It’s Time for Fall, Y’all!
And besides pumpkins, costumes, and hot apple cider, the harvest season also marks a retreat of the sun for most people. As the shorts and bathing suits are exchanged for sweaters and rain jackets, our skin is often neglected as it becomes drier outside (and inside in some cases), and is hidden from the UV rays that help it produce Vitamin D. If you notice that your skin is a little less happy during the winter months, here are some great tips to keep your birthday suit vibrant; keeping your skin moisturized now, can help prevent wrinkles in the future.
Protect your lips with a balm or natural chapstick
There are many lip balm options available now that don’t have petroleum products in them. Look for products with natural oils and ingredients you are familiar with like shea butter, vitamin E and bee’s wax. Also, as a doctor’s tip: use your lips as an indicator that you need to be drinking more water. The dry weather tends to dehydrate us even though it’s cold outside, drinking more water can help keep lips moist.
Re-think your facial moisturizer
If you’re like me, when the weather gets dry your face needs a moisturizer of it feels itchy and uncomfortable. Keeping with the adage, “don’t put anything on your skin you wouldn’t put in your mouth,” try using moisturizers made from herbal oils, or simply using oil. Coconut oil is a go to for many people, though in recent years it has been questioned whether or not it may actually dry the skin. Still, many people do opt for the coconut solution, and I, too, use coconut oil and have NOT noticed it to have a drying effect. I also will use a little heavier oil, such as almond oil or avocado oil. A little goes a very, very long way. Also, in past years I have gotten into the habit of using herbal salves on my face at night. The reason I do this is because many salves have an herb, symphytum, which is renowned for its ability to heal skin quickly. It is a little greasy, but I find that it helps get rid of little bumps and scratches, and marks left by acne extremely well; since most herbal salves have a high oil content, it is also very moisturizing.
Dark chocolate, oh yeah!
Research says that flavonoids in dark chocolate help absorb UV light. This may help protect the skin, increase blood flow, as well as increase hydration; all things that are great for the complexion. Probably most important, it’ll make you feel really good about doing something healthy.
Eat a diet rich in minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients
This one makes it on the list for just about everything, but unless you enjoy spending hundreds of dollars on “face serums,” and all other sorts of “youthful products,” your diet is where the biggest effects are gained. A diet rich in color and variety will help you get the carotenoids, antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals that help maintain skin integrity through lowering inflammation, increasing blood flow, and reducing free radical damage. If you really want to enhance your skin, try incorporating homemade bone broth into your diet. Bone broth is a rich source of collagen, as well as a host of other vitamins, minerals and amino acids, which will certainly give your skin a glow, maintain your nail strength, and give your hair a new vital shine.
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Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.