Cool Down Comfort - Oxygen Magazine February 2006
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Cool Down Comfort

Cooling bath and body products aren’t just a summertime necessity. After working out, you simply want some cold relief. Today’s growing crop of cooling products target every area of your body and offer a host of the other benefits as well from relieving sore muscles to perking up tired eyes. But they share similar purposes- to invigorate, revitalize, refresh and stimulate both body and mind. 

For the Face 
More and more cooling cosmetics serve a double duty by not only providing cold relief to flushed faces but also eradicating fine lines, providing long lasting coverage or creating radiant complexions. Increasingly, cosmetics companies are creating water-based makeup products- from eyeliners to powders- that feel wet and cool when first applied. They offer the same coverage and staying powder as traditional powders and liners, making them appealing to active women. 

Cooling mists are another instantaneous and effective way to hydrate a dull complexion and invigorate a tired mind. Many mists contain a host of essential oils, including none other than mint. Besides being cooling agents, mint derivatives also have a number of other dermatological benefits, explains Arangio. “Peppermint is a natural astringent, so it reduces redness,” she says. This is ideal when you’re heading from the gym back to the office or out on a date and don’t want to look like Rudolph. Just give your face three spritzes for a refreshing post-workout glow. Once you do, you’ll feel as fresh as if you just stepped out of the shower! 

Products such as eye masks-many of which contain aloe vera- refresh tired eyes while hydrating the delicate skin around the eyes and diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. The gel from aloe plants contains vitamins, minerals and nutrients and serves not only as a hydrator, supplying water to the upper and lower layers of the skin, but also as a soothing agent. That’s why aloe has been used for centuries to cure various skin ailments, such as burns. Just pop a mask under each eye for 15 minutes while you get changed and dry your hair. You’ll leave the gym looking and feeling revitalized. According to Dr. Lisa Kellett, a dermatologist at DLK on Avenue in Toronto, Ontario, aloe vera is a cooling agent just like peppermint, but aloe works most effectively as a cooling agent when the plant is cut in its pure form. Dr. Kellett advises reading products labels carefully, as not every product containing aloe will necessarily be cooling. 

For the Body 
Peppermint-infused exfoliating body scrubs not only cleanse and brighten dull skin but also leave your entire body with a tingly, perky feeling Dr. Kellett explains this is because the mint component stimulates nerve endings, thereby creating a tingling sensation all over. “The tingling sensation you experience is a topical reaction,” she adds. 

According to Arangio, if you read the label on most cooling products, they contain mint, peppermint, menthol, aloe or leaf oil. Soothing a cooling lotion or gel containing these ingredients over your body after showering also alleviates burning and aching muscles because these ingredients promote circulation. Not only do cooling lotions – some of which also contain cucumber and green tea infusions – have refreshingly crisp fragrances, which invigorate the mind when inhaled, but they also offer long-lasting cooling effects. For a truly cool experience, Dr. Kellett advises placing a cooling lotion or gel in the fridge up to half an hour before applying it. “You’ll get optimum cooling results,” she says. 

After a long cardio session, there’s nothing more satisfying than slathering your soles with a cooling cream. Look for foot creams that contain natural peppermint oil and menthol to revitalize tired, aching feet. These ingredients also serve as deodorizers, making them ideal to apply even before working out. According to Arangio, peppermint also has natural antiseptic properties, so it helps stop swelling. 

This winter, there’s no need to step into a cold shower for some post-workout relief. Simply recharge your body and mind with these invigorating products that’ll keep you cool from head to toe.

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