by Klara Brown, L.Ac, MSTOM

Nourishing Winter Skin

It’s the coldest winter New York has seen for a while a very dry and trying time of year 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 issue such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and dermatitis it is during these winter months that things can get worse.

The skin and its vitality is related to our Lungs.  In Chinese medicine, it is one of the important functions of the Lungs to diffuse fluids throughout the body in order to nourish and moisten the skin. This is what gives our skin its luster. The Lungs don’t like dryness, so it makes sense that this time of year makes it 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 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 micro algae are particularly helpful due to their high chlorophyll content, which has the effects of countering inflammation and supporting renewal of blood and tissue.

dark leafy greens
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 and when you just feel like your diet is really lacking.

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

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