rich in vitamins A and C, and beta-carotene, antioxidants that support and protect the skin from harmful sun rays and environmental damage. Yellow and orange veggies include sweet potatoes, carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, red peppers, mangoes, pumpkin, and papaya.
- Spinach and other dark, leafy greens are packed with iron, omega-4 fatty acids, and vitamins A, B, and E, which protect skin and improve your immune system. Phytochemicals and folates help hydrate skin and keep it healthy.
Learn About Nova Spa
Nova Spa opened in Connecticut in 2011 and within three years expanded its enchanting treatment areas to two buildings, the second having opened in 2014. The main building houses a lounge with fireplace and custom, arched woodwork handcrafted by the owner, Jeff Nova. A cold press juice and smoothie bar overlooks a gleaming stainless steel kitchen area where spa guests can observe the preparation of fresh, organic salads, wraps, and beverages as delicious as they are nutritious. Nova also offers holistic health workshops and cooking classes.
With Jeff at the helm in the kitchen and at guest services, his partner Mariola leads the spa therapeutics staff. Originally from Europe, where many of the treatments Nova offers are in high demand, Mariola brings to her role nearly 20 years of in-depth experience as a medical massage therapist and aesthetician. Together, Jeff and Mariola share a holistic philosophy and heart-centered work ethic for spa services and client care.
Written by: Karen M. Rider, M.A.
Karen is a contributing editor with Medicine Talk Pro. She has a decade of experience writing about holistic health and wellness. Karen holds degrees in kinesiology and health psychology and has training in wellness coaching, yoga, and health research. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Association for Health Care Journalists. When she isn’t writing, Karen enjoys biking and kayaking with her family and relaxing with a home-brewed cup of organic tea. Learn More about Karen