Submit your skincare questions to Dr. Agnes, CEO of Herborium and natural medicine expert
For many, the cold clear
days of winter bring more than just a rosy glow to the cheeks. They also bring
uncomfortable dryness to the skin, especially on your face but also on your
hands and feet. For some people, the problem is worse than just a general
tight, dry feeling. Skin can get so dry it results in flaking, cracking, or
even eczema (in which the skin becomes inflamed).
Dry skin is never a sign
of healthy skin. So how do we stop winter skin problems before they even start?
Water is good for your
overall health, so it is also healthy for your skin. But the average person's
skin does not reflect the amount of water being drunk until your body is truly
no longer deficient, which means you need to drink a lot to reap the benefits
for your skin. Moisturize and hydrate your skin from the inside out by drinking
eight 8-ounce glasses of water-or more-every day. Mix it up with herbal teas.
Chamomile and mint are both calming and great for keeping you warm in the
You may have found a
moisturizer that works just fine in spring and summer. But as the weather
conditions change, so, too, should your skin care routine. Dry, flaky skin may
actually exasperate acne as dead skin cells clog the pores and invite bacteria.
Additionally, if the skin is too dry, it will produce more oil, which is not
good for acne skin. Find an "ointment" moisturizer that's oil-based,
rather than water-based, as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin
that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion. (Hint: Many lotions labeled
as "night creams" are oil-based.)
But choose your oils
with care because not all oils are appropriate for the face. Instead, look for
"nonclogging" oils, like olive oil, avocado oil, primrose oil, or
almond, apricot or coconut oil. Something with phospholipids (e.g., lecithin)
will be essentially beneficial to your skin as well. Shea oil-or butter-is
controversial because it can clog facial pores.
You might like to try a
DIY moisturizing mask once in a while. It's very easy to make.
Mix all the ingredients
together until smooth. Use a brush to spread the mixtures onto acne-prone
areas, and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and repeat every few
If your facial skin is
uncomfortably dry, avoid using harsh peels, masks and alcohol-based toners or
astringents, all of which can strip vital oil from your skin. Instead, find a
fragrance-free cleansing milk or mild foaming cleanser, a toner with no alcohol
such as a chamomile astringent (see below), and masks that are deeply
hydrating, rather than clay-based masks, which tend to draw moisture out of the
face. And always use all masks a little less often during the cold months-never
more than once a day. Hydrating masks may be used every few days.
This recipe for the
calming, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial chamomile astringent will last
you a couple of days.
3-4 chamomile tea bags or 2 handfuls of the
Brew the 3-4 chamomile tea bags. When it's
cool, splash onto your face or use a cotton pad to dab it all over twice a day.
You may keep the leftovers in the fridge for up to two day.
A nourishing cucumber
mask might be your skin's new best friend. The cucumber works as an astringent
and moisturizer, and the honey and oats nourish and revitalize. Cucumber also
works as an exfoliator, so be sure to try this at night after the sun has gone
down and use SPF as usual.
Cut the unpeeled
cucumber diagonally and spoon out the pits. Chop it up into smaller pieces and
put into a blender. Add the oats, lemon juice and honey. Blend until smooth.
Apply onto clean skin, focusing on the most acne-prone areas. This mask can be
used on your face, neck, shoulders, check or back, if that's where you need it.
Massage gently to exfoliate and get rid of any dead skin cells that may clog
your pores, and then leave it on for 15 minutes. Wash it off gently with
And don't forget, even
the most natural, organic, non-GMO ingredients may not agree with your skin,
even more so during the winter. Keep an eye on your skin. If you notice that
certain ingredients make your skin red, sensitized, or itchy, stop using them.
We all love to keep warm
and cozy when it's snowing or just plain cold outside. But central heating
systems (as well as space heaters) blast hot, dry air throughout our homes and
offices, and while it may feel good, it's not good for our skin. Humidifiers
can really help your skin by getting more moisture in the air, which helps
prevent your skin from drying out. Place several small humidifiers throughout
your home; they help disperse the moisture more evenly. You can also keep bowls
of water on top of or close to radiators in order to put more moisture in the
air. And as a general rule, try to keep the temperature between 68 and 70
Sure, soaking in a
burning-hot bath feels great after frolicking out in the cold. But the intense
heat of a hot shower or bath actually breaks down the lipid barriers in the
skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture. You're better off with just warm
water and a shorter soaking period, and never wash your face with hot water.
Bonus: Add some oats to
your next bath for extra moisturization. Put steel-cut oats in a linen cloth
and hang under the stream of water.
Sunscreen isn't just for
summertime. Winter sun-combined with snow glare-can still damage your skin.
Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face and your hands (if they're
exposed) about 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply frequently if you stay
outside a long time.
Along with your daily
AcnEase® and a diet rich in the omega 3 family of healthy fats (salmon,
sardines, anchovies, sablefish and halibut), it is good to take a high-quality
fish oil or krill capsule for supple, smooth skin. Zinc is another great
supplement for acne skin because it helps to rejuvenate the skin and helps the
skin to grow. If you suffer from acne, take 15mg of zinc a day. Also add
zinc-rich pumpkin seeds to your winter diet.
Vitamin A is especially
helpful for acne, so try to drink a glass of carrot juice a day, or at least
every other day. You can also mix carrot juice with cabbage, apple, and
beetroot juice, all of which will benefit your skin.
During the winter
months, we tend to move our exercise indoors, either at home or at the gym. But
if you do exercise outdoors in the cold, don't be fooled into thinking less
sweat means you can shower less. Whether you exercise indoors or outdoors, you
should always wash your skin immediately after exercising. And of course,
follow up with plenty of moisturizer.
With winter's harsh
weather comes lots of holiday fun, which unfortunately can bring with it more
stress. Your skin may need you to get more sleep this season, as stress and
fatigue can increase the production of hormones by the adrenal glands, which
can exacerbate acne. So if you need an excuse to go to bed a little earlier
this weekend, or sleep in an extra hour, just say you're doing it for your
And, of course, don't
forget to wash your face of oil, dirt and makeup before bed and moisturize
afterward. Even the best makeup remaining on your face overnight will add to
Our acne-prone areas
always need our utmost attention, so don't forget to moisturize your feet and
your hands too, and most of all, don't skip your doing your acne treatment!
With a Promise of Clear