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Essential Winter Skincare Tips to Beat the Season’s Chill



The leaves are changing, the air is crisp. Some of you have even begun to see that horrible four-letter word…snow.

Though the long, languid days of summer are now behind you, you don’t have to give up your glowing, healthy skin. Just like the changing out of your seasonal wardrobe, you may also want to change over to a winter skin care plan.

During the colder months, the humidity in the air decreases pulling the moisture from your skin. It can make your winter skin feel dry and look dull.

You may be noticing that the moisturizer you used in the warmer months does not seem to be doing as good a job as it had been.

The first thought you might have is that there is something wrong with the product. However, it isn’t necessarily the effectiveness of the product unless the company has changed their formula.

The tendency is to use lighter moisturizers in the summer to let the skin breathe. With the cold and lower humidity of this time of year, your summer lotion may not be heavy enough for the tough job of winter skin care.

The American Academy of Dermatology suggests shifting to a heavier, oil-based moisturizer for the winter. These types of moisturizers can create a protective layer on the skin, helping to keep moisture in and the elements out.

If you have hopes of a smooch under the mistletoe during the holiday season, be sure your lips are included in your winter skin care.

The super dry winter weather saps the moisture out of your lips, too. That is why we wind up licking them so much. That extra moisture combined with the harsh enzymes in our saliva are not kind and accelerates the drying, possibly causing them to become painfully chapped.

Get a good lip balm to protect the delicate skin of your lips. Stick to more natural ingredients like shea butter, beeswax, vitamin E, and coconut oil, to name a few. They will not only help keep moisture in but can be nourishing as well.

Though you are likely bundled up against the cold when you go outside this time of year (except for the polar plunge fans), your face is still exposed, leaving it open to damaging UV rays, which are present year-round.

Snow (there’s that four-letter word again) is an efficient reflector of UV radiation, doubling your UV exposure. This puts the winter sun’s power at the same level as in the summertime.

If you enjoy winter sports like skiing or just plan to be outdoors for a prolonged period (like snow shoveling), your potential to sunburn is increased. Consider sunblock as a part of your winter skincare.

The heat is gone, and so seems to be the desire to drink water. Hydration is just as important in the colder seasons as it is the rest of the year. Set yourself reminders to get the water in and help your skin moisturize from the inside out.

You may find it difficult to get the water in because you want to warm up. Water seems to be counterintuitive to that desire. Nothing feels better than something warm on the inside, but not all toasty drinks are the same.

The problem with many favorite hot drinks is that they contain caffeine. Try decaffeinated versions of your favorites, like decaf coffee or tea. You can also drink herbal teas, of which many are naturally caffeine-free. I’ve even found decaf versions of hot chocolate, a favorite cold-weather standby.

Foods can be an ally in your winter skin care. We do tend to steer away from things like salads at this time of year and more toward warming comfort foods. However, you can still get your fill of produce with dishes like soups and stews.

Look for recipes with vitamin C and E-rich foods like dark leafy greens, broccoli, and tomatoes. Click on this link to Livestrong.com to see the article “Vegetable & Fruits that Contain Vitamins C & E” for a more extensive list of fruits and vegetables.

Hot showers and baths are often a go-to for thawing out but won’t do much to help your winter skin care. Hot water is actually dehydrating your skin.

Find a gentle cleanser for daily use, then add an exfoliator one to two times per week for both face and body. Of course, dial back the shower temp from Hades to just tropical so you don’t strip the natural oils from your skin.

It is not difficult to take care of ourselves with a good winter skin care program. Even doing just a couple of the things mentioned here may help you make it through the colder seasons and return to the warmth of spring and summer with a healthy and vibrant glow.

For a bonus, here’s a comforting stew filled with winter skin care produce. This is dairy-free, gluten-free as well as vegetarian. Though I am sure you could add meat of choice if you prefer.

Zingy Sweet Potato Coconut Stew

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 medium onion, diced

½ - 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes (to taste)

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1-2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (or 1 teaspoon ginger paste)

3-6 cloves garlic (to taste) peeled and minced (we like garlic, so it’s always 6 for us)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 ½ lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

½ cup brown lentil or 1 can lentils, drained

4 cups vegetable stock (adjust if using canned lentils) 1 can full-fat coconut milk 1 small bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped Juice of 1 lime Instructions:

  1. Heat a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Add coconut oil to pot and let melt. Add onions to the pot. Sauté, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes or until translucent. Stir in chili flakes, coriander, cumin and turmeric. Cook about 1 minute until fragrant. Stir in ginger and garlic, cooking for another minute.

  2. Add sweet potatoes and stir to coat in the spices. Stir in the lentils if using dried lentils. (Canned lentils will be added in a later step). Add vegetable broth. (If using dried lentils, use the full 4 cups. If using canned lentils, use just enough broth to cover the sweet potatoes. You may need to add a little more during cooking to keep them covered). Stir well to get brown bits off bottom of pot. Cover and bring to a boil.

  3. Once at boil, lower the heat to simmer and set lid on pot askew to allow steam to escape. Simmer until sweet potatoes are beginning to fall apart and dried lentils (if using) are tender approximately 30 minutes. (canned lentils will be added in the next step)

  4. Add coconut milk, lime juice, kale, and canned lentils (if using) to the pot and stir. Cover completely with lid. Simmer stew until kale is wilted, 3-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in big bowls with warm pita or naan bread on the side, and enjoy!

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