As much as we in Vancouver love talking (read: complaining) about the weather, it really has been a nasty winter so far. And the cold, dry air isn't doing our skin any favours.
Before we share our top skincare secrets for Vancouver winters, let's first understand what about this season makes our skin so, so dry.
The cause of dry winter skin
Our skin tends to be the driest during the winter season when cold temperatures and dry air arrive. Not only does the cool outside air affect our skin, heating our homes with central heating, space heaters, and fireplaces also reduce humidity inside. It's hard to escape!
Dry skin also comes from internal factors. You skin is moisturized by the sebaceous glands under your skin, and as your body fights to stay warm and conserve heat in the winter, it cuts down in sebaceous secretions – which deprives your skin of healthy natural oils. The lack of these natural oils then leads to dry skin.
If you're experiencing dry, flaking skin this winter, here are some tips for maintaining the natural glow and health of your skin.
1. Stay hydrated
Drinking room temperature water is better for your digestive system than fridge-cold or ice water. According to ancient Ayurvedic practices, drinking room temperature water promotes healthy digestion, metabolism, and healthy weight loss while relieving bloating and digestive pain. Warmer water is also helpful in controlling cholesterol levels and keeping your arteries clear.
How and when you consume water around mealtimes may also be dictated by your dosha:
- Vata: Drink water 1 hour after eating your meal
- Pitta: Drink small sips of water during mealtimes to kickstart digestion
- Kapha: Drink water before a meal to have better satiety awareness
Here are some more tips for drinking water in the winter:
- Drink water while sitting, not standing
- Avoid chugging water
- Drink only when thirsty
- Drink from water stored in silver (chaandi) or copper (tamba) vessels as it positively charges the water and balances it for all dosha types
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning (Ushapan) to flush out toxins
2. Be kind to your digestive system
The winter season is full of tasty holiday food and drinks, and many of us tend to overindulge a bit. While the occasional holiday treat is okay, do a few extra things to maintain your digestive system, including:
- Adding warming spices to your meals (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper)
- Drink natural fruit juices to stimulate digestion
- Properly chew every bite
- Watch your intake of excessive amounts of greasy or fatty foods
- Don’t be too hard on yourself if you overindulge a bit!
There are many comforting and sweet treats to enjoy, so don’t feel the need to deprive yourself completely! Triphala, garlic, and yoga are all common tactics used to help with digestion after.
3. Use nourishing body products for moisture
If your skin is dry, itchy, or cracking in the winter, use natural Ayurvedic skin products to help promote and retain moisture. These may include:
- Using natural butter and oils as body lotions, with ingredients like shea, kokum, coconut butter, almond butter, honey, rose, glycerine, apricot, jojoba, and sesame
- Using bath and shower gels, with ingredients like sesame or coconut oil
- Getting foot massages with Ayurvedic oils to help restore your body’s energy
- Getting regular head oil massage to help hydrate dry scalp and prevent headaches
4. Apply moisturizing lip balm
Is there anything more painful and unpleasant than dry, cracked lips? Protect your lips from the harsh cold and wind with a good-quality lip balm and use it up to three times per day. Look for a lip balm with organic and natural ingredients and oils, including cocoa butter, vitamin E, honey, almond oil, and kokum butter.
An Ayurvedic lip scrub can also help remove dead skin and promote healthier lips.
5. Get an oil massage
Winter is a typical time to experience aggravated Vata and Kapha doshas. Ayurvedic oils can help balance your doshas to give your skin a healthy glow. Gently massage your skin daily with any of the following oils:
- Sesame: suitable for all skin types to restore natural oil balance
- Shatavari: can restore lost moisture and prevent future drying of your skin
- Coconut: this is a good home ayurvedic remedy for dry, cracked heels and elbows
- Bhringraj: this oil treats dryness and rashes by hydrating your skin from within
- Almond: is a natural humectant to seal in skin moisture
6. Avoid hot showers
Taking a warm shower or bubble bath after a day skiing or exploring your city may seem like a relaxing activity, but it can be very drying for your skin in the already dry winter months.
Opt for a cooler bath, use pH-balanced soaps, and keep your hydration up too.
7. Yoga for your skin
Your health and fitness routine can help your dry winter skin too. Yoga, for example, can help increase blood flow to your skin and boost natural oil production.
Here are some helpful yoga poses to promote blood flow for your skin.
8. Try Ayurvedic Herbs and Teas
Many Ayurvedic herbs can be ingested in tea or made into pastes to apply directly to your skin. Here are some popular and effective ayurvedic herbs you may find helpful for dry winter skin:
- Ashwagandha: loaded with antioxidants to improve skin health and prevent damage by free radicals in your body
- Yastimadhu: rejuvenates dry skin by reducing inflammation and skin irritations
- Kumari (also known as aloe vera): replaces your body’s naturally-lost oils and reduces redness
- Manjistha: taken internally can purify your blood and remove harmful toxins, while taken topically can solve dry skin problems
Dry, flaky skin can put a damper on your winter fun. Stop focusing on your itchy scalp, and focus on your next ski run. Just remember to take care of your body and overall skin health by working to balance your doshas during our cold, dry winter weather.
With the proper care, you don’t have to suffer from dry, flaky skin in the winter months. Our Bombay Beauty Co line carries a variety of skincare products to help you maintain a healthy glow, even in the frigid winter months. Take care of your physical body and mental mindset, and you can help promote healthy, glowing skin four seasons of the year.