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This time of year, with cold temperatures outdoors and hot dry air circulating indoors, many experience dry winter skin. For many years I slathered on additional moisturizing lotions during the winter months, and applied tons of lip balm. And yet I still struggled with skin that was so dry, it itched and burned. The corners of my lips would crack and get painful as well.
Since adopting a plant based lifestyle I learned an important truth about dry winter skin. Healing my skin begins on the inside. All that fancy, expensive lotion did little good in my battle against dryness.
A radical approach, to me at the time, included less moisturizers and more fruits, veggies, water and herbs to combat a yearly reoccuring condition. Check out my lists of healing foods to combat and heal dry winter skin, naturally.
- Water – We all know how important drinking an adequate amount of water is, for health in general and for the skin. Eight glasses of water is a good guide, just don’t guzzle it down. The body quickly eliminates excess water. Instead, sip on water throughout the day, allowing it to be absorbed more slowly. Fill a large water bottle, keep it nearby, and have a goal of emptying it by day’s end. Hydrating the body goes a long way in keeping the skin hydrated and supple, which helps to combat dryness and aging.
- Herbal Teas – These healing drinks count as water as well. See the list below for the best herbs to help ease dry skin. Two drinks to avoid, if dry skin is an issue, are coffee and alcohol. Both dehydrate the body, and the skin, contributing to aging the skin’s appearance.
- High Water Content Foods – Fruits such as watermelon and veggies such as cucumber have a hydrating effect on the body and therefore the skin. Check out the list of healing foods below. A very common food to avoid, to keep the skin supple, is processed sugar. It negatively affects proteins in the skin, aging it as well.
Water with cucumber makes a very hydrating drink.
- Celery – With its incredibly high water content, and vitamins A, C and K, celery, and specifically, celery juice, is so healing and nurturing to the skin. This green elixir is actually healing to the whole body. Don’t overlook what it does to keep the skin clear and vibrant. Drink celery juice every day, and watch what happens.
- Watermelon – All melons have high levels of water that hydrate the body. They also reduce puffiness around the eyes.
- Root Vegetables – These veggies, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, are high in vitamin A, which is crucial for healthy skin. Plus they regulate oil production and prevent early aging.
- Avocado – This superfood is rich with vitamins A, D and E, and good fats that give skin a healthy glow. Used as a mask on the face, avocado penetrates skins cells, helping to renew them.
- Almonds – This nut contains vitamin E and has powerful antioxidant, anti-aging and even anti-cancer properties that support skin health.
- Red and Yellow Bell Peppers – These veggies, high in vitamin C, diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Berries – All berries are antioxidant, helping to nourish the skin while preventing signs of premature aging. They counter free radicals, which damage skin cells.
- Cucumbers – This veggie has a very high water content, hydrating the skin and improving elasticity. Add sliced cucumber to water and sip on it throughout the day.
- Walnuts, Hemp Seeds & Flaxseed – These are valuable as they provide plant based Omega 3s, which are vital to healthy skin.
- Dandelion – This plant is edible, from roots to bright yellow flowers. Dandelion is especially important as it detoxes the liver, and the health of the liver greatly affects the health of skin. When the liver is sluggish, toxins can show up as dry, dull or itchy patches on the surface of the skin. Use dandelion essential oil or brew tea from the leaves. The roots, which are more bitter, make a great substitute for coffee.
- Burdock – This herb balances the liver and helps to move lymph fluid throughout the lymphatic system, which results in clearer, healthier skin. Drink as a tea or take as a capsule supplement.
- Calendula – One of my favorite herbs to grow, this plant has bright yellow blooms that fight inflammation in the skin and promote skin cell repair. Use as an essential oil or drink as a tea.
- Comfrey – A common herb, comfrey contain allantoin, which heals and repairs dry, damaged skin. Use as an essential oil or in tea form.
- Lavender – Well known for its healing properties, lavender is soothing to the skin and helps to prevent fine lines and wrinkles. Use in tea form or as an essential oil, adding it to skin serums and lotions.
- Rose – This traditional flower has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiaging properties. It nourishes as it hydrates. Rose water is a gentle alternative to washing the face with soaps.
Additional Tips to Combat Dry Winter Skin
- Use a Cold Water Humidifier – The heated air in homes, during the winter, is very drying, and damaging to skin. Use a cold water humidifier while sleeping, adding a few drops of lavender essential oil.
- Avoid Hot Water – Don’t wash the face with hot water. Instead, use warm water. And don’t wash the face in the mornings. Doing so strips the skin of natural oils that the body creates overnight. We think of this oil as a nuisance, however it is the best personalized moisturizer for our skin, as we created it. Smooth the natural oil over the face and neck. If you are prone to breakouts, or the thought of not cleansing your face in the morning bothers you, try using a gentle cleanser such as rose water. A microfiber cloth and water gently cleans the face, without using soap.
I stopped using expensive lotions and moisturizers last winter, with a bit of trepidation I admit. Also, I switched to plant based shower soaps, shampoo and conditioner, and chemical free laundry products.
In the evenings before bed I use a Norwex microfiber cloth and warm water to cleanse my face, and apply a homemade skin serum that contains lavender, frankincense and calendula essential oils. Recipe HERE. I use BOOM makeup, with is made with simple, all natural ingredients. Review HERE.
The skin on my arms and legs used to get so dry during the winter months that I’d scratch them until I created painful welts. However, this is the second winter that I haven’t used any lotions on my body.
As a result of staying hydrated, eating foods with high water content and using healing herbs, I don’t need the lotions. My skin is healthy, supple and not a bit dry. For the first time in my adult life, I have not had dry cracks in the corners of my mouth, or chapped lips during the cold winter months.
My skin glows, with a health that begins with a nourished, healthy body. And that feels very good to me.
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