Putting Your Best Face Forward: Strategies for Winter Skincare
When the weather outside turns frightful, it’s important to have a well-stocked arsenal of protective measures to keep our skin looking and feeling its best! It’s especially important for those with chronic skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and Raynaud’s disease. Each of these conditions can be exacerbated by the combination of low temps, blustery winds and lack of humidity that comes with winter weather.
Too often, we wait for symptoms to appear before taking action, but when it comes to protecting our skin, prevention truly is the best medicine. Some simple changes to the foods we eat and how we care for ourselves can go a long way towards keeping us comfortable in our own skin, whatever the season.
The first thing you’ll want to do is moisturize to form a protective barrier between your skin and the elements, especially skin that is exposed or particularly affected by excessive dryness. Coconut oil is a great option for this, and is best absorbed if applied right after showering on skin that is still damp. If you can add extra moisture to your environment by using a humidifier to combat the dry heat, go for it!
Stress, too, can act as a trigger that worsens chronic skin conditions. Try to alleviate and manage stress through meditation, gentle exercise, or listening to your favorite music. You may just end up with healthier skin AND a better mood!
What many skin disorders have in common is research showing chronic inflammation as a root cause. As such, it makes sense to adopt an anti-inflammatory health-style as described below.
Foods to Avoid
Alcohol and caffeine, both of which are dehydrating, should be consumed sparingly, if at all. If you do enjoy the occasional glass of wine or cup of coffee, remember to rehydrate by drinking extra water.
- Gluten (includes wheat, barley, rye, triticale, semolina, spelt, and couscous)
- Casein (includes milk, butter, yogurts, and cheeses)
Foods to Embrace
Fruits/vegetables rich in Vitamin A (carrots, kale, spinach, winter squash)
Fruits/vegetables rich in Vitamin C (broccoli, citrus, strawberries, Brussels sprouts)
Foods high in Vitamin D (salmon, sardines, shiitake mushrooms)
- Bioflavonoids—citrus, berries, onions, tea, dark chocolate)
- Fermented foods (kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, and kombucha)
- Foods rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids (flax seed, chia seeds, walnuts, salmon, avocado)
- Spices like cayenne pepper and turmeric. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a compound used in many topical pain relievers. Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory compound comparable to prescription drug hydrocortisone.
With our skin being the largest organ of our bodies, what could be more important than caring for it as best we can? Making these lifestyle changes may not be quite the same as jetting off to a tropical island at the first dip in temperature, but they may just be the next best thing!