Winter Beauty Woes
WellBeing|Issue 187
Natural beauty tips and foods to reduce dry hair, skin and nails throughout the winter months.
Ema Taylor

Cold, crisp mornings slipping into woolly socks and oversized jumpers, big pots of soup bubbling away on the stove and slow evenings huddled by the fire sipping hot cacao; there’s no denying the idea of winter is very romantic.

While the chilly change in season brings so much beauty, it does come with its challenges as cold temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds can be harsh on the body.

The rapidly changing temperatures from heated indoors to cold outdoor environments have been shown to affect the skin’s capillaries, and prolonged exposure to wet weather can strip the skin’s barrier function, leading to dry, sensitive, chapped skin and lips, brittle hair and cracked nails.

If you suffer from skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea or dermatitis you may also experience a worsening of symptoms in the winter months due to your skin drying out from changing temperatures.

At times it may feel that you just have to grit your teeth, pull your scarf up and make it through to spring. However, fortunately there are a number of natural ways to help combat these symptoms, both internally through food and supportive nutrients and topically with healing botanicals and gentle lifestyle changes, so you can get back to enjoying all the charm winter has to offer.

How to combat the winter beauty woes

Avoid boiling hot showers and baths

It is tempting to soak in a hot bath in winter; however, it can actually make skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis worse, as hot water strips the skin of its natural oils resulting in dry, itchy and irritated skin. Aim to have brief, lukewarm showers and baths to reduce irritating and drying out your skin. Once out of the shower use a rich, hydrating body cream or oil to soothe your skin.

Avoid using harsh chemicals on your skin

There are many products on the market that contain preservatives, stabilisers, mineral pigments, dyes, shines, fragrances, metals and numerous other substances that are added to enhance a beauty product’s effectiveness and shelf life. Many of these chemicals are known to be allergenic and irritating, so it is best to check your cleansers, face peels and body soaps to see if they contain any of these ingredients.

Additionally, it is a good idea to check the ingredients in your handwash and detergents, as harsh chemicals and alcohol have been shown to worsen dermatitis and can lead to dry hands and brittle nails. Instead, opt for organic, hypoallergenic soaps and cleansers that are based on natural oils and botanicals, as these are far gentler on sensitive skin.

Stay hydrated

The skin is composed of 64 per cent water, and this vital essence is required to transport nutrients and oxygen to every cell in the body. When your skin and hair are dehydrated, they may look dull and dry and feel itchy. Heading out into a harsh winter gale will only exacerbate these symptoms.

While you may not feel as thirsty in winter as you would in summer, it is important to be conscious of hitting your daily water requirements. It is advised that women drink about 2.5 litres of water per day, while men should aim for 3 litres per day, and more when you are exercising. If you aren’t a big water drinker, sip on herbal teas throughout the day or flavour your water with lemon, lime and mint to make it a little more exciting.

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