The Winter Of My Skin’s Discontent

Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on November 17, 2009 by Paulina Nelega, RH

I was painting my nails with my eco-fabulous Zoya polish this morning, when I noticed that my hands were very dry. My gaze drifted up my arm, where I was mildly annoyed to find a slightly scaly elbow; a trip to the bathroom to fetch my lotion meant visiting the mirror: grrr, yes, my cheeks and lips had become wintered! What does that mean? With our colder, darker weather comes dryer skin. I call this period winter of my skin’s discontent.
Baby, it’s cold outside. So what do we do? Turn up the heat, natch. But that only exacerbates our dry skin problems. Internal heating systems are incredibly drying (they suck up any humidity), as are upping intake of warm caffeine-fueled drinks, and encountering extreme temperature shifts (car to shop to car to shop). Add to that our obsessive hand washing (it’s flu season, yo!), and our skin pays the price.
But hey, no skin off my (or your) back! There are plenty of things we can all do to stay hydrated inside and out:
– Water down: Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. This will hydrate every single cell in our bodies, including what’s outside!
– Oil up: Top up your essential fatty acids. I love Udo’s Oil in everything from smoothies to garlic mashed potatoes to salad dressings.
– Dish it out: Place shallow dishes of water around your home or office, or turn on a humidifier.
– Cool it: Take it easy on the hot baths and showers. Overheating can add to dryness!
– Dry brush: To remove dead skin flakes, try sloughing them off with a loofah mitt or body brush. Move the mitt or brush in small circles across your skin, along arms and up legs towards the heart. When you’re done, enjoy a warm (not hot!) bath or shower, then lock in moisturizer.
– Moisturize: Skin on face, hands and body all need help protecting its moisture barrier. For winter months, switch to a heavier formula. Try leaving skin slightly damp after washing, and massaging in moisturizer on top. It will help seal in the extra moisture!
– Get raw: Raw fruits and veggies have a higher water content than their cooked cousins. Eat up!
With this info now in rough, dry hands, I hope that you all find relief like I did! Oh, and by the way all that the dry brushing, massaging and lubing is rather spa like, too. Bonus: it’s the perfect way to unwind at the end of your day, and helps you get to bed (see yesterday’s post!). Enjoy!
Love, Sage
Read also Green Tea – Goodness in a Cup Read also: Green Tea – Goodness in a Cup

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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