Winter Skincare

With every changing season, there is alteration to the skin: our first line of immune protection. As fall turns into winter, the air gets drier, the environment colder, and the body feels heavier. There is an increase in Vata in the environment, in our daily activities, and in our bodies. Vata introduces the quality of dryness to our bodies. Dry skin is a major issue during these months, especially with certain existing skin conditions. Discussed are different ways to beat the cold weather skin blues.


Though it may rain or snow, the air outside is generally dry. This quality of Vata is further propagated by the cold and roughness (caused by the wind as well the loss of luster in nature). Dry skin occurs due to a lack of moisture in the air, food, and drink as well as from the drying effects of heat in the home and workplace. Additionally, the pores tighten when it is cold out, trapping any available moisture in the deepest layers of the skin.

Dry skin often feels itchy, cold, inflexible, and may be irritated. Some people may experience skin cracking, making the skin feel raw or it may start bleeding. Many may not notice the skin feeling “dry”, but will notice more wrinkle lines along the hands, legs, and feet.


When washing the skin, use products free of harsh chemicals like sulfates and parabens. These synthesized chemicals can dry out skin at a microscopic level regardless of the time of year. While the skin is still a little wet, apply oils instead of lotions to retain the healthy glow. Almond oil is a great body and face moisturizing choice. An easy way to use oil without the mess is to use glass bottles with flip top tops or dispensing pumps. Not only do you get an easy stream of oil, you can control how much oil is being placed on each body part.

Here is a face mask recipe to either treat dry skin or to keep dry skin at bay!

  • ¼ tablespoon Dry milk powder
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon Almond Oil (depending on how dry your skin feels)
  • 1 tablespoon Rose water
  • ½ teaspoon (raw and organic) Honey

Mix milk powder and almond oil together until well combined. Add the rest of ingredients and stir until a medium thick mixture is created. Apply the mixture to face.


Many experience increased acne during this time of year. Sufferers may feel itching or heat around patches of acne while others experience redness around afflicted areas. Some may have acne on the body, not just the face. The atmospheric dryness causes the oil to be stripped from the skin. The body responds by overproducing other sebaceous oils to make up for the forced dryness. Acne occurs due to this excess oil being inappropriately deposited and bacteria that normally wouldn’t cause problems have a chance to multiply eating those oils. Additionally, in the winter time, pores start to lose elasticity and tighten up. Substances that normally leave the pores are now trapped and can cause inflammation.


Taking a probiotic will improve gut health and increase nutrient absorption. That means that what you eat can be better used to provide health to your skin. More importantly, probiotics increase the number of good bacteria on the skin, out competing the bad bacteria that increase acne. As with dry skin, pick gentle face cleansers that are made without alcohols. Because of those tight pores, taking warms baths or sitting in a sauna a couple of times a week will greatly improve acne. Calm the skin with the face mask recipe seen above!


Eczema causes many small rashes and itching on the arms, elbows, and knees, though patches can occur anywhere. People with eczema tend to cover their skin all year long, but especially in winter. The skin gets dryer and the patches of redness tend to become larger in the winter months. The coldness of the season furthers the plaque formation to protect irritated skin. The skin will produce excess oils to reduce the dry quality, but that oil does not retain moisture. In fact, the oil will dry and contribute to the scaly skin.


It is best to shower at night, before bed. As with common dry skin, oil massage is important. Take the time to massage the oil thoroughly into the moist skin. After one has massaged the oil, putting on warm dry clothes before bed will help the skin absorb the moisture and heal. See a holistic medical doctor as eczema may be a symptom of food allergies.


Rosacea is characterized by having red blotches on the face and forehead. For some, small broken blood vessels may be present. During the winter months, the redness increases due to the dryness in the air was well as the cold. When skin gets cold, blood rushes to that area to warm it up but may not effectively return. The rush of fluid to the face can cause blood vessels to burst from the excess pressure. Many times, people with rosacea report feeling dry skin despite the skin looking shiny. Just like for acne, the skin will produce excess oils to reduce the dry quality, but the oil does not retain moisture in the skin.


Because people with rosacea experience broken blood vessels on the skin (especially on the cheeks), those affected should be especially careful not to use hot water on the face. Placing one’s face under the showerhead should be avoided so there isn’t water hitting the broken blood vessels. The force of the water and the heat will cause more capillaries to break or may prevent the already broken capillaries from healing. Diet will play an important part of rosacea healing, similar to eczema.


Eating cooked, warm meals that have been prepared with proper fats for your constitution (see the table below) will alleviate dry skin, acne, rosacea, or eczema presentation from the inside out. Please see the table below. Using herbs such as turmeric, cumin, and coriander in dishes will allow the body to digest nutrients and nourish the skin. Eating foods that are available during the winter season (which have high moisture content) such as squash, kale, chard, collard greens, and pomegranates, further the body’s ability to gain moisture. Try to incorporate fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and tempeh. When experiencing any dermatological issues, reducing or eliminating dairy allows for better skin healing. Lastly, reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption will greatly improve skin. There are herbs that do help with the troublesome skin issues discussed. It is best to see your doctor for skin care to see if these and other herbs can help.

Exercising frequently will also reduce acne, rosacea, and eczema as well as dry skin. Getting the right amount of exercise is essential for the whole body. If the body is healthy, so is the skin. Enjoy doing yoga sequences that massage the abdomen. These exercises massage the internal organs, releasing toxins while processing them gently out of the body. Furthermore, exercise tightens and tones the skin. Sweating helps the pores cleanse themselves and replenishes the lost moisture in a healthy way. When the body is happy, so is the skin. The endorphins released during exercise are powerful and activate the proper detoxification systems to cleans organs such as the skin.

Our skin responds to the season. Winter skin care can be easy and nurturing. Try these tips and remember to see your medical care providers if any skin care issues occur.

Cooking Oils for the Doshas


Cooking Oil


Olive oil, avocado oil


Avocado Oil, ghee


Ghee, olive oil

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