Winter can certainly take its toll on our skin. The air is cold and dry, and typically pushes us to do things that our skin just doesn’t like. I’ve suffered from dry winter skin for as long as I can remember and I’m happy to report that I think I’ve finally figured out how to keep my skin looking great in this crazy cold weather.
Skin is often the first organ to show imbalance. Because it’s an organ, what’s going on with your skin is often an indicator of what’s going on in the rest of the body.
The typical winter scenario is this: the air outside is cold and dry. When we get inside, we crank the dry heat (or sit by a drying fire). Since our bodies are cold, we naturally don’t have much thirst, so we don’t keep our bodies hydrated. We naturally crave “comfort food” such as pot pies, mac and cheese, red wine, and you know, bourbon. Then, we warm ourselves up in hot baths and showers. All of these habits are drying out our skin.
If you’re feeling flaky and frustrated, read on.
Lack of hydration shows on our face! When it’s cold out, the last thing we want is a big glass of cool water, but keeping ourselves hydrated is one of the best things we can do for our skin. Try to get at least 2L of water each day, in the form of caffeine-free teas, sipping plain old water, or my favourite, Winter Water.
To Make Winter Water, combine 1 cinnamon stick and a sliced, thumb-sized piece of ginger in a mason jar and cover with hot water. Let it steep and drink up – the ginger will help to keep your body warm and will boost circulation. (Note: you’ll want to drink more water if you’re physically active or consume caffeine or alcohol.)
#2 Eat some natural skin care
Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine would have you eating nothing but warm food all winter long, but eating exclusively cooked food can leave your skin looking a little dull. The solution to this is to add a little raw fruit and vegetables to each meal. These guys are full of phytonutrients, antioxidants, water, vitamins and minerals, which can help your skin to look its best.
When you’re eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, you get the“glow.” Especially glowy fruits and veg include: cucumbers, parsley, leafy greens, lemons and berries.
- Many people feel repulsed by a big green smoothie in this cold weather. Green smoothies are cooling in nature and can make our bodies too cold. If you’re moving to something more porridge-like for breakfast, add berries at the very end of cooking and be sure not to overcook them. Or, if you’re still drinking green smoothies, add some circulation-boosting cinnamon and ginger to help warm you up.
- Root vegetables have long been believed to help us conserve our energy in the cold weather. Many can be eaten raw by grating into salads or spiraling into noodles.
- Throw a giant handful of skin-loving spinach into your soup just before serving. My favourites: Turkish Lentil Detox Soup, Sweet Potato and Miso Soup, Coconut Curried Root Vegetable Soup.
#3 Get your skin-loving fats
Many people with dry, flaky winter skin are likely deficient in essential fatty acids. Fatty acids make up our cell membranes, and are crucial for helping to create a natural, protective oil barrier on the skin. These fats cannot be made in the body, therefore we need to get them through our diet. A good place to start is with omega-3 fatty acids, found in a good quality fish oil made from small fish (NutraSea is a favourite). I personally find that cod liver oil works best for me and am loving a fermented cod liver oil.
#4 Switch up your skin care
If you live in Ontario, the province with four very distinct seasons, your skin will need different things at different times of year. In the colder weather I switch up my skincare routine and opt for heavier oils to help nourish and protect my skin. I use Pure and Simple’s Kumari Cleanser (also works as a moisturizing mask) and plain old argan oil as a moisturizer.
- Although it feels great, avoid hot showers and washing your face with hot water, which can strip the skin of its natural oil barrier.
- Mix a few droplets of water with your face oil to help the oil absorb better, otherwise it will just sit on the surface of your skin.
Your home environment makes a difference, too. For many of us who live in condos, the heated, forced air can be very drying. Humidifiers are like angels sent down from heaven to help our skin look better (and to help us breathe better, too). My favourite brand is the Humio, because it’s small and cute and has disco lights and a tray for adding essential oils.
#6 Try a detox
Your skin is an organ and its condition can really shed light on what’s going on with the rest of your body. Detoxing is a great way to reset your body and help your skin look amazing. Contact me to learn more about a warming winter detox that will help to make your skin glow.