Winter skin can be stressed skin. We’re colder…so we take hotter showers, we turn up the indoor heat, we stress drive our vehicle through the snow, eat more, lose our motivation for exercise, drink less water and increase alcohol intake. Moods change and according to the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, winter months can increase depression, with the highest proportion of episodes occurred in December, to March. (1) To make matters worse, when exposed to whipping Colorado winds the trend is to lather our skin with petroleum derivative products, such as mineral oil, in order to avoid winter cracks and bleeds. All of the above can leave our skin screaming for better days. Loving your winter skin is easy when you know how.
Begin with awareness.
Our skin is a reflection of how well our body is eliminating the toxins that build up on a daily basis, especially in winter months. Stressed skin holds onto toxins and toxins accelerates the rate of aging. Certain skin disorders have now been demonstrated to be affected by alcohol misuse, in particular psoriasis, vitiligo, and eczema. These skin conditions stem from immune stress, poor gut bacteria, dietary deficiencies and the accumulation of toxins in the liver.
Dry and stressed skin are the outward signs of a stressed digestive system, endocrine system, and immune system. For our skin to be radiant and clear, it is very important organs of elimination are cleansing the body effectively. If not, the skin will be overtaxed, pores will become clogged, and eruptions of one form or another will result.
Dry damaged winter skin, can increase telomere shortening leading to premature aging.(2)
Skin rashes can get worse in winter months. The prevalence for obesity rises when eating patterns in the winter change for the worse. According to the World Journal of Hepatology, psoriasis is related to obesity and metabolic syndrome. Studies suggest psoriasis and obesity are strictly associated, meaning obesity seems to predispose to psoriasis and psoriasis seems to increase the risk of obesity.(3) This is because obesity impairs dermal function to produce changes in skin barrier function, collagen structure, and wound healing ability.
There is also an association with psoriasis and depression. “Because of this, chronic psychological stress prolongs epidermal permeability barrier recovery following disruption.”(4) Mood disorders can be created from poor quality food choices that can cause disruption in our microbiome, leading toxins to exit through the skin. In the interim, teens and young adults are choosing tanning beds as a quick solution to their skins breakdown. To add insult to injury, women in their 20’s are experiencing more skin cancers.(5)
We reach for skin care products in hopes of finding relief from dry irritated skin conditions. But choosing the wrong ones are a waste of money and not beneficial. Skin care products containing mineral oil, for example, subject our skin to clog pores. Interestingly enough, there’s strong evidence that mineral oil hydrocarbons (6) are the greatest contaminates to the human body.
Create Healthy Habits for Beauty.
Understanding what our skin requires is understanding of how our 10 systems work together. Band-aid approaches that includes topical corticosteroids, methotrexate, or cyclosporine don’t work well when it comes to clearing out dry irritated skin, psoriasis, or eczema. Why? Because these medications have well known side-effects of suppressing the immune system even further.
Reversing psoriasis and eczema, and increasing our chances for healthy winter skin, begins when we take that first step toward implementing healthy habits.
1- Eating foods high in fiber, antioxidants and Sulfur. High-fiber foods include, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and apples. High fiber foods don’t include wheat, gluten or corn related products. Antioxidant rich foods include, garlic, ginger, raspberries, and blueberries. Increase Sulfur rich foods. Half of Sulfur in the body is found in the skin, nails, muscles and bones. Foods rich in sulfur include, pineapple, kale, Brussel sprouts, asparagus and parsley.
2- For healthy skin, exercise is important all year long. Exercise decreases stress, increases oxygen levels, and is a natural remedy for sleepless nights.
3- Water is essential for beautiful skin. Drink Hydrogen Water. Water delivers energy and moisture from the inside out. Coffee, alcohol, and caffeine dehydrates skin.
4- Choose nourishing skin oils in the winter months. Topically, I use organic rose essential oil and organic carrot seed essential oil, and organic Moroccan argan oil. Internally, I use organic, unrefined, cold pressed, coconut oil with turmeric root in green smoothies.
5- Take a moment to breathe and meditate. Meditation is helpful in retaining beautiful skin.(7)