8 tips to get rid of dry skin on the face during this winter.
Dry skin on the face, is a common sign of external as well as internal imbalances. While we are mostly indoors nowadays, our skin responds to how we adapt to our environment. The temperature changes, central heating, diet as well as the psychological impact of the recent lockdowns, overwhelm our skin. The skin on the face can become dry, it may feel sensitive, flaky and dull. Dry skin, can trigger premature skin ageing, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles.
Heading to the Christmas festive period, feeling and looking our best must be on our priority list, so we welcome Christmas and a brand-new year looking younger and healthier.
This article investigates the causes of skin dryness from a Chinese medicine and western view and suggests ways and a natural treatment for dry facial skin during this winter season.
What is going on with my face? How to recognise dry facial skin?
The skin relates to the Element Metal in Chinese medicine, influenced by Autumn and Winter energies, as both seasons are related to the moisture and fluid functions in the body.
There are two types of dry skin:
Simple dry facial skin:
This is caused from an abnormal oil production, commonly seen in people under 35 years old with unstable hormonal balance. During it's respiration process, the skin exchanges, gas, oils and moisture, through its pores. Autumn is associated with the lungs, the skin health and hydration levels. It is not a coincidence that during the autumn we experience more skin flare ups, lung viral conditions, colds, flu and other respiratory conditions such as asthma. Imbalanced energy of the lungs may present short term skin problems such as acne, clogged pores, dull complexion, dry patches on the face and itchy skin.
Complex dry skin:
This is affecting more mature people. The winter energy that is related to kidney function, exposes long term imbalances of fluids, that affect the whole body as well as the skin on the face. With ageing we lose the ability to produce sufficient natural oils and moisture on the skin, that gets worse with accumulative sun damage. Kidney weakness can result in puffiness or dry skin around the eyes, lymphatic congestion, dull complexion and lack of skin hydration. Kidney deficient energy affects hormonal decline in the body, that may result in premature ageing and dehydrated skin. Genetic factors also cause dry skin on the face and affect mostly fair skin individuals who are prone to skin dehydration and long-term skin conditions. In some cases, skin dryness is a sign of an underactive thyroid which is treated with acupuncture and Chinese medicine by balancing the kidney energy.
Acupuncture as a natural treatment for dry skin, can target symptoms and underlying causes of facial concerns. The proteins that make up the skin – elastin, collagen and keratin, also experience a degree of long-term damage that acupuncture can address, enhancing skin elasticity and firmness
Everyday mistakes that cause dry skin on your face.
Our indoor lifestyle during the winter, affects the moisture levels of the skin, especially with the windy cold temperatures, approaching fast. Frequent baths and hot showers strip the skin of it's natural oils and leads to dryness. Over cleansing the face or using products that remove most of the protective sebum, are leaving the skin's barrier layers exposed to the environment.
Our diet can contribute to skin dryness as well as nutritional deficiencies. Underlying anemia or a genetic disposition, may also overstress our skin during winter. Often touching our skin and using facial mask coverings for long hours, can irritate and trigger acne and blotchiness. Overuse of alcohol-based antibacterial and harsh washing products disturb the natural sebum production and compromise the good bacterial skin ecosystem. This can trigger acne, irritation, dry patches on the face and around the eyes.
Some people notice that there are parts of their face that are oily and some others are dry, commonly known as combination skin. The forehead, nose and chin tend to be oily (T-Zone), while the skin on the rest of the face is dry. This facial type, is due to sebum irregularity, aggravated by the changes of the environment (cold, heat or humidity) as well as hormonal and nutritional factors.
Impaired sleep patterns and mental health can play a crucial role in our skin’s health. More than 65% of British women believe that mental health such as depression, stress and anxiety, affect the skin visibly.
Insufficient or irregular sleep disrupts skin regeneration, collagen production, hydration and texture. Lack of sleep can also lead to skin inflammatory conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.
How to treat dry skin on the face at home. Everyday tips to help your skin.
There are some easy natural treatments for dry skin on the face and effective ways to prevent and address skin dryness at home.
Keep moving. Exercise helps with blood circulation and through sweating it moists your skin. It also affects your mood that boosts natural chemicals to strengthen your immune system, improve your mood, regulate your hormones and make your skin glow.
Reduce hot water use. Modify the temperature of your shower or bath water, so that it's not too hot. Alternate hot and cold water, so you improve the opening and closing ability of vessels and skin pores.
Regulate room temperature. Make sure that the room temperature maintains some humidity and does not dry up your skin.
Avoid smoking, too much coffee, sugar and alcohol. They all strip away vital skin hydration and lead to nutritional deficiencies. Salty food and sugar intake can cause inflammation, fluid retention, resulting in dry, irritated skin and premature ageing. During the winter we tend to not drink as much water and prefer to drink coffee or tea that are diuretic, depleting the amounts of water in our bodies.
Improve your diet. Eat a balanced diet that included vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts as they provide a good source of vitamins and minerals that are needed for good skin health. Make sure you include good fats in your diet,(preferably plant-based omegas). Primrose oil contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid needed for healthy skin.
Vitamin A and zinc strengthen skin tissue and neutralise free radicals.
Vitamin B complex and B12, are highly effective for nervous and skin hormonal balance. Kelp is essential for a good skin tone and helps with underlying thyroid issues.
Vitamin C with bioflavonoids is necessary for collagen production and strengthen the capillaries that nourish the skin.
Also, foods high in sulphur, such as garlic, onions, eggs, asparagus, contain L-Cysteine which keeps your skin healthy and young.
Use moisturiser for dry skin. We should choose natural treatments for dry skin on the face and use a protective thicker moisturiser for dry skin providing hydration and locking in moisture.
Use natural herbs to nourish and calm irritated skin. Organic Aloe Vera gel is highly effective to use to hydrate and shield moisture in the skin and is ideal for combination T-Zone skin types.
Take your herbs. The super adaptogen fruits Goji berries can prevent skin moisture loss. It contains amino acids, that can further help with fine lines and wrinkles, increase skin moisture and improve skin complexion. Astragalus, the ancient elixir and super adaptogen herb, has a lot of skin hydrating properties and slows down skin ageing.
Facial cupping for dry skin on the face. An ancient technique in a contemporary treatment.
An effective skin care regime, celebrated, by Gwyneth Paltrow and other celebrities, is facial cupping. This method has a quite different purpose from the traditional cupping, as it can be used for medicinal and aesthetic reasons as a natural treatment for dry skin on the face.
Ancient Egypt papyrus (1550 BC) is one of the oldest medical texts to mention the use of cupping therapy. Cupping treatment has been a therapeutic tool in ancient healing systems, such as Chinese, Unani, Greek, traditional Korean, Tibetan and Chinese medicine.
This painless type of cupping is quite different from the traditional treatment you may come across, where practitioners use cups to release tight back muscles, shoulders and other parts of the body. Facial sliding cupping involves small vacuum glass cups with silicone rubber squeeze handles which causes suction on the area of application. Cleansing and preparing the skin before the treatment is essential before the cupping.
Facial cupping massage that I include in my facial cosmetic acupuncture treatment, is pleasant and it has no recovery time. The cups slide on the skin gently, moving impurities, stimulate the skin and alleviate dry skin patches on the face. Make sure that you use a gentle cleanser and a hydrating moisturising cream or oil, to facilitate the sliding of the cups on the skin before you use the technique.
In clinical practice, we use cupping on the face, to relieve sinus congestion, encourage lymphatic circulation, alleviate headaches, loosen up tight jaws and improve facial muscle tone.
When it comes to the skin benefits, the method increases blood micro-circulation and stimulates facial lymphatic drainage. It invigorates the skin by drawing nutrients to the surface and plumps up the skin to minimise the appearance of scars, fine lines and wrinkles. It reduces puffiness, especially around the eyes. It helps the skin to absorb products better and even addresses to minimise thread veins and small capillaries on the face.
Finally, dry skin on the face and winter go together.
Dry skin on the face, a problem than can be aggravated by harsh winter weather and can reveal the health and underlying possible skin health contributing factors. The skin as the largest organ of the body requires a balanced environment as well as health inside out to maintain it's resilience and manage the ageing process.
Winter is a good season to protect and recover your dry skin and address overall health issues that speed up ageing and affect your wellbeing.
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