Even though I am more of a Spring & Summer girl, there are many things I love about the Fall & Winter (I live in New Jersey, USA so it can get pretty cold). The crisp air, pumpkin picking, hot chocolate, the return of all kinds of comfort foods... the list goes on and on.
While curling up on the couch, sipping hot ginger tea and scrolling through crock pot recipes makes me purr like our cat Jubei, my skin reminds me these days that it needs extra TLC. The crisp outdoor air and the heated indoors, can rapidly dehydrate and dry out your skin, making it feel rough and dull. What are some easy tricks to keep skin dewey and comfortable through the colder months?
Add some Oomph to your Favorite Moisturizer
Whether we are talking face or body, one easy way to help your skin transition is to mix your daily moisturizer (face or body) with a few drops of pure oil. It will add nourishing lipids to your skin and help strengthen your skin's own protective barrier so that it can hold on to moisture for longer.
Re-charge with a Overnight Moisture Mask
Take advantage of an early night, and help your skin catch the ultimate beauty sleep by applying a generous moisture mask and leaving it on overnight. Not only will the extra moisture leave your skin radiant and soft, your skin actually absorbs more nutrients at night because that is the time that it recovers and heals itself from daytime stress.
Exfoliating, a.k.a. removing dead skin cells with a scrub or enzyme treatment, is the extra TLC your skin needs right now. Why? When your skin's moisture balance drops in drier weather, its metabolism becomes sluggish, slowing down the ever-important skin cell turnover (the process by which it rids itself of dead skin cells). Hello dull, rough skin! Exfoliating regularly ensures a virtuous cycle, because even your favorite body butter or face moisturizer will work a lot better it doesn't have to battle its way through layers of dead skin cells.
When your arms and legs feel rough and flaky, it's tempting to go Brillo on your skin and scrub the heck out of it. Don't. You risk irritating and hurting your skin. Rather, stick with a gentle exfoliator that has soft, round scrubbies, and do it consistently 1-2 times a week. While walnut, apricot or coffee grinds are suitable for all-over body, I prefer jojoba or bamboo beads for the face because of their soft round shape. Pumice, sand and salt are better suited for heels and elbows that have extreme built-up of dead skin (callous).
Feed your Skin with Seasonal Goodness
While a healthy, balanced diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables is important for your skin all year around, take advantage of foods that are not only particularly nourishing for your skin but also in peak season in Fall and Winter. A few that come to mind are all different varieties of pumpkin (kabocha, butternut squash acorn squash) which are rich skin-loving beta-carotene. The Fall is typically the season for oily fish like mackerel and sardines, or pollock and salmon, all of which are high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, a key nutrient to keep skin hydrated from within. Vegetables in the cabbage family, like Brussels sprouts are actually an important source of Vitamin C, helping skin build collagen and retain moisture. Apples & pears are the season's favorite healthy snack. Not only are they yummy and versatile, they are also packed with pectin, type of fiber known to promote gut health, which in turn is controls the condition of your skin. Jazz up your cooking by incorporating spices like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, clove and cumin. Not only do they boost flavor, they have also been shown to be rich in antioxidants beneficial for skin health!
For more inspiration on how to incorporate spices into comfort foods, check out Metta's comfort food recipes Ginger & Turmeric: A Healthful Combination For Your Holiday Cuisine