During the most sweltering parts of summer, I think fondly of cooler temperatures and imagine myself radiant and pink-cheeked. Unfortunately, once winter rolls in, it doesn’t take long for the reality of cracked hands, chapped cheeks and acne to make itself known. With the extreme temps outside combined with a deep love for my space heater, any semblance of moisture is quickly gone along with my daydreams of dewy skin. Besides staying hydrated and maintaining whatever skin care routine you practice, there are plenty of things to help keep your skin looking its best any time of the year.
Skin care is not limited to what we put on it externally. Internally taken herbs like nettle, ginger, burdock, milk thistle or dandelion can be taken in capsule or tincture form, added to your diet as a dried herb or mixed with your favorite tea. Consuming herbs in tea form does double duty by keeping you warm and hydrated as well as improving the tone and texture of your skin, not to mention assisting with the elimination of skin puffiness, redness and detoxifying your liver.
A lesser-known wunderkind for beautiful skin is horsetail herb. Horsetail’s roots can grow as deep as 150 feet into bedrock where they break down minerals and draw them into their cells. When we take horsetail leaf, we are absorbing these minerals and using them to build stronger bones, hair, skin and nails. You can see the presence of silica and other minerals in the rocky texture of its leaves. This silica binds to hair or skin proteins and serves as a protector and strengthener. If your hair and skin are suffering from the dry weather, try this rinse to make your hair feel silky again: Boil 6-8 cups of water in a pot. Turn off heat, then add about a cup of dried horsetail to the hot water. Cool to a lukewarm temperature and strain into a different pot. In a tub or shower pour the tea over your hair and skin. Finish by lightly patting your skin and hair with a towel to dry.
Horsetail also gives back to the earth by regenerating soil health and depositing minerals onto surface soil. You can also use this herb topically for sunburn or as a skin tonic for fine lines and wrinkles associated with premature aging.
Turmeric is widely touted for its anti-inflammatory properties in the realm of joint and heart health but it is also another useful inside-out supplement for skin care. Organic India makes a product called Skin Renew, a blend of turmeric, neem, and amalaki, which work great as a team. Ayurvedic medicine in general has worked really well for me with joint inflammation, but its benefits to the skin and lymphatic health are nothing to sneeze at.
EvanHealy makes a few great skin care products keeping the Ayurvedic principles in mind. One of them is the Lemongrass Facial Polish containing Neem, Tulsi and Manjistha. Tulsi, with its high phenol content, is extremely effective at preventing bacterial, viral and fungal activities. Manjishtha, one of Ayurveda’s most popular blood purifiers, is an herb that supports the natural function of the lymphatic system when taken internally; externally it is another excellent way to reduce the trauma skin undergoes during harsh winter months.
Neem contains high levels of antioxidants that help to protect the skin from environmental damage. As well as being high in fatty acids and Vitamin E, it contains carotenoids (similar to carotene) which provide high antioxidant compounds that help the skin defend against free radicals. Neem is easily absorbed, rejuvenates skin cells and restores elasticity. If used regularly, these properties smooth wrinkles and fine lines while preventing the signs of aging. The saturation of antioxidants and vitamin E will also help restore a youthful glow and balance the redness associated with irritated skin.
With all these health benefits its not surprising another product from EvanHealy is Neem Immortelle Infusion, an a certified organic maceration of fresh, whole plant immortelle in extra virgin olive oil. This and most neem products are well-suited for dry, sensitive skin prone to eczema.
Eczema sufferers often find their symptoms exacerbated by harsh winter conditions. Skin can become raw and cracked which can lead to secondary infections. While it can’t cure eczema, neem oil can relieve symptoms due to its ability to reduce inflammation and heal abrasions. Its strong antiseptic properties will also help to keep bacteria and secondary skin infections at bay. Please feel free to ask our Wellness staff about other products containing neem; there is a variety at each site.
Seasonal dry air takes its toll and adding oil to your skin care regime is almost a must for most people. Some of my favorites are sesame, baobob and argan oils. Sesame oil is warming to the skin while baobab is great for those of us with the driest of skin types. Argan oil closely mimics the oils our sebaceous glands naturally secrete, and contains plant sterols promoting skin rejuvenation and moisture retention. Adding any of these oils directly to your favorite body lotion is an easy way to incorporate their benefits into your daily routine.
These are just a few suggestions for you to ease your weathered skin. There really are too many to address in one article! Please feel free to ask any Wellness staff what they suggest as their favorite way to fend off dry skin as we edge into spring and more skin-friendly weather.