How does the cold weather negatively impact our skin?
With the change of season from fall into winter, many of us are already feeling the cold affecting our skin. The outdoor air is drier and colder (unfortunately this is made worse with our indoor heating systems that only add warm dry air our environment). In addition, the thought of drinking 8 glasses of water every day does not have that same thirst-quenching appeal as it did in July.
Signs that your skin has been negatively affected by winter weather
As a result of the colder temperatures our skin health takes a toll. The truth is, it’s not just our face that is affected (although this area does take the biggest hit). Our hands, lips, feet and especially elbows & knees are all more dehydrated.
Here are some of the tell-tale signs that you’re in need of some serious moisture:
- White, flaky areas on skin
- Sandy or rough feel to certain areas
- More fine lines or wrinkles
- Cracking, scabbing, scaling on certain areas (especially hands!)
Hydrate from the inside out
So now what? As a naturopathic doctor my philosophy to health is an inside out approach. Once we get to the root cause of an issue, you get results that last! In this case, the root cause of dry skin is dry air. So hydrating your body from within will limit the ‘moisture zapping’ effects of our surroundings. If drinking plain water is not an option (or the thought bores you), hydrate with herbal teas, soups, stews and water-rich fruits & vegetables. If you consume alcohol and caffeine regularly, you’ll need to up your fluid intake even more! At least one extra cup of liquid for every alcoholic or caffeine-containing beverage.
In order to keep the water you drink in your skin, a quality omega 3 supplement can do wonders for that dewy glow, even in January! Focus on a getting a formula that contains more EPA omega 3 than DHA. The higher the EPA, the more specific skin benefits you’ll get!
Create a protective barrier
Now that the inside is taken care of, locking in the moisture from escaping to the outside is vital. The problem is, most traditional heavy-duty creams are laden with petroleum, hydrogenated oils and other yucky ingredients that clog pores and don’t do much for overall skin health. So over the years I have been testing various brands that stand up to a real Canadian winter.
I am excited to share my new love for Green Beaver Dry Skin Therapy line of products! Although I’m not new to this Canadian company (a true lover of their all-natural soaps, toothpastes and sunscreen), I really wasn’t sure how this collection of products would stack up against plunging temperatures and wind chills. Boy was I wrong. Here’s what I’m recommending for head-to-toe hydration:
Dry Skin Therapy Boreal Body Lotion: Absolutely no mineral oils, silicone or parabens (along with a long list of other ‘no-no’ ingredients the company never uses). This stuff goes on white at first, but blends easily and your skin is moisturized, not greasy. I’ve been using it solely as a hand cream at my clinic lately and wish it came in a travel size. Plus it contains Labrador Tea for natural itch relief (bye-bye eczema!)
Extra Dry Skin Face Cream: I used to be afraid of heavy creams for my face, but as a doctor that understands the science of the skin, using natural oils and seed butters is the best way to rehydrate cracked, flaking or reddened skin. This product is great to apply before a day of outdoor activities like skiing or skating, or before bed for maximum skin rejuvenation.
Boreal Lip Balm: Hands down the BEST lip balm I’ve ever tried. And I’ve probably tried well over 30 in the last couple of decades. Don’t get me wrong, there are many natural lip balms that feel great, smell awesome and really hydrate my lips throughout the year. But none of them stand up to a case of cracked chapped lips like this stuff. The first ingredient is castor oil (which you rarely see in lip balm) but is super hydrating, anti-inflammatory and creates a powerful barrier against the outside elements. Please get one of these for everyone you know!
Here’s to keeping our skin healthy, happy & hydrated this winter!