With winter in full force, many of us have been battling extreme dry skin along with the extreme cold temperatures. The cause of dry skin in the winter months can be looked at both internally and externally. Internally, our blood vessels constrict when the skin is cold which causes low blood supply to the affected area. The cold also causes our body to sweat less, thus reducing the moisture level in the skin. Externally, the cold wind and low humidity in the winter months further cause dry, itchy, scaly skin. The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), says a whopping 81 million Americans claim to experience dry, itchy or scaly skin during the winter months.
So what can we do to help prevent the dry winter itch?
1. Externally, many people turn to moisturizers and lip balms to help combat dryness. What many people don’t realize is that the skin is like a huge sponge and many typical moisturizers found in stores have petroleum and other harmful chemicals in them that get absorbed directly into the skin and body. Watch out for parabens, 1,4-dioxane, Ethylene Oxide and many other harmful chemicals (check out our sources below for a list). It is also interesting to note that 1,4-dioxane is not listed on ingredient labels. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has ranked it as a possible carcinogen, and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) has identified it as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen. There are many organic products on the market today that contain ingredients that you can basically eat. However, even the organic or ‘natural’ ones you need to be cautious on. Why? Well petroleum is natural and as we mentioned is common in typical skincare. With organic, you can still find things like ‘fragrance’, which is pretty much a guarantee its a toxic chemical. The good news is that we at Upaya Naturals have already done the work for you. You can use a simple coconut oil, cacao butter, or one of our hydrating lotions that contain no harmful chemicals. Don’t forget to also protect your face with our full line of skin care from Isun. We also carry hemp based lip balms to soothe your dry cracked lips.
2. Bundle up and cover any exposed skin. Covering your skin will keep you warm and will provide a barrier from the cold and wind. This will help your body keep the moisture in the skin by allowing your body to warm up and perhaps even sweat. Gloves also help keep your hands warm allowing better circulation and heat to them.
3. Use a humidifier at home and at the office. A humidifier puts moisture back into the air by allowing your skin to absorb it. It also helps with dryness when sleeping since you are not breathing in dry air. We have a Humio Humidifier by Tribest. This neat looking device does not use any heat or fans to create moisture so you don’t have to remove any scale from the heating element or replace noisy fans. It is so quiet you can keep it on your nightstand and it also doubles up as a night light (a beautiful coloured one) The night light and humidifier can be turned on or off independently. We absolutely love this great looking piece.
Travel Tip: If traveling and you can’t bring a humidifier with you, and the dry air is really bothering you, turn on the shower for a short time and/or run hot water to produce steam to add moisture to the air. We always have a shower filter with us to help remove any chlorine in the water so we are not breathing it in or absorbing it through the skin.
4. Internally, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. We at Upaya Naturals use our Mountain Spring Water Filter to fill up our Life Factory glass water bottles before leaving the house to keep us hydrated with clean water. We also add 20-40 drops of Crystal Energy to restructure the water (“makes water wetter”) for better absorption.
5. Your skin also requires certain minerals, vitamins and Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) to repair. Zinc supports the repair process from the inside out. Other minerals such as selenium as well as foods and supplements high in anti-oxidants also help repair the skin by attacking free radicals and helping protect the skins DNA. Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium and vitamin A is an excellent anti-oxidant as well. Vitamin A keeps skin and mucous membrane cells healthy. When membranes are healthy they stay moist and resistant to cell damage. EFA’s are also important for skin health and proper skin function. We don’t recommend EFA’s made from fish oils since it is not a clean source. Why not go lower on the food chain and take what the fish eat to get their EFA’s which is micro-algae. We have this in a vegan capsule form that is quite effective and easy to assimilate, or you can get your EFA’s from chia, hemp, flax and other foods. Vitamin E is also a key vitamin for healthy skin and can be found in Tocotrienols.
So now that you know how to protect your skin in the winter, don’t just sit there. Plan a weekend winter getaway, go for a walk, tobogganing, skiing or snowshoeing or maybe even a swim 🙂 Get outside and get active. Enjoy the winter wonderland!