With autumn and winter rapidly approaching, it’s a good idea to think ahead a little toward cold weather skin care. The dryer air and cold temperatures of winter can be challenging to healthy skin, damaging the sensitive lipid barrier and causing a myriad skin issues. With winter comes eczema, flaky and splitting skin, acne, and pasty, unhealthy tinged skin. With a little bit of diligence, though, you can get through to spring looking your usual gorgeous self.
The first thing you must remember is that your skin still needs Vitamin D. During warmer days you should consider getting out and getting some sun on your face. If the weather turns too cold to expose your face or other skin to the sun, an occasional trip to a tanning salon can give your skin the Vitamin D that it needs. While seasons change, your need for Vitamin D doesn’t. You don’t need to park on a tanning bed until you look like you live on a beach, but a twenty minute session two or three times a week will keep you from experiencing dangerous Vitamin D deficiencies throughout the cold months. You may also want to take supplements. If you do supplement, use Vitamin D3 supplements, which are far superior to the older Vitamin D (2) products. You can now get organic dairy products with D3 added as well. Vitamin D deficiency can wreak havoc on every system of your body, so make sure you get only the best supplements and as much of it from sunshine as possible. Contrary to widespread opinions, your skin will wrinkle faster with a lack of this vital nutrient than it will if you spend a few minutes in the sun each day. The Vitamin itself works to fight any wrinkling caused by normal amounts of sunshine.
A second consideration is that the Omega 3 oils are still important even if your body isn’t using them to alleviate the effects of UV rays. Omega 3 coats your cells in the type of oil they need to absorb both oxygen and nutrients. If you are considering a low fat diet for the winter, don’t consider compromising your Omega 3 intake. The added lubricant around your cells will also protect them from hostile low temperatures.
When it gets frigid outside you will be dressing to stay warm. Some types of materials can irritate skin. Wear cotton close to your skin and leave the scratchier wools for outer layers. Avoid synthetic fibers whenever possible. Synthetics contain toxins which won’t help you avoid eczema or dry itchy skin. If you must wear synthetic fibers, wear a soft natural fiber underneath it. You want to dress warm, but you also want your skin to be able to breath easily and keep it from irritation.
When outside wear a non-toxic healing balm on exposed skin areas such as your lips and nose. Inside, make sure your bath products are as toxin free as possible. Products with fragrances may be natural, but they can also be dehydrating so avoid scented products. Products that provide rich suds also dry skin, not to mention other damages they can do when absorbed into the skin. Always moisturize with a good toxin free moisturizer after bathing and again before going outside. If your skin needs oil as well as moisture, olive oil will provide good protection from the cold. If the air in your home is too dry a humidifier will help fight dry, itchy skin. If you don’t have access to a humidifier, boil a tea kettle or pan of water now and then to put some humidity in your air.
Moisture in the air isn’t the only moisture that becomes scarce in winter. In cooler temperatures you can be easily fooled about the amount of water you are drinking. You might not realize that your body sweats at low temperatures just as it does at high temperatures, too, so you won’t feel the dehydration as sharply or quickly as you will in the summer heat. Dehydration, though, will be just as hard on your body and skin as it is any other time of the year. Dehydrated skin is more susceptible to damage from dry, frigid weather than moist skin. Make sure you are getting enough to drink. Choose water that is not fluoridated as the fluoride can cause a whole new host of problems to contend with.
When winter is at it’s most damaging, by paying attention to these few details we can keep our skin looking and feeling good all year round. Your face will be just as radiant at the ski lodge fireplace as it was at the beach bonfire just a few months before the cold hit.
©2010: Sally Taylor