It’s the coldest winter that New York has seen for a while, which makes it a very dry and trying time for our skin. Many of us have to deal with itchy, dry, cracked, and chaffing skin through the cold seasons, and this year is no exception! And for those with chronic skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and dermatitis—these winter months can make it worse.
In Chinese medicine, our skin’s vitality is closely related to our lungs. One of the most important functions of the lungs is to diffuse fluids throughout the body. Which, when it comes to your skin, allows for the body to nourish and moisten the skin. This is what gives our skin it’s luster. Our lungs don’t like dryness, which is why this time of year is particularly difficult for the lungs to do their job well.
So how can we help our lungs out?
Firstly, it’s important to make sure you are well hydrated so that your lungs have a sufficient amount of fluids available for diffusing. Focus on incorporating alkalizing foods as they contribute to hydration and counteract the many drying and inflammatory aspects of our diet, lifestyle, and environment. Dark green vegetables and microalgae are particularly helpful due to their high chlorophyll content, which has the effects of countering inflammation and supporting the renewal of blood and tissue.
So the greener the better when it comes to selecting your veggies! Supplementing with liquid chlorophyll extract, spirulina, chlorella, wheat or barley grass, or wild blue green algae is a great option for those with more chronic skin disorders.
Essential fatty acids are vital for healthy skin and hair as well as proper thyroid and adrenal function. The lack of these healthy fats is one of the factors that can lead to skin disorders. Fresh nuts and seeds are excellent sources of unsaturated fatty acids, such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, chia seeds, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds. Other good sources are anchovy, sardine, salmon, and tuna.
Keep it clean when it comes to lotions and body care products as most are laden with harsh contaminants, pesticides, parabens, and fragrances, that in the long run will lead to further free radical damage. My personal favorite is unrefined coconut oil (for internal and external use). With its naturally healing attributes, nothing can compare to how well it helps my skin recover from the hundreds of dailyhand-washings. A great resource for selecting safer and cleaner products is the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.