Top Tips for Healthy, Glowing Winter Skin
We have collaborated with one of our Naturopaths, Jana to bring you our top tips for naturally glowing and radiant skin during the Winter months and beyond!
1) Hydrate the Skin Inside out and Support Gut Health with Proper Nutrition
Keeping the skin hydrated from the inside out during Winter is of utmost importance. We suggest adding foods into the diet that have a high water content such as soups, teas, stews or vegetables such as cucumbers. Also aim to include foods that are rich in Zinc and Vitamin C - which increase the production of elastin and collagen and are good for maintaining a healthy gut and therefore are also helpful for healthy skin.
Here are few food examples of gut and skin-loving foods:
- Vegan broth rich in collagen or Bone Broth: gut healing & immune support
- Garlic, Ginger & Onion: anti-inflammatory & antibacterial
- Quercetin rich foods (dark cherries, dark berries, sage, apples, raw cacao, dill): dissolves mucous, anti-histamine
- Coconut oil: antibacterial & anti-fungal
- Zinc (peas, pumpkin seeds, seafood, sesame seeds, kidney beans, beef, cashews, mushrooms) immune and skin support
- Vitamin C & bioflavonoids: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant & faster recovery, promotes collagen synthesis
- Taking omega-3 supplements or increasing the consumption of wild caught fish or flaxseed oil is helpful to give your skin the healthy building blocks it requires.
- Reduce mucous forming foods such as dairy, wheat, peanuts and corn.
2) Minimise Alcohol
The holiday season is fast approaching, a time when alcohol consumption increases with festivities. Also for many people, Winter is a time when consuming an alcoholic beverage is the perfect way to end a long, cold day. However, alcohol places a burden on the liver (which helps to purify the quality of blood reaching our skin). Too much alcohol intake can contribute to a grey or dull complexion, acne, as well as puffy, bloated-looking skin.
3) Choose Herbal Teas Instead of Coffee
Alcohol isn’t the only comforting beverage during the Winter months. A nice warm coffee or tea can also be quite pleasant. Remember that any drink with caffeine is a natural diuretic. This is dehydrating for the body and dehydration can create noticeable effects in the skin. Choose non-caffeinated teas with skin building herbs such as nettle, horsetail, cleavers, calendula or red clover. When you visit our Byron Bay town or Mullumbimby Santos Organics stores, you can also have a custom blend tea made by one of our in-stores Naturopaths.
4) Don’t Cut out All Carbs
Post-holiday season is a time when people become more conscious of weight caused by holiday overindulgence. High protein, low carb programs are helpful for leaning down a bit, but they can also deprive the body of valuable vitamins and minerals available in whole grains that help support hair growth and skin repair.
In my practice, I regularly see people who have been on ketogenic type programs for too long and experience flailing hair and dry, parchment-like skin. A high protein diet is helpful for a period of time for weight loss, but I recommend keeping it to 3 months only. After this period of time, start to add carbs back in: add 1 cup (cooked) of a complex grain like brown or wild rice to your daily dietary regime.
5) Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil is a win-win when it comes to healthy skin and healthy immune function during the Winter months. It is a whole food fish oil that contains vitamin A and D. This combination keeps the cellular membranes in your skin elastic and healthy. Vitamin A and D are fat-soluble vitamins that are necessary for both skin repair and immune function.
Healthy skin begins within the gut as mentioned above. The gut digests our food, pulls out nutrients and sends them to the skin for repair. The gut also pulls out toxins and sends them to the liver and kidneys for detoxification and excretion. If the gut bacteria are not in a healthy balance, our skin doesn’t get the nutrients that we need. Our skin also takes on the burden of dietary or environmental toxicity. If our kidney and liver cannot excrete toxins – they will try to escape through the skin in the form of acne, psoriasis, eczema and so on. A basic probiotic will help ensure that you are receiving the bacterial balance you require.
7) Support the Lymphatic System
Dry skin brushing is a highly effective technique for assisting the lymphatic system and boosting circulation and toxins elimination. Today’s sedentary life-style, general lack of exercise and use of anti-perspirants reduce sufficient perspiring. As a result, toxins and metabolic waste products become trapped in the body instead of being released with sweat. Dry skin brushing stimulates the sweat glands and opens pores, allowing your body to breathe and enhance proper organ function. Dry skin brushing also increases blood circulation to underlying organs and tissues of the body for healthy, glowing skin. Use a natural bristle brush from Santos Organics and always use dry. Brush gently over the skin starting at the extremities to the center of the body.
Another way to improve your lymphatic system health is to visit a sauna or an infrared sauna.
8) Cleanse in Lukewarm Water
Hot showers and baths always feel good in the Wintertime. When you can, particularly when just washing your face or hands, use lukewarm water to avoid stripping too many oils off the skin - this helps to have glowing skin in Winter.
9) Overnight Moisturising
In Winter, the skin becomes dry very quickly. Give your skin an overnight moisturising session before going to bed to help combat dry skin. To do so, apply any natural moisturising agent or moisturising cream over areas that go dry quickly such as the face, hands, elbows and feet. Rosehip oil is also a great choice, as it helps to smooth fine lines and reduce skin discoloration.
The above mentioned will help in keeping the skin healthy and moist to a great extent but I strongly recommend also using the preventive measures mentioned above for healthy glowing skin in Winter.
10) Avoid Toxins
Particularly if you have eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis - avoid allergens and irritants that may trigger a flare up. Winter skin is more fragile, so avoid irritating fabrics (like wool) and chemical-laden detergents and use mild cleansers and moisturisers designed for sensitive skin. In addition, glutathione is considered the “master anti-oxidant” and helps your body detox and get clean and clear skin.
11) Humidify Your Space and Be Mindful of your Breathing
The majority of people use some form of heating systems in their home during Winter. These heating systems also remove the humidity from the air, making the air dry, which ultimately makes the skin dry too. Thus to avoid this, try installing a humidifier at home or aim to create a cosy environment in the room without using a heating system.
Concentrate on your breathing: Meditation and breathing techniques like pranayama are very effective stress-busters. They help the body cleanse itself by getting rid of toxins. If you don’t know how to go about these, just do simple deep breathing. Feel the breath slowly entering your body, traveling to your lungs and then getting exhaled out gradually. Try these techniques any time you have a few free minutes in your day to de-stress and rebalance.
Special thanks to Jana @thesecret_kitchen for this article.