In this piece, Karen Sinclair gives you all the information you need to keep your skin in good shape through the winter season.
Atmosphere characteristics: cold temperature, freezing wind; dryness produced by indoor heating.
Skin issues: roughness, dryness, tightness, irritation, itchiness, fine lines and wrinkles.
Remedy: shelter, gentle skin care, richer moisturization, antioxidant and EFAs rich diet.
- Always bathe/shower with warm water. Cold water causes further vasoconstriction. Hot water strips your skin’s natural oils more easily.
- Avoid taking long baths/showers. The natural oils of your skin, responsible of keeping the skin lubricious and regulating Trans Epidermal Water Loss, will be stripped.
- Purchase a shower filter. Unfiltered water contains high amounts of chemical compounds such as chlorine and fluoride which alkalize water. Alkaline water severely alters the skin’s pH causing more dryness.
- Bathe/shower with a mildly acidic gel. Soaps are usually very alkaline and will disturb the skin’s pH balance.
- Make sure you rinse soaps and gels thoroughly. Residue can irritate the skin and prevent active ingredients from penetrating.
- Tone after showering/bathing with a mildly acidic solution. An extremely important step as it will restore normal pH and hydrate the skin.
- Exfoliate frequently (2-3 times x week). It will help remove all surface cellular debris and keep your skin soft and smooth.
- Moisturize with a lightweight, ultra-nourishing, mildly acidic lotion. Oils and butters with a heavy molecular weight can’t readily penetrate the skin and will likely clog it. It is important to replace the natural oils that have been stripped after showering/bathing with a good moisturizer as these oils are responsible for holding much of the Vitamin C stored in our bodies. If Vitamin C is allowed to escape, you will be more susceptible to colds and other viruses. Apply moisturizer twice per day, emphasizing face and hands. Use fragrance-free moisturizers; fragrances can sensitize the skin.
- Sunscreen daily (SPF 15 minimum). Even though winter sun is less intense it can burn your skin; remember that snow reflects up to 85% of sun radiation. Reapply every 2 hours.
- Dry brush every day. This is an excellent way of massaging your skin. Dry brushing will not only remove all skin debris but it will also stimulate circulation and help flush toxins through the lymphatic system. Pay special attention to the rough areas: elbows, knees, feet, etc.
- Pamper yourself. Apply once or twice per week a living food facial using
- nourishing fresh ingredients, this will prevent surface build-up and provide deep moisturization.
- Do not forget your neglected areas. Apply to 2-3 layers of moisturizer on the rough areas. Use emollient lip balms liberally and exfoliate your lips at least once per week with a toothbrush soaked in the vegetable oil of your choice (preferably organic). Moisturize your hands whenever you wash them. Smear organic coconut oil on your hands and feet at night and cover them with and cover them with a pair of gloves/mittens and socks, respectively.
- Dress warmly. This will prevent further vasoconstriction and encourage healthy blood flow which, in turn, will keep our skin cells oxygenated.
- Exercise. It increases blood flow to every single organ of your body including the skin.
- Purchase a humidifier. Humidifiers help combat dryness caused by indoor heating.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Water is the most important nutrient and it also helps transport other nutrients throughout our system.
- EAT more water. The water from fresh fruits and vegetables is more easily absorbed by our cells than drinking water and so are the nutrients they provide.
- Go easy on alcohol and caffeinated beverages. For every glass of alcohol/cup of coffee you drink, have an extra glass of water to avoid possible dehydration.
- Increase your intake of EFAs (Omega-3) rich foods such as: salmon, flax seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, purslane, scallops, cauliflower, cabbage, cloves, mustard seeds, halibut, shrimp, cod, tuna, tofu, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, spinach, romaine lettuce and winter squash. These foods will keep the skin moisturized from the inside out.
- Supplement if necessary. If the aforementioned foods do not meet your EFAs needs, then by all means take mercury-free fish supplements. For vegetarians/vegans, you can find several algae-derived Omega- 3/DHA supplements in the market.
Seasonal Fresh Ingredients That Keep Winter Blues at Bay (Internally & Externally):
Avocado, Bananas, Chestnuts, Clementines, Cranberries, Grapes, Grapefruits, Kiwi, Kumquat, Oranges, Passion Fruit, Pears, Persimmons, Pomegranates, Pummelo, Radishes, Rhubarb, Squash (Winter), Sweet Potatoes, Tangelo, Tangerine, Ugli Fruit