Winter Skin Care – Advice from the Dispensary
Let’s face it, the Body Care department certainly beats us on the sexy scale.
High gloss ruby-coloured lipstick or lysine-enhanced cold sore lip balm? Tropical coconut body lotion or homeopathic eczema cream? Sexy cinnamon infused lube or…laxatives?
But, believe it or not, everyone who works at the Dispensary has a passion for natural medicine, and we can get pretty excited about some of the stuff we have in here. Because we’re nerds.
And while a trip to the Body Care department to find some products to hydrate my parched winter skin might be the more obvious choice, I’ve found some great skin care products on our side too.
Here are my favourite three products we carry at the Dispensary that do a pretty good job at dealing with winter skin issues.
1. Moringa Seed Oil
Hailing from Mother Africa, but also found in parts of Asia and South America, the Moringa plant really blew up this year. An extremely nutrient-dense plant, particularly high in calcium, potassium, and vitamin A, Moringa can help improve general health when consumed internally. Many parts of the plant are used in medicine and recently, we started carrying the oil extracted from Moringa seed.
We can barely keep it on the shelves.
So I thought I’d give Moringa oil a try. My skin gets extremely dry in the winter and if I don’t moisturize immediately after leaving the shower, my epidermis feels so tight and dry it will split open, leaving only a gruesome layer of raw muscle to protect my internal organs. So I’m serious about my moisturizer.
I’ve been using Moringa seed oil on my face for about a month now and I am very happy to report my skin is moist, happy, and intact.
Moringa is so moisturizing partly due to a high percentage of oleic acid, which means it does a great job of penetrating and rejuvenating the skin. In addition to its claims at being anti-aging and anti-acnegenic, Moringa seed oil is considered to be a “dry” oil, because it absorbs into the skin without leaving a greasy residue. Apply on clean skin, and let it sink in for about 20 minutes. Moringa feels luxurious and smells slightly nutty- try it and tell me you don’t feel less raisin-y!
2. Manuka Honey
I loooove my masks. About once a week, you will find me hiding behind a greenish-grey clay mask, desperately trying to avoid laughter lest my clay face crumbles. However, I find clay in the winter to be a little too drying. I love the fact that weekly clay masks keep my skin clear and mostly gunk-free, but sometimes I feel like it takes too much. Like the vacuum that accidentally sucks up your lambskin rug.
If you want the benefits of a mask that keeps your skin clear and toned, without the sometime overly drying effect of clay, try… Manuka honey!
Manuka honey is a special type of honey found in Australia and New Zealand that is made from bees who feed off the Manuka tree. In comparison to regular honey, Manuka honey will taste slightly more herbaceous and bitter, and that’s because it’s medicine! Manuka honey has unique anti-infectious properties and has even been approved by the FDA for “wound management”, helping to treat burns and prevent infections and scarring. Manuka honey contains anti-bacterial agents, live enzymes, antioxidants, and vitamins. It is detoxifying to the skin yet also moisturizing. Try it for acne prone, sensitive/irritated, and dry skin types. To use, apply a thin layer of honey to skin, using a circular motion to rub it in. Leave the honey for about 30 minutes and then gently rinse it off with warm water. Moisturize as usual, and admire your glow!
3. Essential Fatty Acids
They are called “essential” because we need them to function. Essential fatty acids, consumed from sources like fish oil, borage oil, evening primrose oil, and seabuckthorn seed oil are incredibly nourishing and hydrating to the skin. Without them, we’d be a wrinkled, flaking mess.
Someone who is deficient in the omegas may exhibit dry, scaly skin, dandruff, flaking in the ear canal, or small rashy bumps commonly found on the backs of the arms, the buttocks, and the cheeks (called keratosis pilaris). If you experience any of these symptoms, you may not simply be dealing with “winter skin”, you may be dealing with an essential fatty acid deficiency.
Many of my clients (including myself) find that taking oral supplementary oils on a daily basis improves their skin hydration and overall appearance. Ask the staff at the Dispensary to help you pick out one!
By Alex Picot-Annand, BA (Psych), Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Life Coach
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