Skin, the protective covering of our body bears assault of changing climates and seasons. Scorching heat of the summer vexes the skin with sun burns and dehydration. Thus the skin needs rest and rejuvenation in winter. But winter takes its own toll on the skin. The cold and dry weather of winter brings about drying of skin making it scaly. Lack of sufficient humidity out doors leads to cracked skin. Indoor heating further removes the traces of moisture and aggravates dryness of skin. Cracked, chapped and dry skin leads to various skin infections. Hence the skin has to be rejuvenated and care should be taken to keep the skin moist, soft and smooth.
The winter season is marked as Hemanta ritu in ayurveda. Hemanta ritu starts from mid November and ends in mid January. This falls in southern solstice which is called as visarga kala or dakshinayana in ayurveda. In winter the agni or body fire (digestive power) increases with the support of vata . The increased body fire even digests heavy foods easily and quickly. When sufficient food is not available for the amplified body fire it affects the nutritive fluids of body leading to vitiation of vata. Thus the vitiated vata assigns its qualities of coldness, dryness and roughness to skin. Hence in winter a great care should be taken to protect the skin with various measures regarding diets and lifestyles.
Skin care diet for winter:
1. Drink plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated. Drinking warm water in winter prevents vitiation of vata and diseases which arise from vata.
2. Soups which are sour and salted balance vata.
3. Include honey in the diet.
4. Avoid Consumption of junk foods, too much of sweets and oil food as these lead to weight gain.
5. Your diet must ideally comprise of Cane juice, milk and clarified butter (ghee) during winter.
6. Stay away from cold and refrigerated foods like ice creams, milk shakes as they vitiate vata.
7. Gorge on warm and heavy food to fulfill the requirement of increased body fire.
Skin care life styles for winter
1. Always wear warm clothes which are made of wool, silk and cotton.
2. When you are wearing clothes in layers wear cotton clothes next to your skin as they do not cause skin allergy. Moreover they absorb sweat. Where as synthetic clothes fail to do so. Unabsorbed sweat harbors microorganisms which cause skin infections.
3. Avoid long hot showers and bath.
4. Quick three minutes bath is advisable.
5. Twenty to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week can give your skin a healthy glow.
6. Avoid repeated washing of face. This washes off natural oils from your skin and makes the skin dry, scaly and wrinkled. Use Luke warm water instead of hot water to wash face.
7. Use an indoor humidifier to place moisture in the air.
Skin care accessories for winter
1. Massage your body with oils which are infused with vata balancing herbs.
2. Apply moisturizing lotion liberally all over the body.
3. Smear lip balm on lips to prevent chapping of lips.
4. Take care of your skin on heels with balms and moisturizing products.
Enjoy the winter with a glowing skin. I wish you a Happy winter.