Strategies for Maintaining Healthy Skin During the Winter
In order to remain adequately hydrated it is important to strive for consuming 2 litres of water daily. If you are physically active you should increase this to 2.5-3 litres depending on the intensity of activity. During winter months, avoid drinking cold water. Only drink water that is room temperature or warmer.
Some people drink adequate amounts of water but still remain incredibly dehydrated. This can be a sign that there is substantial internal inflammation (which dramatically increases the body's daily water requirement) or perhaps signal that there is an issue with absorbing the water being consumed. Problems with absorption are often associated with mineral deficiencies, particularly potassium or magnesium deficiencies. Speak with a naturopathic doctor if you feel this may be relevant to you.
Adjusting your diet seasonally is an important component of maintaining optimal health. If you experience dry skin during the winter months it is particularly important that you avoid dry, cold foods and make the switch to fall-winter warm foods. The body needs to warm food up to body temperature in order for it to be properly digested. If you are eating cold food during a winter months it is unnecessarily taxing on the system and can deplete energy reserves, thereby compromising metabolic function.
- Cold liquids and foods (foods should be room temperature or warmer)
- Foods that can be dehydrating - caffeine, hot & spicy foods, processed foods (high in sodium), fried foods, sugar
- Anything dried - crackers, dried fruit, nuts, seeds
- Fruits - anything tropical
Exposure to dry cold air saps the skin of its moisture. Ensure that you are always wearing gloves and a scarf to protect the lower half of your face - which is particularly sensitive to cold exposure.
Dry Skin Brushing
Benefits of dry skin brushing include:
- Removes dead layers of skin cells.
- Keeps pores open and functioning. Facilitates the ability of the skin to eliminate toxins.
- Increases circulation of blood to the skin as well as the underlying tissues and organs.
- Cleanses and strengthens the lymphatic system.
- Stimulates the oil producing glands, which facilitates self-hydration of the skin.
- Rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating the nerve ends in the skin.
- Boosts immune function thereby preventing colds (especially when done in conjunction with hot-cold showers)
- Contributes to healthy muscle tone and better distribution of fat deposits. With continued use, it breaks down cellulite.
For tips on how to properly dry skin brush visit our website and read our handout - Dry Skin Brushing
AlkaBathingFrequent hot showers dry out the skin, but leisurely soaks in the a bath with alkaline salts will rehydrate the skin. Epsom salts are ideal for relaxing tense muscles, however they do not hydrate and detoxify the skin the way alkaline salts do. In fact, epsom salts can dry out the skin and so it is important to rinse off after an epsom bath. Whenever showering make sure to finish the shower with cold or cooler water to help close the pores thereby preventing excessive water loss.
The AlkaBath salts are comprised of: sodium bicarbonate, sea salt, sodium carbonated, natural minerals, agate, carneol, citrine, chrysoprase, chalcedony, sapphire, rock crystal and onyx. Rich in minerals, when added to the bath they alkalinize the water and help to draw toxins and acids out of the skin. Alkaline bathing stimulates the oil glands - this self-oiling leaves the skin feeling incredibly soft.
After 60 minutes of being in the bath, the rate of detoxification increases exponentially. So, staying in the bath for 75-120 minutes is ideal. That being said ANY amount of time spent AlkaBathing is incredibly therapeutic for your skin and will help prevent dryness.
Switching Your Personal Care Products
Your diet is not the only thing that should change with the season. Your skin's needs also change with season and so the products you use should adjust accordingly. Your skin requires more hydration in the winter months and so the ideal approach is to pair a nourishing oil with a thick cream.
- Oils penetrate to nourish all layers of the skin (not just the surface). Choose a hydrating oil such as apricot kernel oil and apply it morning and night after bathing, when the skin is still damp (this facilitates easier application).
- Cream-based moisturizers tend to sit more on the surface of skin. This allows them to provide continued hydration to the uppermost layer of skin for a longer period after application. Apply cream-based moisturizers after oil has fully absorbed into the skin.
- Castor oil is a thick oil that is quells inflammation, soothes irritated skin and is incredibly hydrating. Due to its thickness castor oil is best applied at night.
For more information on selecting personal care products that match your skin's needs read our handout on Optimizing Your Facial Skincare Regimen
If you have dry skin that is not responsive to the above mentioned home remedies, it can be a sign of chronic dehydration and/or mineral deficiencies, a compromised ability to heal, extensive internal inflammation, or other complicating factor. If that is the case, work with a naturopathic doctor to identify the root cause of imbalance.
Dr. Jacqueline Cooper, ND has a special focus in helping patients achieve healthy skin and individualized detoxification. If you would like to improve the health of your skin, or are interested in working proactively to maintain the health of your skin contact Dr. Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a consultation. You can also find Dr. Cooper on Twitter @DrJCooperND.