The colder months can be an uncomfortable time for those dealing with winter skin issues. When approaching winter skin health one of the most important things to remember is the lack of moisture in the air. Winter brings drier, colder air which means we need to account for the lack of this moisture. The surest and easiest solution is to drink more water, but there are other things that can help, too.
Treatments for Dry Skin
Dry skin is one of the most common winter skin ailments and can easily be treated by choosing the proper foods and supplements.
Hydration and Absorption: Consistent hydration with quality water is one of the most essential tools in dealing with dry skin, as well as the body’s ability to absorb water.
Also consider adding a quality humidifier to your environment. This is helpful for dry skin, and supportive of lung health during the cold, dry season.
Demulcent Herbs: It is important to remember that dry skin should be treated from the inside out. Herbs that are demulcent, meaning moistening to tissues, are useful in a winter skin health regimen. Demulcent herbs, like Oregon’s Wild Harvest Marshmallow Root and Slippery Elm, draw moisture into the body and promote healthy mucosal membranes.
Natural Lotions and Oils: Externally, dry skin should be supported with naturally based lotions and butters. Shea butter, cocoa butter, and sesame-based massage oils Banyan Botanicals Massage Oils are all natural oils that support, not strip away, the skins natural oils. (Read labels on your products; a lot of conventional lotions and creams use alcohol as a main ingredient, which dries out the skin further.)
Treatments for Eczema
Eczema is another skin disorder characterized by inflammation and irritation that can worsen in the winter months. The root of eczema is usually multifaceted and can take time to identify the cause.
Balance Digestion: Many symptoms of eczema can be caused by food sensitivities, particularly gluten and dairy. Food sensitivities can be ruled out by food allergy testing or with an elimination diet guided by a licensed nutritionist or dietician. Digestive enzymes Rainbow Light Advanced Enzyme System and bitters Herbalist Alchemist Bitters Compound can help to balance digestion and begin to clear food proteins that may be causing sensitivities.
Liver Cleanse: Liver cleansing is another useful method for skin inflammation and irritation. Our skin is a living, breathing ecosystem that is a reflection of the internal health of the body. When the body holds on to excess toxins and hormones that are not being cleansed by the liver, the next route of elimination is through the skin.
Liver cleansing is traditionally done twice a year during the transitory seasons of spring and fall. This cleansing can be achieved through the use of both bitter and blood-cleansing herbs, like dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, red clover blossoms, cleavers, red root, and poke root. There are many pre-formulated supplements that support cleansing Planetary Bupleurum Liver Cleanse and others that you can take as a daily liver support Gaia Liver Health, Gaia Milk Thistle.
Anti-Inflammatory Food: The inflammatory aspect of eczema should be balanced with an anti-inflammatory diet that consists of quality oils like coconut and olive oil, dark leafy greens like spinach, chard, beet greens, dandelion greens, and watercress. Minimizing intake of meats, refined sugars, and carbohydrates also help to reduce inflammation in the body. A combination of turmeric and a quality fish oil daily can help to keep inflammation at bay New Chapter Turmeric Force, New Chapter Wild Alaskan Salmon Fish Oil. Healthy gut flora is also essential for skin health and can be supported with the intake of cultured foods—like sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, and kefir—and probiotics (Renew Life Ultimate Flora; product to be available soon).
Topical Treatments: Yogurt masks can also be applied to the areas of eczema topically and can help to re-establish the flora population on the skin. This flora is essential for protection of the skin and helps keep the barrier intact. Raw honey and cucumber can also be used topically for healing eczema. Being aware of what the skin is coming into contact with is also very important. Switch to natural based detergents, lotions, and soaps, as well as minimize exposure to synthetic fragrances; these are all useful steps to take to alleviate eczema symptoms.