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Cold-weather Nutrition and the Skin

By: Pat Lam
Posted: September 25, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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It is recommended that sufferers be exposed regularly to bright light, such as fluorescent light. Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure (Viking Press, 2002), recommends three ways to fight SAD: exposure to bright indoor lights, participation in regular exercise and consumption of healthy foods, such low glycemic index (GI) foods, since high GI foods—highly processed and high in sugar content—tend to increase insulin levels and create sluggishness. Other dietary recommendations include reduced caffeine intake, since it has been shown to suppress the release of serotonin. Choose low-fat protein, such as beans and turkey, brightly colored vegetables and whole fruits; reduce starchy foods that provide little fiber and cookies as snacks. These habits will also help to avoid unwanted weight gain during the winter when the body’s metabolism is low. Some recommendations for snacks include popcorn, nuts, peanut butter and fruit.

In addition to suggesting that clients adjust eating behavior with the seasons, it is also essential to adjust your skin care practices to maintain clients’ skin and body.

Winter skin care

Clients visit you all year round, but it is particularly during the winter that they need professional help to protect and prevent dryness and irritation due to cold weather, which takes a toll on skin, resulting in dryness and cracking on hands and feet, and deepening of lines and wrinkles on the face. Low humidity affects the skin on the face and body, resulting in feelings of extreme dryness, irritation and itchiness, leading to inflammation and conditions such as eczema. Following is some skin care advice to dispense to clients during the winter months.

1. Use more topical moisturizing skin care products. Even clients with oily skin might experience tightness and dehydration, especially if an alcohol-based product was used during the summer. Use a good, nourishing cream on both the face and body to combat the harsh, cold winds and protect against moisture loss from the dry winter air. Avoid alcohol-based products for the skin and hair since they cause extreme dryness.

2. Protect your hands by using gloves to wash dishes and use a heavy hand cream after the chore. Use softeners in laundry soaps to prevent your clothing from becoming too dry—it will cause itchiness against the skin.