Wintertime is notorious for leaving people with dry, chapped skin, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some easy tips for healthier skin through the winter months.
In the nutrition world the mantra is: if all else fails, support your liver. Your liver, like your skin, is a detoxifying organ and the average person tends to abuse the liver with too much alcohol, caffeine and toxins. So, begin your day with a glass of warm lemon water, which is alkalinizing in your body. Simply squeeze a half (or a whole) lemon into a glass of water and your liver will love you. Before you get into the shower, exfoliate your skin. Use a soft, natural fiber brush, brush dry skin up from your feet and down from your shoulders towards your heart. Do not brush varicous veins or damaged skin. Dry brushing not only removes dead skin, but also improves circulation, which helps to remove toxins. As toxins will be released and removed, it is important that your bowels are clear, so the toxins can be removed and not reabsorbed. If you are constipated, work on alleviating that problem through eating a diet high in dietary fiber and drinking adequate water.
A nice hot shower or bath feels wonderful in the winter, but is also drying for your skin. Reduce the temperature of your water and if you can stand it, finish your shower with cool water. Speaking of temperature, forced-air heat is drying as well. Reduce the heat in your home and wear extra clothing – natural fibers are best. Your skin will be thankful as will your heating bill. Pat your skin dry, and then rub lotion (no toxins in the lotion please!) all over your body. Occasionally rub your scalp and hair with olive or coconut oil and let sit for a few minutes before rinsing off. Your hair will be shiny and beautiful.
Your skin is a product of what you put in your mouth. Staying hydrated with eight glasses of pure water a day is imperative for a healthy body and skin (unless you have kidney problems). Alcohol, caffeine and acidifying foods are dehydrating and should be limited. Smoking is very damaging for body and skin, and should be avoided.
Free radicals are a natural part of your body’s metabolic function. Consuming processed foods, exposure to toxins, and unhealthy habits such as smoking, causes free radicals to increase to dangerous levels damaging our body and skin. Antioxidants are free-radical scavengers and help protect the body from damage. The best way to ensure adequate intake of antioxidants is through a balanced diet consisting of 5-9 servings of vegetables and fruit per day.
Essential fatty acids are responsible for healthy cell membranes, and protect us from the same inflammatory process that can harm our arteries and cause heart disease. The best-known essential fatty acids are omega 6 and omega 3, which must be in balance for good health and good skin. A 1:1 ratio is optimum, but 4:1 is acceptable. Unfortunately most American’s are woefully shy of Omega 3 fatty acids that are found in cold-water fish such as salmon and sardines, walnuts, flax and hemp seeds and oil, as well as chia seeds.
When oil is commercially processed, high temperatures are used and unhealthy solvents and deodorizers are added to the oil. There is basically no nutritive value and they can actually be damaging to your body and therefore your skin. Use those labeled cold pressed, expeller processed, or extra virgin. Since any fat, even a healthy one, is high in calories, we don’t need more than about two tablespoons a day.
When you consume a balanced diet full of health-supporting vegetables combined with dry brushing, cooler water, and natural lotion, your skin will look and feel much softer and healthier throughout the winter and the rest of the seasons.