Taking care of your skin during summer months is often fairly easy as you’re typically slathering on sunscreen and moisturizer every time you go out in the sun. However, once temperatures start to cool and we spend less time outdoors, all of the attention to our body’s largest organ oftentimes stops, leaving us with a covering that is scaly, itchy, and dry—the complete opposite of what it was just months earlier.
While it may be tempting to try to “wait it out” and not worry about tending to your skin until spring, there are actually some things you can do to have healthier skin all winter long. This ultimately means that you get to enjoy supple, radiant skin all year round.
Understanding Sebum and Your Skin
Sebum is Latin for "fat" and it's the medical name for the oil on the surface of your skin. Except for the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet, all your skin secretes sebum as a protective layer.
The actual composition of your sebum is derived from your genetics, and so is the amount that you secrete. The amount of sebum you secrete isn't influenced by what you eat or drink, nor by what you put on your skin. It's a reaction based on the sensitivity of your body to certain hormones.
So, if you have a low amount of sebum secretion your skin will be dry and you'll need more moisturizer in the winter. If you secrete a lot, you'll be more prone to acne and you'll need to treat yourself for acne.
Use Olive Oil as a Moisturizer
One way to get rid of itchy, dry skin is to put olive oil on it regularly. Not only does this common pantry staple leave you with more moisturized skin, but it can also keep your skin looking younger. The key is to use extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) as it offers the most benefit. Simply put it on your skin and let it sit for 5-15 minutes before rinsing it off with plain water. You can also create a mixture of EVOO, milk, and honey using equal amounts of each if you want to add more skin hydrating ingredients.
Get More Vitamins and Minerals in Your Diet
Healthy skin starts from the inside out, which makes consuming a variety of different skin-healthy nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E important to total skin health. To get more of these in your diet during the winter months, make it a point to put kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, peppers, Swiss chard, sunflower seeds, and avocados on your menu. If you’re not particularly fond of vegetables, one option is to juice. One woman even found that combining juicing with integrative nutrition enabled her to reverse a skin condition that caused large brown patches, providing even more skin health benefits yet.
Make Sleep a Priority
If you notice that (in addition to your winter skin being dry and drab) you also have dark circles under your eyes, lack of sleep may be part of the problem. Not getting enough shuteye causes your body to increase its cortisol production, which has a negative effect on your skin’s collagen, making it appear older and less tone. Make sleep a priority then by getting to bed at a decent time at night, even if you have more items left on your to-do list. Your skin will thank you in the morning.