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Blog / Chinese Medicine

Cool Tips for Bothersome Winter Skin

Wintertime can be tough for many reasons; bitter cold days, stressful occasions, and unrelenting dry skin. For me, it’s the dry skin that produces the most amount of struggle. I have the honor of being surrounded by creative practitioners every day, so I asked them for some helpful tips!  

From the inside out

The most common advice given for itchy, dry skin, is to soothe it with external applications like lotions and salves. What if we prevented it from the inside out? Thanks to our very own Dr. Kelsey Tangel, we have an idea for that exact approach. If you ingest foods that promote natural skin moisture retention, such as pears, you’re setting yourself up for an easier winter season.  

Pears are an excellent way to promote moisture retention. They’re filled with humectants that help promote the retention of skin’s natural moisture. 

Kelsey’s recipe for delicious pears:

  • Peel and slice two pears
  • Put them in a pot and add water until the pears are just covered
  • Add in some honey to taste, 1 cinnamon stick, and 3-4 whole cloves
  • Bring to a low simmer and let the liquid reduce down by half (20 minutes or so)
  • You can eat the pears with the cooking liquid or drain it out and sip on it as tea!

Herbal Treatments

If the type of dry skin you’re battling seems like it needs more than a warming pear treat to soothe, it may be best to book an appointment. Skin irritation, in general, is best to have your practitioner evaluate as there may be a specific pattern (excess heat, dampness or dryness) occurring which would lend itself better to some herbal treatments over others. 

There are some at-home herbal remedies you can lean on, for example, a chrysanthemum wash! This recommendation has been given to us by Alli Kimmel. That hard-to-say flower bud is a great tool for certain cases of eczema presenting itself on the face (such as in the eyebrows). Facial eczema is an expression of excess heat which can be cooled off with a simple DIY face mask using the chrysanthemum bud. The buds are known, and loved, in the world of Chinese medicine for their gentle cooling properties. When combined with the antiseptic properties of honey, they make for a perfect answer to facial imperfections.

Alli’s soothing chrysanthemum wash recipe:

  • Take a handful of rinsed and broken down chrysanthemum buds and combine them with a high-quality raw honey. (The amount of each is dependant on the texture you’re after.) 
  • Mash the two ingredients together and apply to your face. It’s always best to do a sample area on your arm beforehand in case you have an adverse reaction. 
  • Leave on your face for at least 10 minutes while you relax. 
close up of a chrysanthemum flower
Photo by Peter Oswald on Unsplash

Conventional topical solutions

For particularly dry skin, Chief Clinic Director Dr. Noah Rubenstein recommends Tamu Oil. This oil is best when used on local areas and should not be used as a lotion. It is great for helping with symptoms like itching, pain, and scaling. 

Another product recommendation comes from Dr. Daryl Thuroff. She calls out two of her favorites: Emily’s Skin Soothers and The Mazin Al Kafaji topicals. The Emily Skin Soothers and Mazin Al Kafaji topicals are great for that dry winter itch. When it comes to Mazin Al Kafaji, it is best to make sure there are no known sesame allergies prior to use. 

If the winter months are doing its worst on your skin, we recommend reaching out to your practitioner. There are many ways they can help support you through an acupuncture treatment and a tailored herbal formula. 

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