Winterizing your skin

Winter takes its special toll on your skin, which may still be recuperating from the fiery assaults of summertime. Stressed from long hot moisture-barren days, the drying effects of chlorine water, too much time outdoors in the sizzling summer sun, and the dehydrating effects of air conditioning, leaves your skin ready to hibernate for the winter. Instead of getting a much deserved rest and rejuvenation, winter works our skin overtime as it prepares for the demanding task of defending itself against the woes of winter weather.

The chilling cold in the air from the sudden change of seasons can leave your skin chapped and devastatingly dry. Our winter atmosphere is notorious for scarcity of humidity, compounded by indoor heating which is winter's most vicious skin-drying scoundrel!

To better understand how to best take care of our skin, it is valuable to understand some basics about the skin. The skin is the largest organ of the body, it protects underlying tissue and is our first line of defense against outside invaders. It also has the ability to absorb as well as excrete. Healthy skin needs daily care, plenty of water, a healthy diet plus exercise. It needs protection from extreme heat and sun as well as cold.

Winter time skin care should be a high priority, both for prevention and preservation. Winter weather requires a dedicated daily regimen. Protecting your skin to ward off damage before it occurs can prevent a lot of unnecessary premature aging.

Here are some basics to keep in mind:

First and foremost, cut down on moisture loss. One skin-saving suggestion is to lower your thermostat. Use humidifiers but make sure they are well-maintained and cleaned frequently.

Sealing the skin with products that contain petroleum-based products can trap moisture next to your skin and give the feeling of protection. But since the skin excretes as well we interfere with its ability to eliminate toxins through the pores. Those trapped toxins only cause more scaling, flaking and thickening which will keep it drier than ever. The skin is then also sealed against absorbing any natural moisture that may be in the air.

Use cosmetics and moisturizers that contain jojoba oil instead of petroleum-based products. This botanical most closely resembles your skin's own natural oil and replenishes lost oils without clogging pores or blemishing skin.

Other tips to help ward off dry winter skin:

1. Spend sometime everyday outdoors, even if for just a few minutes.

2. Exfoliating, or sloughing off dead cells, boosts circulation to the surface of your skin allowing you to moisturize the live skin underneath.

3. To moisturize the skin from the inside, add unsaturated fatty acids to the diet such as primrose, black currant seed or flax.

4. The herbs lavender, peppermint, and chamomile naturally enhance the skin's ability to absorb moisture. Look for them in your after bath lotions.

5. The sauna is a good treatment for the skin, allowing elimination of toxins.

Till next time, Rebecca

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online January 9, 2001

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