As I write this, it is 7 degrees and snowing in Boulder, Colorado, and we have just experienced devastating fires that destroyed over 1000 homes. Our house was spared, but across the street the housing development was leveled by fire. To be honest, I’m glad 2021 is done, and thankful that my family is okay and praying for those who are not. Having shared that, my gratitude at avoiding such a terrible crisis (not to mention the pandemic crisis), has left me a little weary. Talking about skin care is a welcome relief and distraction, as my skin has shriveled a bit from the cold and smoke-filled air. With that thought behind us, let’s talk about the easiest (and best) winter skin care regime!
Skin care starts in the cell membrane. In order to take excellent care of your skin, you must use both inner and outer methods to both strengthen and hydrate down to the dermis layer. Skin is the canary in the coal mine; it displays your bodies health, so taking measures using supplements is vital. In more practical terms, as the weather becomes colder, the changing needs of your immune system require some alterations in how you treat your skin.
Supplements for Cold Weather
The number one supplement for skin is vitamin C. For winter, raise your vitamin C quantity to an amount that is best for you. For example, I normally take 2000mg, twice a day. Now that it is winter, I’m taking an extra 1000mg at lunch. I am not a naturopath, so please modify any advice I have to suit your own body. Some of you have stomach issues with that much vitamin C, and therefore might need to add some digestive aids or other measures to manage it.
Raising your essential oil intake is also crucial. I take two tablespoons, twice a day of Omega 3-6-9 oils, and a separate tablespoon of Flax Seed Oil with my breakfast. Because of this, I often wake up with an oily forehead in the dead of winter! Other supplements to consider are vitamin D (1000 IU twice a day), Zinc, B, E, A, and K. To keep this simple and manageable, go for the C and oils first, and add the rest in as you can.
Water, Water, Water . . .
Okay, I’m like a broken record with the water intake, but there’s a reason. 60% of your body is water, and 75% of the population of the United Sates are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration causes, fatigue, kidney stones, memory fog and an inability to lose weight. Because your health shows on your skin, drinking enough pure spring water (not tap water) will magically transform you in ways you never imagined. Every day, I attempt to down 64 ounces of water, and I notice it when I don’t. Yes, I’m constantly trotting off to the bathroom much to the irritation of my children, but in the end it’s worth the effort and in the big scope of life, it’s an easy fix.
Use Great Skin Care
It might shock you to know that I focus on three main products for my skin care. Bang for buck, I spend the most on these items, and if money is tight, then just one. The number one ingredient to strengthen your connective tissue is premium ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, or Vitamin C serum. Be careful though, most C-serums use the cheaper tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate or l-ascorbic acid which is far less effective. Read the label. My favorite brand is Truth Treatments with 80% premium ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate. This is my can’t-live-without-it and go-with-me-everywhere product.
The second key product is, no shocker here, moisturizer. Most moisturizers are not formulated to get beneath the dermis layer of the skin, and therefore are like putting a continual band aid over the problem. Look for lipophilic vitamin C, a stable form of vitamin C for moisturizers, in order to have a lasting impact on dry skin. I use Transdermal C Balm morning and night in the winter including around my eye area and forego any eye cream; the moisturizer works better.
Lastly, Retinol or vitamin A. To consistently exfoliate and encourage cell turnover, there is nothing better than Retinol. Having said that, a little knowledge about this wonderful ingredient is needed. Prescription form Retin-A and Renova are formulated with Retinoic Acid and are considered to be 100 times more potent than non-prescription Retinol. They are also more irritating and costly. For over-the-counter Retinol, be sure to buy over 2.0%, as the usual 0.1% to 0.5% is like having the sizzle without the steak. In other words, it will take a long time to see any improvement. Using the higher percentages of Retinol causes some redness and noticeable exfoliation while offering bigger transformations. I use my 5% Retinol three times per week with little after affects, but recommend starting at a lower percentage for beginners.
I love having something practical I can do every day to feel like I’m taking care of myself. Taking supplements, drinking water, and using great skin care, as well as staying positive in the face of crisis take concerted effort, but in the end, support my sense of well-being and joining in as an active participant in creating a more positive and loving world. Happy 2022!