3 Steps to Quench Winter Dryness
Moisture, moisture, moisture! Where does it go and how can you get it back?
I wouldn’t be doing my job as a healer if I did not clarify that diet is fundamental. The less healthy fats you have in the diet, the worse it gets. In the body, each skin cell is wrapped in a protective fatty membrane that helps to seal in moisture and ward of irritation from chemicals and toxins in our environment. If you don’t have enough fatty acids nutritionally supporting your body, you cannot effectively replenish this protection in the skin. This leads to faster evaporation of moisture from the skin and dryness. This also depletes elasticity, which is what allows your skin to snap back like a rubber band and remain smooth and supple.
Step #1: Eat your moisture-makers!
Loads of beneficial Omega-3s, otherwise know as Alpha-linoleic acids (ALAs) can be found in delicious fatty fish like wild-caught salmon and sardines. Eggs have the perfect balance of omegas (yolk and all) and the perfect touch of useful protein. Grass-fed butter and ghee are fabulous sources of healthy fat without all the antibiotics and toxins. Coconut oil is one of my very favorite cooking oils and sources for healthy fat because of its natural anti-fungal properties, healthy omega ratios and high heat capabilities during cooking. Avocado, hemp, flax and sprouted walnuts are also fat-fabulous!
Another moisture-major factor is to address your environment. Weather, indoor heating, and pollution can really deplete. As your skin’s capillary system works hard to accommodate the blood flow response from extreme cold and heat, higher levels of moisture are lost from the skin in the process. The light, oil-free moisturizer you use in summer may not be the best fit for winter. A refreshing gel cleanser might be a smidge too astringent once the weather turns cooler and you are not producing quite as much oil.
Step #2: Listen to your skin and adjust your regimen based on seasonal needs and environment.
If you are experiencing more depletion in winter months, look for cleansers with a creamier consistency versus a gel. I feel the cleansing step is often the most stripping culprit. Avalon Organics Wrinkle Therapy Cleansing Milk With Coq10 & Rosehip contains soothing components like lavender, arnica, and my favorite…licorice root extract. For moisture, you find rosehip, sunflower seed, borage, and kukui nut oils all in one pump, to deliver high plant-based omega fatty acid content. CoQ10 supports healthy cellular replication and Aloe makes up the base of the product, giving an added boost of nutritional and hydrating efforts. All of this protects the skin’s barrier function and natural oils while deeply cleansing.
Use a toner to support healthy acidity in the skin, hydration and optimal product penetration. Your skin is best at a more acidic 4-5.5 pH. Those natural sweat and oil secretions in the skin create your natural barrier function, called the acid mantle. Even water can be too alkaline and strip the skin! So the best action is to fortify with a refreshing, hydrating blast of toner after cleansing and before applying your moisturizing products. Andalou Naturals Clementine + C Illuminating Toner works to acidify the skin while delivering loads of humectants, which pull moisture from the air into the skin. Additionally, you get the added benefit of vitamin C to boost radiance and help protect the skin from pollution, weather elements, and other free-radical attacks.
Add a humidifier to the room. Indoor heating is the worst at drying the skin and moisture resources. A good humidifier can be an inexpensive way to put a bit more moisture back into the air and help to alleviate dry skin, chapped lips, nose bleeds and other pesky cold-weather conditions. It’s even been known to reduce some snoring! Just be sure to clean them properly and refresh the water often.
Most heavy moisturizers tend to have a very fat molecular structure. The crazy thing is, those fat molecules are often too big to penetrate the pore! That means, your “nourishing cream” is simply sitting on the surface, hydrating dead skin cells, but never efficiently delivering nutrients to where your skin can actually use it to balance and change its moisture concentration. That’s why many folks have used the same heavy cream for years and their skin is still dry!
Step #3: Heavier isn’t always better!
Look for hydrators and moisturizers that absorb readily but embody powerful nutrition to support the way the skin is functioning and retaining natural moisture. One of my favorites is ACURE’S Incredibly Clear Mattifying Moisturizer. It penetrates easily and relies on the power of essential fatty acids from argan oil and lilac extract, in combination with powerful plant cultures like chlorella, clinically proven to support moisture, cellular rejuvenation and optimal collagen and elastin.
Add nutrient-dense face oils like Avalon Organics’ Intense Defense Antioxidant Oil With Vitamin C to your moisturizer. I call it cocktailing in its highest form! Before applying your favorite lotion or cream, add 2-4 drops of this oil to create a more beneficial boost to the skin’s moisture value and support system. Apricot, raspberry and argan oils, all rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids, absorb quickly to reinforce the skin’s natural lipid barrier and lock in moisture. Absorbable vitamin C protects the skin against environmental stressors.
As an added treatment while you sleep, layer on ACURE’s Magical Wonderfluff Hydrating Booster Mask before going to bed. With gardenia and argan extracts and a concentration of high omega-rich oils, you get a light-weight treat that replenishes while supporting more rapid turnover and healthy collagen regeneration.