Keeping Your Skin Healthy This Winter
Skin is a vital protective organ, especially as weather gets colder. Outdoors, our skin shields us from the cold, rain, wind, and pollution. Indoors, it shields us from the warm, dry air conditioning and hot water. We expose ourselves to extreme temperature differences during the wintertime, which dries out our skin. As a result, the skin feels irritated and itchy. However, dry skin can be more than a cosmetic or comfort problem. Dry skin becomes a medical issue when it splits, bleeds and doesn’t heal.
TCM’s View of the Skin
Traditional Chinese medicine believes that skin problems are related not only to the influence of external factors but also to the health of the body’s fluids, functions and emotional state. The lung is the organ that nourishes and controls the skin. The lung controls the opening and closing of the pores to regulate sweating. Our skin functions as a superficial lung for our body.
In winter, not only is the skin sensitive to dryness but the lungs are also vulnerable if exposed to excessive air conditioning. The body becomes thirsty. If your skin is dry and has fine lines, you might have a yin (cold energy) deficiency. Other symptoms include a dry mouth, dry eyes and dry bowel movements.
Solutions from the Inside Out
Herbal remedies that address these internal problems can help the skin to heal from inside. The benefit of TCM treatments is that they don’t just treat the symptoms of dry skin but the root causes. This prevents the symptoms from returning. One of the famous ingredients in Chinese herbal remedies for dry-skin care is wolfberry (gouqi). It is the fruit of two species of box thorn. Wolfberries nourish and tone the fluids of the liver, kidneys and blood. Western medicine supports the benefits at wolfberry’s active substances: anti-oxidants, vitamin C, linoleic acid, thiamine, beta-carotene, riboflavin and trace minerals.
TCM’s nutritional recommendations for healthy skin include some of the same products considered beneficial in the West, such as avocado, olive oil, honey, pumpkin, spinach, salmon, berries, plain yogurt, walnuts and aloe juice. These foods moisturize from the inside and will help your digestive system stay healthy and hydrated.
Winter Skin Tips
Additional winter skin care advice includes showering with lukewarm water for a shorter time. Long, hot showers can damage the skin’s own protection and make it more dry and tight. Use air conditioning as little as possible and keep the air fresh. The use of fragranced lotion and cosmetics should be reduced because they stress the skin. Additionally, high-fat natural moisturizers (like pure coconut or almond oil) are the best. You should also drink sufficient water or herbal tea to hydrate your body from the inside.
A TCM doctor can further help with chronic dry skin and other skin problems. Contact Body & Soul to schedule a consultation. Scan the QR to stay updated!