Some people seem to positively glow in the winter months - you know those people with the rosy cheeks and sparkly eyes? While some can feel all dried out and crinkly! Some simple steps can help your skin glow right through winter and into beautiful spring.
Inside Out: It’s important to remember that our skin is where our bodies meet the world outside. The weather may be colder and drier in winter, but what’s inside counts just as much. Our skin is not just a coat we put on but a reflection of our internal environment too, hence the importance of hydration and nutrition.
1. Hydration: If there is only one thing you do to support your skin, its keeping those fluids up! We all find it harder to drink water when it's cold outside, but remember that herbal teas are just as effective when it comes to hydration, providing they aren’t caffeinated or flavoured. Medicinal herbal teas such as nettles and rosehips will also provide extra cleansing actions and essential nutrients for healthy skin. A litre of water or herbal tea should be an absolute minimum. If you have a tea or coffee, add another glass of water for each cup you drink.
2. Nutrition: Hydration isn’t just about the fluids we consume, but also about how we keep fluids inside the cells and tissues. Nutrients such as magnesium and essential fatty acids like omega-3 oils are key for this. Make sure your winter diet isn’t all ‘comfort food’, but is still comforting! You may feel more like warm well-cooked foods instead of raw, but keep up the veggies with winter coleslaws and vegetable soups, lean proteins such as fish, organic chicken and legumes, and good oils from nuts and seeds too. Skin nutrients such as zinc are always important, especially if you have any specific skin complaints.
3. Circulation: Good circulation is a cornerstone of good skin health. Blood flowing to the skin allows the removal of wastes and the renewal of oxygen and essential nutrients. Support the circulation of your blood and also your lymphatic circulation with regular exercise: walking, running, jumping, swimming and skipping are all good options. Even a short walk from the car to work will warm you up a little, if you can’t quite face taking the bike! Ginger and Kawakawa are also excellent for improving circulation and preventing chilblains and cold feet. Have these as a hot drink to keep you hydrated and circulated!
4. Wrap Up Warm: Winter is a wonderful chance to pull out our favourite scarves, hats and boots and colour up everyone’s day! The right scarf can not only make you feel fabulous and keep you snug but also complement your skin tones and bring out the rose in your cheeks and the colour in your eyes. Many people miss this opportunity and simply don’t dress for the weather. Bare ankles or chests/necks are not a good way to go when it’s cold outside! Exposed skin will cause capillaries (tiny blood vessels) to constrict, reducing blood flow to the skin and therefore reducing its overall health. So please put a scarf on - silk and cotton are surprisingly warm if you don’t like wool!
5. Extra TLC (Tender Loving Care): It's often too cold to want to spend much time without clothes on in winter, but taking an extra minute or two to use some good natural oils to moisturise your skin from the outside will help compliment all you are doing for the inside too. Prevent dryness and flakiness with a moisturiser or oil that suits your skin type, and give your whole body the once over. Coconut Oil, Olive Oil and Sweet Almond Oil are all good options, and extra botanical extracts such as calendula can also be of huge benefit. Dry Skin Brushing is also an excellent thing to do before a shower to improve lymphatic circulation and skin health: Use a dry brush and brush lightly over your whole body, stroking towards the heart. This also helps with removing excess dead skin, leaving skin feeling fresher and replenished.
6. Address problem areas: If you are prone to eczema, dermatitis, acne or any other skin complaints, these may flare up in the drier colder months due to many of the factors identified above. Botanicals such as Poroporo, Kawakawa and Burdock have proven their worth for skin itching and inflammation. Totarol, an extract from the mighty Totara tree, is specifically anti-bacterial and excellent for pimples and acne, especially when combined with Manuka essential oil.
Just as you may put on sunscreen or moisturiser every day in summer, in winter your skin needs love and protection too. Though we don’t see our skin as much in winter, it still deserves our attention, and it’s worth giving it to feel your healthy glowing best.