Cold, dry air, wind, low humidity, heaters, air conditioners, harsh cleansers, bar soap and hard water can spell disaster for your skin, sinuses and scalp. Interior HVAC, airplane cabin pressure, space heaters, fireplaces, car heaters, hot ovens, long hot showers, hard water, decreased water intake, dehydrating beverages, cold, allergy and flu meds, antibiotics, water pills and most medications all aggravate the problem.
Dull, dehydrated skin? Dehydrated skin is not a skin type. It’s a common skin condition where skin becomes water-deficient, while dry skin is lipid (oil) deficient. Dehydrated skin can look dull and darker, and feels tight and uncomfortable. And, it can be oily, dry, combination and/or acne-prone. Excessive dehydration can make the skin over-compensate for itself and produce more oil. This can be due in part to cold weather, scrubbing and over-cleansing, hard water and product overuse. Other factors include low water intake, dehydrating beverages, medications and poor nutrition. Dehydrated skin is aggravated by one’s external environment: Dry air, wind, low humidity, UV rays, heaters and fireplaces
This common complaint is easy to correct by adding a few specialty products, tweaking your home care and making simple lifestyle changes. We can modify your cleansing and skin care routine during the colder months or if you live in a dry climate or hard water area. There are gentle, low lather, sulfate-free cleansers, milder exfoliants and moisturizing products can help you get that glow back.
Lower the heat at night, crack the windows, wear cotton flannel sleepwear and warm socks, and use an electric blanket, mattress warmer, extra blankets or a comforter to keep warm.
Cool mist humidifiers hydrate the skin, scalp and sinuses. This is an inexpensive way to moisturize and improve your breathing as you sleep.
Don’t use space heaters! They “fry” and darken your skin tone and dehydrate your entire body. The same is true for fireplaces, so use them only occasionally, but stay far away! Dress warmly, and only use a space heater to warm up a room before you go in, and then turn it off! Better yet, bag it up and put it in the garage.
Increase water intake dramatically, especially if you drink coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages or take any medication. Water intake hydrates the body and helps brighten skin tone and under-eye circles, soften fine lines and wrinkles, reduce puffiness and bloat, calm irritation, relieve dryness, prevent chapped lips, improve digestion, curb appetite, increase mobility and boost energy. Don’t drink Crystal Lite® or similar beverages because they can contribute to dehydration.
Puffy eyes can be reduced by getting more sleep, elevating your upper body while you sleep, drinking more water, cutting back on alcohol, salt, take-out and processed foods, eliminating dairy from your diet, using a sinus wash twice a day, and keeping the heat low or off while you sleep.
Avoid long hot showers and baths, and don’t stand or sit close to heaters, fireplaces and hot ovens.
Hard water can be devastating to your skin, especially during the colder months. Chlorine, minerals, sulfates and other chemicals can dry you out, darken your skin tone, cause rashes and ashy skin, trash your hair, and trigger acne and eczema flare-ups. Filtered showerheads and handheld sprayers can make hard water feel like rainwater, soften your skin and hair, and eliminate those hard-to-remove limescale spots.
Look online for water filters. Do some research so you can select the appropriate water filtering equipment for your skin concerns, dwelling type and geographical area.
Sunscreen and sunglasses are crucial to help preserve your skin tone, prevent dark circles, brighten dark spots and beard shadowing, stop premature aging of the skin, and to prevent age spots, spider veins and skin cancer. UVA penetrates clouds and car windows, so don’t be fooled.
Sinus rinsing delivers dramatic benefits by (a) hydrating sinus passages and mucus membranes, (b) relieving congestion, pressure and nasal dryness, and (c) washing out mucus, crust, bacteria, viruses, dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, debris and particulate pollutants. For maximum benefits, be consistent. Do this when you brush your teeth. Other benefits when used daily include clearer vision from clean tear ducts, brighter skin tone around the eyes, less puffiness, reduced allergy, sinus and cold symptoms, fewer headaches, decreased need for medication, deeper, more relaxed breathing, better sleep, improved sense of taste and smell and sweeter breath.
Sinus rinses and net pots are available at pharmacies and health food stores and online at NeilMed.com. Google terms like sinus rinse, nasal irrigation, neti pot, NeilMed and SinuPulse for more information. See a demo at NeilMed.com or search sinus rinse or neti pot on YouTube.
Flaky skin or scalp? Seborrhea and seborrheic dermatitis flare up in colder weather and during stressful times. Symptoms affect the skin and scalp and include extreme sensitivity, redness, inflammation and small bumps, flaking, itching, crust on the scalp and ears, peeling on the forehead, hairline, brows, inner cheeks and sides of nose, and a light or red rash, especially on the inner cheeks and hairline. Avoid strong soaps, fragrances and toners with AHAs, BHA and/or alcohol. Wash your hair and ears at least once a week with a deflaking shampoo. Don’t scratch your scalp or allow your stylist or barber to do so. This condition is easy to treat and symptoms will begin to improve almost immediately. Ask us about our specialized product line formulated for seborrhea and sensitivity.
Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke, including pipes, cigars, blunts, weed, incense and fireplace smoke, which dehydrate your skin from the inside out and cause dark circles, respiratory problems, dehydration, dry skin and sinuses, dull skin tone, sagging skin, fine lines, deep wrinkles, premature aging, dry mouth and bad breath, as well as severe health consequences like heart disease, high blood pressure, lung cancer, mouth and throat cancers, emphysema and stroke.
Don’t scrub your skin. Take a gentler approach to cleansing your skin. Over-scrubbing, using spa gloves, rubbing with a towel and other types of friction will lead to irritation, dryness, flaking and darkening.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids and vitamin E improve your health and help reduce the inflammation, dryness and flaking of seborrhea, eczema, psoriasis, itchy rashes, ichthyosis and dry skin. Salmon, flax seeds and walnuts are excellent omega 3 food sources. Other sources are cauliflower, cabbage, halibut, shrimp, cod, tuna, soybeans, kale, Brussels sprouts and collard greens. Supplement your dietary intake with flax seed oil, enteric-coated fish oil capsules and vitamin E supplements. Check with your physician if you take other medications.
Note: Individual results may vary and require compliance to corrective home care products, diligent sun protection, professional treatments, and important lifestyle changes, all of which must be monitored and maintained on a long term basis.
© 2016 Kathryn Khadija Leverette
The material on this website is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.