Medical herbalist Jenny Logan writes about coping with dry, wintery skin
We are well and truly heading towards winter again. The clocks have changed, the nights are not so much drawing in as drawn in and, confession time – my heating has gone on.
The office I work in also has heating and air conditioning and, like many others I am sure, I find that this combination of factors leads to dry skin and chapped lips.
The good news though is there is no need to suffer. There are plenty of lovely natural products which can help with dry, wintery skin.
1. LOOK AT IT FROM THE INSIDE
Skin is not moisturised from the outside, much of the vital lubrication it needs is provided from within.
This means that at this time of year, when we start finding our skin is drying out, we need to look at essential fatty acid supplements. Essential fatty acids are so called, because they are
essential for the health and wellbeing of the body.
The most important to look out for are and omega 6 fatty acid called GLA and those all-important omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
Both Omega 3 and Omega 6 are important in looking
after the health of the skin, so the best supplement to look out for at this time of year, is what is known as a complete Essential Fatty
Acid (or complete EFA).
A good complete essential fatty acid product will contain a blend of fish oil – to provide the all-important EPA and DHA, starflower oil – for its GLA content and flax oil, which provides both omega 3 and 6.
I have used complete EFA products with many of my clients over the years for dry skin conditions, with some great results.
One of many favourite stories involves a young woman with very dry skin and eczema.
She was tired of using creams which provided only temporary relief, and wanted to see if there was anything else which might help her.
I spoke to her about the essential fatty acids, and told her that both GLA and the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA have been shown to be helpful for dry skin and eczema.
I suggested that she try the Natures Aid Complete EFA, which is a perfect blend of fish oil, flax oil and starflower oil. We decided to start with a high dose, to see if she could get a reasonably quick improvement, so her initial dose was three per day.
She took this for six weeks before coming back in to see me – and the improvements in that short space of time were brilliant.
I am not making any
extravagant claims like she was cured in just six weeks – but her skin was significantly better.
It was nowhere near as dry, and big patches of her eczema were starting to clear up. She decided to continue using the product, but reduced her dose to two per day. She continued this long term, and the following year, she insisted on showing me that her skin was now basically completely healthy and apparently had been so for around six months!
2. DRY EYES?
The other oil some may wish to consider is Omega 7. A less common oil, this omega is found in sea buckthorn oil, and has been found to be helpful for those struggling with dry eyes, dry mouth and intimate dryness. I have found this useful for menopausal and post-menopausal women particularly, with dry eye problems which can really flare up in the cold weather. Many have told me that taking Omega 7 supplements have really improved these issues.
3. CONSIDER YOUR MOISTURISER
I know that everyone will have a favourite moisturiser, but I genuinely believe that there is nothing better for your skin at this time of year than a good vitamin E oil.
Firstly, oils are easily absorbed by the skin, so rather than providing just surface moisture, they travel into the layers of the skin, and provide deep moisturisation – improving the long-term look and feel of the skin.
Vitamin E is known to be an important anti-oxidant – helping to protect the cells against the damage associated with pollution, the sun and aging.
This is why so many facial preparations contain vitamin E. Combining these two benefits in one lovely skin oil, is just one of the reasons I advocate using a vitamin E oil on the skin every morning and evening.
The other one – well, it costs less than most
expensive creams, out-performs those expensive creams AND a bottle tends to last for ages.