Brutal winter months can be the harshest on our skin. The lack of sun combined with frigid cold temperatures are more than enough to completely dehydrate the skin. In the West, the most trusted approach to remedying ‘dry winter skin’ is through expensive creams and pharmaceutical drugs. This view has turned the skin care industry into one of the most profitable beauty industries in the West. Although luxurious creams and lotions may appear to relieve dryness in the short-term, they lack long-term results. In the East however, alternative medicine like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has shown to have long lasting skin hydrating remedies that keep your skin healthy and hydrated during long winter months.
Since skin is the largest organ in our body, it is important that we keep it healthy and moisturized. TCM is effective because it targets skin conditions right down to the core and to its root causes. TCM-based creams and remedies consist of natural ingredients and techniques that have been used to treat skin problems for thousands of years, originating in China. TCM can, in fact, be considered pretty revolutionary because it helps our skin recover from the inside out. TCM is not the only popular way to deal with dry skin; Ayurveda which originates from India also have their own remedies which are also as old as TCM and are also popular for treating root causes.
How Does Traditional Chinese Medicine Work?
TCM views our bodies as a collection of connected organs. Skin situations like dry winter skin can be caused by both internal and external factors. While cold weather can significantly damage our skin’s natural health, internal imbalances also play a key role. Imbalances in internal factors, may include:
- Qi (the circulating life force)
- Lack of blood flow or circulation
- Yin (excess off or too little yin, which is the passive female principle of the universe, associated with earth, dark, and cold)
- Yang (excess off or too little yang, the active male principle of the universe, associated with heaven, heat, and light)
- Unbalanced bodily energy flow
When the above are not sufficient, overly produced or unbalanced, it can have a great impact on the overall health of our skin. TCM understands that external factors like weather can also enter our bodies and alter our internal balances. Therefore an overall balance of all forces is required, to produce healthy skin.
TCM Treatments That Can Keep Your Skin Healthy During Winter
- Introducing wolfberry (a popular herb in Chinese medicine for alleviating dry skin) to your diet
- Engaging in acupuncture to improve internal imbalances and increase the flow of Qi throughout the body
- Promoting yin and reducing yang by integrating cooling foods into your diet (cucumbers, watermelon and lotus fruit)
- Bathing in olive oil or oilatum to hydrate the skin
- Adding olive oil to your meals to stimulate skin health and to keep it glowing
- Consuming lots of water to keep your skin moisturized
TCM does suggest for us to to stay away from alcohol, deep-fried foods, and caffeine, for they tend to dehydrate the skin.
Natural Ingredients In Traditional Chinese Medicine That Can Keep Your Skin Healthy During Winter
- Wolfberries: a well-known remedy for promoting Yin, as well as improving blood circulation and Qi
- Mung Beans: adding cooling beans and vegetables can purify your body by reducing heat and restoring Qi
- Red Dates: Warming (yang ingredients) that increase Qi and offer anti-aging benefits
- Dandelion Tea: A yin herb that is used to purge the body of harmful toxins, purify the blood and improve digestion, which can positively impact skin health
Other TCM Techniques For Maintaining Healthy Skin During Winter
- Try using a jade roller to improve blood circulation in the face by eliminating negative Qi and helping your skin to appear more youthful due to better circulation
- Indulge in a herbal bath consisting of dried lotus leaf, poria, wolfberries, and aloe leaves to rejuvenate the skin
The key to maintaining healthy skin in the winter is to skip those expensive creams.. Instead, let’s work our way from the inside out. Embrace TCM by focusing on increasing our Qi, blood flow and bodily energy, the natural and sustainable way.