With the arrival of the fall weather I’ve been talking winter skin care with many patients over the last few weeks. Many of us experience the inevitable onset of dry winter skin, but it doesn't have to be that way! Read on for the best tips to keep your skin moisturized and healthy all winter long...
It’s my rule of thumb that any face cleanser that creates suds or foam is way too harsh for our faces. These products strip the natural oils on our face and leave our skin feeling tight and dry. Our skin then works overtime to produce more oil and sebum, and along with the layers of moisturizer we apply, can leave our skin feeling greasy by the end of the day. We then resort back to strong cleansers to get our face "squeaky clean" and the vicious cycle continues. Instead, I suggest using only water in the morning to rinse your face and a gentle cream cleanser in the evenings to remove makeup. Instead of roller coasting between dry and oily, your face will naturally balance it's oil production and leave you with soft healthy skin all day long.
For moisturizing purposes, give oils a try! There are many varieties to try such as almond, apricot, coconut, jojoba, or rosehip. (I personally like rosehip oil for the face and almond oil for the body) These options are entirely natural, great at providing the skin with extra moisture, and do not contain the harsh parabens or phalates that most conventional creams and lotions do. All you need is a few drops, and contrary to popular belief they WON'T leave your skin feeling oily or greasy. In fact, many people notice an improvement in oily skin and/or blemishes once they switch to an oil moisturizer. For dry or cracked hands and feet, shea butter is a must.
Get your Omega On
Omega-3 fatty acids are the good type of fat that is found in fish, nuts, and seeds, like chia and flax. These fats are anti-inflammatory and great for skin issues of any kind including psoriasis, eczema and acne. Increasing your omega-3 intake can also result in improvements in skin itching, dryness and redness. If you think your diet might be lacking in omega 3 fatty acids, ask your ND about a high quality supplement instead.
Don't forget some sunshine (or at least the sunshine vitamin!)
Vitamin D deficiency is common in the Northern Hemisphere over the winter months and a recent study suggested that people with dry skin have lower levels of Vitamin D. Upping your vitamin D levels through diet or supplementation over the winter will not only help the immune system and mood balance (yay!) but also keep your skin healthy.
Avoid harsh soaps or shampoos of any kind that can strip the skin of its natural moisture.
Keep showers between 5-10 minutes and avoid scalding hot temperatures.
Use EWG's Skin Deep database to find natural skin care products that are gentle on the skin.
Stay hydrated - herbal tea anyone?
Take care and happy fall!