Published in the Clarkston News 2020 Winter Health edition…
Another holiday season has whirled in and out of our lives and we’re left abandoned to face the next four months in gloom. That may be a tad dramatic, but if you’re anything like me, you understand. The blues hit hard this time of year and the harsh temps aren’t the only nuisance chapping our cheeks. From the lack of sun and humidity to the terrible driving conditions and sick people walking around, most of us are not in our happy places. All that aside, there’s something else keeping us down in Michigan: Our skin—our dull, dry, flaky, winter skin.
Alas, there’s hope…
At Forum Health Clarkston, I’ve learned how to fight the seasonal desiccation with a few simple steps to lead me all the way to spring and the glorious summer beyond. Winter is no longer my skin’s enemy and you can embrace it too:
Steps to Success
Food: Moisturize from the inside out and strengthen your skin’s barrier with foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and rich in antioxidants. Healthy foods like wild-caught fish, avocados, nuts, sweet potatoes, olive and coconut oils, and cucumbers keep you hydrated and work on a cellular level to keep your skin smooth and supple. Yes, this does mean that processed foods like sugary snacks and drinks, refined grains, fast food, and alcohol work in the opposite direction. Avoid those or age rapidly. You’ve been warned!
Fish Oil: Balance your skin’s pH levels and even reduce facial redness with a third-party tested fish oil supplement. That extra dose of omega-3s softens the skin by strengthening its cell membranes and allows them to hold water, creating softer, subtler, and wrinkle-free, youthful skin.
Manage Stress: Beat the post-holiday hustle and stay wrinkle free by managing your stress levels. We know stress is bad for hormones and blood pressure, but it will dull the shine right out of your skin too. Stress breaks down collagen and increases the effects of aging. Get your skin radiant again by setting aside five minutes every morning to meditate and/or by picking up a session of yoga three days per week.
Exfoliate: Decrease winter dryness by exfoliating one or two times per week. It is possible to over cleanse this time of year, so be mindful of your fragile skin barrier. A simple DIY sugar scrub can do wonders, especially if you make it with coconut oil—a special kind of fat that has been shown to increase lipid levels in the skin’s surface.
Make your own scrub using ½ cup of coffee grounds, ¼ cup of coconut sugar, and ¼ cup of coconut oil (put it in the microwave to melt it). If it seems to be too rough on your skin, add more coconut sugar. If you want to kick the party up a scented notch, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Keep the mixture in a mason jar next to your bathtub or shower and enjoy!
Remember, the skin is an important clue when the body wants to tell you something. Recurring skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and rosacea are all possible signs of increased intestinal permeability, otherwise known as leaky gut. In this case, you should consult with a Functional Medicine Nutritionist and begin a gut healing program to reverse and prevent further illness.
Forum Health Clarkston
7300 Dixie Hwy. Ste. 500 Clarkston, MI 48346