As we continue through the months of cold, damp, slow, dark, gloomy, stagnant weather and seasonal depression, we will soon be entering what in Ayurveda is the Kapha season. For our skin, bodies and mind we must do things to create balance and synergy with the conditions. We want to keep our skin moisturized and supple, no matter the season. When we switch up our skincare for the seasons, we get the best results. A simple way to think about it is, when we start to break out our hats, gloves, scarves and winter jackets to warm our bodies, it’s time to break out more hydrating skincare to keep it balanced, nourished and moisturized.
Food: More Than Just Tradition
One way to keep ourselves warm, dry and feeling light, is to switch up our diets a bit to acclimatize to the change in weather. In the winter months we naturally want to eat heartier, hot foods because they comfort and warm us up. We also tend to go for more cooked than raw foods for the same reasons. Think stews and soups: we don’t really eat or make them in the summer months, but we embrace them in the winter months.
Foods we should eat during the winter months are high in essential fatty acids, cooked veggies and warm, spicy herbs. Fatty acids help to insulate our bodies to keep us warm. As with everything in life, moderation is key. Rome was not built in a day, your skin will not clear overnight, and your health can only be steadily improved over time. Inbetween Winter and Spring, Ayurveda recommends the following food guide:
Cook with healthy oils, such as sesame, coconut, almond, and olive oil
- Incorporate more cooked carrots, sweet potatoes, and zucchini into your diet
- Great snacks include avocados and dried fruits like banana, dates, and figs to increase the fatty acids in your diet
- Add spices like cinnamon, ginger, tumeric, chili, paprika, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, and cardamom to your foods
- Eat more seasonal nuts such as cashews and walnuts, and/or seeds such as pumpkin and sesame
- Proteins should come more from beans, eggs and chicken or fish
A great dish to get a lot of these foods and spices in is a curry. Tahini is also a great dressing or dip to use in the winter due to its high sesame seed oil content. Ghee is another thing to consider bringing into what you eat. Ghee is just clarified butter, with the fat separated from the milk and water. The presence of omega 3 fatty acids in clarified butter helps fight skin dryness.
Mentally Stimulating Seasonal Aromas
Besides foods, we can also be intentional about the types of scents we use during these months as far as room aroma goes. Candles are always a good way to stay warm and feel cozy too. Similarly, to the foods we want to be eating, we also want to be breathing in warm, spicy scents. Candles or diffusers with spices like cinnamon, cardamon, black pepper, clove and ginger will enhance serenity and soothe the mind.
Spices like cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper enhance serenity and soothe the mind
- Warm scents like vanilla and amber will help us to feel cozy and warm.
- Sweet citrus scents in tandem with some of these warm and spicy scents invoke a sense of comfort.
Carrière Frères has some comforting scents perfect for the Kapha season like Rose and Peppercorn, Candied Ginger and Siberian Pine, and Bay Laurel. Moodcast Candle Co.’s Midnight and Nightcap will also warm you right up for similar reasons.
Like I said earlier, there are some general ways we can help to insulate our bodies during these frigid, wet months. There’s the obvious of bundling up and wearing warmer clothes. What one might not think of is that the sun rising and setting later is Mother Earth’s way of telling us to get more sleep and to try to be outside when it is sunny. Just like some animals hibernate during this time, we need to get into bed earlier and get more rest to keep our bodies warm.
The Skin’s Line of Defense
There are many ways we can take extra good care of our skin during this season as well. It’s important for us to keep our hydrolipidic film intact. What is the hydrolipidic film? It is a combination of the eccrine gland's secretion of water and the sebaceous gland’s secretion of oil, and is also known as the acid mantle. The film limits water loss and regulates bacterial flora. Our skin is only 1 millimeter thick, but somehow it can hold everything in and protect our insides. The dermis is the skin’s natural water reservoir. It holds 80% of our skin's water content, it is like a sponge that when pressed down, leaks water into the epidermis. It’s essential to keep our hydrolipidic film in balance and as thick as possible. Without the proper amount of sebum, the film becomes tinner and therefore can’t protect the skin properly or keep the skin hydrated. It will also lead to your skin becoming more alkaline which makes the skin more suspectable to damage from bacteria, free radicals, toxins, irritation, impurities and inflammation.
Phytomer's Skin Solutions
Of the four major lines we sell at Bellini’s there are a plethora of products and ingredients that will assist in keeping your hydrolipidic film thick throughout the winter. Ingredients to look for in the Phytomer line are:
- Seastem: restores the migratory ability of stem cells. It reactivates the proteins that allow stem cells to attach to the Dermal-Epidermal Junction (DEJ) and repair.
- Eco-chlorella: stimulates the synthesis of structural proteins in the dermis and DEJ.
- Sea gorse: helps stimulate the production of cell cohesion proteins and helps strengthen the cutaneous layer.
- Pheohydrane is a brown algae that is nutrient-rich and restores the hydrolipidic film.
- Marine Prebiotic Complex is specially calibrated to naturally support the skin and its health, balance its microbiota and help to maintain skin immune functions.
- Organic glasswort oil improves circulation and storage of water and urea in the epidermis while strengthening the lipidic barrier.
- Schizochytrium is a green micro-algae that strengthens the lipidic barrier.
- Organic weaving algae oil reconnects the hydrolipidic film, to prevent moisture loss. It promotes the synthesis of the main components of the dermis and epidermis.
Douceur Marine, Douceur Intemporelle, Prebioforce and all anti-aging products from Phytomer include at least one of these ingredients as well. Phytomer’s skincare products are made with such specific intent that it can be hard to know which one would be best for your skin now. To know which hydrolipidic film supporting ingredients will best suit your skin, give us a call at 503.226.1526, or come in for a consultation!
Yonka Skincare For Hydration
- Yeast extract
- Low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid (H.A.)
- Organic Inca Inchi oil
- Shea butter
- Grapeseed oil
- Avocado and/or Olive oil
Yeast extract and low molecular weight H.A. are in all the Hydra N1 products in the YonKa line: Mask, Serum, Fluide, and Creme. Both ingredients help repair any damage within the acid mantle. Organic Inch inchi oil, shea butter, grapeseed and avocado oils are in Nurti Defense, they help to restore the skin's lipids and make up for any lack thereof. Olive oil and lectin are in Crème 28 and repair and protect lipids from depleting.
SkinCeuticals Actives For Moisturization
SkinCeuticals has quite a few products with several hydrolipidic film friendly ingredients. The ingredients include:
- Hyaluronic Acid (H.A.): a natural humectant, which attracts water to build and retain moisture
- Vitamin B5: allows the skin to function properly and helps with tissue repair
- Glycerin penetrates the skin to retain moisture and attracts water to the skin from the outside
- Urea: has a water-biding capability, it draws water into the cells of the stratum corneum
- Trehalose: helps to stabilize the structure of skin’s natural lipids
- Polyquaterium-51: improves the moisture retention capabilities of the epidermis and forms a film to prevent Trans Epidermal Water Loss
- Sodium PCA: assists in moisture retention
- Squalane: an ingredient that contains the skin's lipids
- SkinCeuticals’ Advanced Moisture Complex: is a mixture of glycerin, urea, sodium PCA, Trehalose and Polyquaterium-51
Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin B5 also work to replenish the skin’s natural moisture factor, which re-establishes water balance in the skin. Products from SkinCeuticals that contain any of these ingredients are Triple Lipid Repair, Epidermal Repair, Redness Neutralizer, Emollience, Hydra Balm, Hydrating B5 Masque and Phyto Corrective Essence Mist.
This post was written by aesthetician Abby Durey.