Healing Dry Winter Skin with Ayurveda

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Maybe for your Christmas cookie obsession. Not so for your skin. In fact, dry winter skin can make this the most miserable time of the year. But fear not; we’ve got some tricks and tips to help your skin survive the coldest time of year.

“Winter can do a number on our skin,” says Poéthique founder, Gayatri Pradhan. “Between the dry air as heaters are turned on, and the cold, biting wind, skin can get dehydrated, splotchy and in extreme cases, cracked pretty quickly.”

That’s why Gayatri turns to Ayurveda, the Indian system of healing.

“In Ayurveda, winter is characterized as a ‘vata’ season because it shows similar qualities as the ‘vata’ principle: cold, dry, light and clear,” says Gayatri. “An excess of vata principle could lead to dry skin, anxiety, and even depression.” 

Fortunately, we can balace the vata by incorporating elements that are more warming and lubricating. And when it comes to dry winter skin, the answers may seem obvious: lux, rich crèmes and oils to penetrate deep into the skin, not only adding moisture but keeping it in the skin. 

“From a skincare perspective, this means regularly oiling the skin in a caring self-massage (called Abhayanga),” says Gayatri. She recommends heavier oils such as almond or sesame, warmed slightly.” Use them on the skin either in the morning before a shower or in the evening before bed.

“Your skin will glow gorgeously!”

Not all skincare happens on the surface, though. Eating a well-balanced diet filled with healthy-fat foods like avocado can keep skin supple and soft. Avocados are packed with the benefits of vitamin E, “which help prevent free radical damage, boosts immunity and acts as an anti-aging nutrient for your skin,” says Dr. Axe, renowned health expert.

Dr. Axe also recommends going heavy on the coconut oil—both internally and externally.

“[T]he benefits of coconut oil are many,” he says. “It’s rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are easy for your body to digest, not readily stored by the body as fat and small in size, allowing them to infuse cells with energy almost immediately.”

Coconut oil can be used in addition to a moisturizing regimen or as one. It can remove makeup and clean the skin all while bringing much-needed moisture. It’s fantastic for dry, flaky scalps as well and has been prized in India and Ayurvedic practices as a multipurpose miracle oil. Try massaging the scalp with coconut oil before shampooing and conditioning hair to decrease flaking and itching. Use coconut oil as a body lotion, on dry hands and feet, cracked cuticles, or on extra dry, chapped lips.

And be sure to keep drinking water! It’s easy to forget about water when there are so many peppermint lattes to down before the New Year, but staying hydrated is important in keeping skin well moisturized.