lotus in the snowWinter can be tough on our skin. We move constantly between centrally heated or air conditioned rooms and the wind, rain or snow outside. Couple with that the stress of Christmas, winter coughs and colds, and a tendency to over indulge in comforting, rich foods and drink, and it’s little wonder that our skin starts to reflect the strain.
So, what is your skin trying to tell you this winter?
Have you noticed that your complexion is less than glowing? Are you feeling a little run down or grey?
Skin problems might be a sign that it’s time to detox, take some time out or look at your diet.

Common problems at this time of year include:

Breakouts of acne, eczema or psoriasis
Breakouts of acne, eczema or psoriasis, as well as sallow, wrinkled skin, can all by a sign of stress. Stress or lack of sleep can trigger spots on your forehead, while a weakened immune system may be the cause of spots above your brow, which often appear before, during or after you catch a cold or other illness. Spots around your chin are more likely to be hormonal.
Tip: Try to get as much rest and sleep as possible. If something specific is causing your stress, see if you can come up with a plan of action to tackle the situation and get the downtime you need. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Stress, hormones or an allergic reaction aren’t the only causes of blemishes. Outbreaks of redness and irritation can be a sign that toxins are overloading your digestive system.
Tip: A diet detox is great for clearing your skin of blemishes. Avoid sugars, refine carbs and overly processed foods, and opt instead for foods as near to their raw, natural state as possible. Have green tea, green leafy vegetables, papaya and pineapple between meals to treat inflammation.

Stretch marks and poor wound healing
Stretch marks and poor wound healing can both be a sign of zinc deficiency. Why is zinc important? Over a hundred different enzymes in your body use zinc, and it helps with things like thyroid function and bone formation. Zinc is also incredibly important for helping your immune system to work properly.
Tip: Good food sources of zinc include beans, nuts, certain types of seafood (such as oysters, crab and lobster), whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products. However, there is some debate about the extent to which diet alone can correct zinc deficiency. As zinc deficiency can be associated with a number of health problems, you should talk to your doctor for more advice.

Dull, pale complexion
At this time of year, we all find it hard to be as active. The dark evenings and cold weather just don’t invite you to step outside and exercise. However, cutting your activity can slow your circulation down and give you a dull, pale complexion.
Pale skin can also be a sign of anaemia or an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), so it’s worth speaking to a medical professional if you are concerned about any other symptoms.
Tip: Try to add some more activity to your day. Get off the bus a stop early on your way to work, take the stairs instead of the lift or head out for a brisk 10-minute walk after a big dinner.

Dry skin
It’s very common to have dry skin during the winter, especially if you have the central heating on a lot. It may be a sign that you’re dehydrated and that your skin needs some extra TLC and moisture, inside and out.
Perpetually dry, flaky and uncomfortable skin can also be a sign of fatty acid deficiency.
Tip: Drink as much water as you can throughout the day (aim for at least eight glasses) and eat fluid-dense fruits, vegetables and beans. Cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, and fish oil supplements will also give you those vital fatty acids.

Hyperpigmentation is a darkening of areas of skin or nails caused by increased melanin production. You’re most likely to see hyperpigmentation on your face, nails and hands. The most common causes of hyperpigmentation are age and sun damage.
However, hyperpigmentation can also be a sign that you’re lacking in vitamin B12.
Tip: Vitamin B12-rich foods such as sardines, salmon and yoghurt can all help tackle pigmentation. You may want to seek advice about taking a Vitamin B12 supplement.

As well as treating what’s happening on the inside of your body, you need to take extra special care of your skin during the winter too. In a recent article, we looked at 11 skincare tips that every woman needs to know.

Christmas and New Year are often chaotic but I do hope you’ll find some time to look after yourself over the festive season. With a bit of time and attention, your skin can look and feel amazing all year round.

Wishing you a wonderful New Year from Mellow Skincare.

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