A Naturopathic Doctor's Tips for Winter Skincare
Tips for Winter Skin Care
The winter months are upon us and soon the cold weather will arrive. Before your skin starts feeling the effects of the cold, dry wind, try these natural tips that will help keep it feeling soft and refreshed.
1. Stay hydrated. This is always a good rule to follow but even more so during the cold winter months. Remember our bodies are composed of more than 70% of water and remaining hydrated will benefit your entire body, including your skin.
2. Snack on veggies. Of all the different types of food, vegetables contain the highest percentage of water by weight. This make them a perfect, healthy snack during the winter to keep your body and skin hydrated. You can also add vegetables into soups or stews as an easy way to stay warm and incorporate more of their nutrients into your diet. The following veggies contain more than 90% water: lettuce, celery, bok choy, cucumbers, radishes, zucchini, green bell peppers, asparagus and tomatoes. Eating an array of different color vegetables is great for your skin as they contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which protect and help maintain healthy skin.
3. Use a humidifier. Wintertime is one of low humidity and using your furnace, space heaters, or even a fireplace can further reduce the humidity in your home. Investing in a quality humidifier is one way to replace some of the moisture in the air. Plug in your humidifier before you go to sleep or in any room that you enjoy relaxing in to soak in extra moisture for your skin.
4. Eat more Omega 3 fats. Omega 3 fatty acids are the “good fats” that have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that these good fats protect skin cells from damage due to the sun. They also strengthen cell membranes and the skin’s barrier-like function which when working optimally, will seal in moisture. Food sources of Omega 3 fats include avocadoes, chia seeds, flax seeds, almonds, walnuts, and wild-caught fish like salmon, mackerel, or sardines.
5. Avoid chemical-filled soap. Some common ingredients in soap can be drying to the skin. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), which make soap “sudsy”, and Triclosan, an antimicrobial ingredient, can strip the skin of its natural oils and dry it out. Instead, choose natural and organic soaps to wash your skin, especially since you will be washing your hands repeatedly during this time of year.
6. Try coconut oil. Virgin organic coconut oil is a very effective addition to any skin care regime. It is naturally anti-inflammatory due to its antioxidant properties and will also fight free radical damage to help keep your skin looking and feeling more youthful. It is also antimicrobial so that it can kill off any bad bacteria on your skin that may be contributing to any skin disease.
7. Gentle exfoliation. As we age, the body’s natural ability to regenerate new layers of skin slows down. Gentle exfoliation will remove dead skin cells and reveal new, vibrant, and fresh skin. This will also help your skin better absorb your moisturizer and lotions.
8. Change moisturizers. Try using an oil-based moisturizer during the winter months to help seal the moisture into your skin. I suggest using a creamy, organic moisturizer that has simple and pure ingredients. Always moisturize your skin in the morning and evening, even if you have oil prone skin, and as often as necessary throughout the day.
9. Cover your skin. If you plan to be outside for an extended period, moisturize your skin before you go and then cover up your skin as much as possible. The harsh cold and winds can be very damaging to the delicate areas of skin, especially on the face. Once you return indoors it’s a good idea to moisturize again.
10. Avoid long, hot baths or showers. Using hot water or taking long showers/baths can rob the skin of its moisture. Instead of bathing with very hot water, try taking moderate-temperature showers or baths for shorter time periods during the winter. Afterwards, don’t dry your skin all the way, stop when the skin is still a bit damp. Then apply your moisturizer, cream, or lotion so that the water will become trapped under your moisturizer and be absorbed into the skin rather than evaporating in the dry air.
At Grand Rapids Natural Health, we believe that keeping your skin healthy year-round requires consistency, good habits, and safe products. If you are interested in learning how Naturopathic Medicine can help you achieve and maintain healthy skin from the inside out, contact Grand Rapids Natural Health today to schedule a 15-minute complimentary meet and greet with Dr. Carrie T. Dennie. You can also set up an appointment with one of our Holistic Estheticians to learn more about our skincare services.