I can’t tell you the number of friends that have asked me recently how to prevent their skin from getting dry and shriveled during the winter. Since “winter is coming”, skin care is on our minds, especially those of us in our 40’s and 50’s who really notice the cold weather effects. Here are our best recommendations for youthful, glowing skin all winter.
- Abhyanga – daily self massage with high quality oil. See our separate blog post about it here. This is one of Ayurveda’s top anti aging practices!
- Stay hydrated. Although obvious, this is easier said than done. The cold temps can make us averse to drinking enough water (even room temperature), and we need to overcome that if we want hydrated skin through the colder months. Let’s make ultra hydration a goal this winter! Every morning, drink one or two glasses of room temperature water (bonus with fresh squeezed lemon!). Then, for the remainder of the day, have a mouthful of plain water every half hour. This makes a huge difference on your skin, energy, digestion, immunity, and clarity of mind.
- Avoid beverages and foods that dry your skin and mucous membranes out. Tannins found in wine and black tea (and to a lesser extent green tea and coffee) in particular are very drying. As the days get colder, we crave more warming drinks. Instead of black tea, opt for herbal teas like rooibos, ginger, and Throat Coat. (Remember that tea doesn’t count for hydration!) Drying foods like tortilla and potato chips, crackers, etc are highly processed, contain no moisture, and drain your body’s water reserves during digestion.
- Focus on hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables, as well as foods with fat and protein. Be generous with your healthy oils, nuts, and seeds this time of year. Ground flaxseed and chia seed contain omega 3 fatty acids and are mucilaginous, both a boon to your skin. The fatty acids in the oils will make their way to your skin cells, keeping them nice and supple. Toss them in smoothies and on salads and try this delicious chia pudding!
- Okay… don’t kill the messenger, but we should mention that alcoholic beverages are also very drying. If you are out on the town, stick to the rule of having a glass of water between alcoholic beverages. You’ll thank yourself when you look in the mirror late in the evening and also in the morning when you wake up refreshed!
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom. The indoor and outdoor air is very dry over the winter months. If you humidify your room at night, your skin will be exposed to a humid environment approximately a third of your day. It really helps!
- On cold days, everything in you may want to soak in a steaming hot tub or stand under a hot shower for a long time. Unfortunately hot water dries your skin out (in a particularly cruel twist of fate). Using the coolest shower water you can tolerate will help a lot. I find I can do this best when I shower right after a workout when my body is still warm. There will be days when your desire to warm up exceeds your desire for younger skin, and that’s okay. It’s what we do regularly that makes the biggest difference.
No one should have to feel old, dry, and shriveled all winter long. We hope that these suggestions serve you well in the coming months. Let us know how they work for you by commenting below!
Image credit: Cosmetic Northern