Spring is the time for new beginnings! Buds bloom, ducklings hatch, and we humans get to stretch out of that winter slumber. The mere sight of a warm sun and dandelions bourgeoning across the fields is probably all we need to feel alive again....that and maybe a pretty little dress. While our bodies, minds, and spirits may be ready to embrace this heavenly season, our skin may need a bit more time to normalize.
Winter, as we know it--at least for those of us in colder climates-- can be very hard on our skin. Sebum production slows down and external (and internal) factors that negatively affect our intracellular matrix can lead to a damaged stratum corneum (skin's outer most layer, the protective barrier). When this layer of skin is damaged, we lose our ability to retain moisture. And when you combine this with artificial heating, our skin suffers from even more water loss and exacerbates our body's effort to hold on to whatever little moisture it can. The lack of physical activity (ok, not for all) can also affect our skin as it slows blood circulation, bringing less fresh oxygen pumping to your cells.
In the spring, when we put on that little spring dress, what we see is winter's wear. Running into the sun to catch your first tan of the year is not going to help--not yet. As a matter of fact, it will make your skin susceptible to further dryness and irritation simply because your skin has not yet had the chance to normalize, recondition and recharge.
1. Up your fat intake--internally and topically: Because those dry flakes are dead skin cells that have not been able to benefit from sufficient sebum it's important to up your fat intake, both internally and topically. Yes, in the winter many of us tend to eat foods rich in fats and carbs, but we need to eat foods rich in fatty acids sourced from vegetables, legume, grains, and dairy (for the non-vegans). Get that sebum producing! It's important to feed your skin with wonderful organic oils rich in fatty acids and protein. This will help build back your skin's outer layer and prevent water loss.
2. Eat more legumes and colorful veggies: Skin (as well as hair and nails) is made primarily of keratin. Protein and vitamin A help produce keratin so increase your intake of legumes, yogurt, eggs, and fruits & vegetables with rich colors such as leafy greens, mangoes, peaches, beets, carrots...
3. Gently dry brush your body with a very gentle, antimicrobial, brush (boar's hairs brushes are typically the most recommended but there are more eco-friendly alternatives like bamboo bristles). Brush in a circular motion from toe to head, front and back, and from one end of your arm to the other. Then restore your acid mantle by soaking in a warm bath with 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar (ACV) and 10-20 drops of chamomile essential oil. Stay no more than 10 minutes. Pat dry and then apply a body oil that will hold in the moisture from the water and feed your skin. (See #7).
5. Reenergize your ions and internal charge by soaking in a warm bath with 2 cups of Dead Sea salt and 5-10 drops of rose geranium to increase circulation.
6. Refrain from using any form of moisturizer that contains alcohol: You can get fancy by also staying away from the harsh ingredients listed in my FAQ. But for now, just promise to stay away from products containing alcohol because that is extremely drying to your skin. I will post something about the damaging effects of alcohol in skincare products so stay tuned!
7. Feed your skin omegas and vitamin rich "food": Non-pore-clogging, cold pressed, vitamin rich oils are an excellent way to feed your skin. Butters and lotions can do the same, however, the latter is not as effective at helping your skin retain its moisture. Whatever it that is what you prefer, just make sure that they are not filled with additives that have a counter effect. Check out Nelum Botanics' selection of Body Oils that can do your skin wonders.
Now, you can run under the sun and soak up those lovely yellow rays and deeply needed vitamin D!