We all look forward to the cold climate. The breezy pleasant evenings and chilly nights are welcomed with fashionable scarves, Starbucks’ signature hot chocolate, and complete change in skin care and diet. Yes, a huge makeover is needed because the native oily texture now cracks up with the drop in temperature. One simply cannot post selfies on Instagram and Facebook without the illusion of glowing healthy skin. Is there a simple trick to retain the moisture and provide rosy cheeks and luscious lips?
Skin Care – Factors that Matter
Winter or summer, dehydration can cause exhaustion, muscle fatigue, cramps and loss of coordination. When dehydrated, we can also become more susceptible to winter colds and flu. Our body is better able to break down fat for energy and appetite is better controlled when we have sufficient water. Also, sufficient hydration is key to avoiding fluid retention. We should remember that caffeine and alcohol are diuretics so when having either, it is necessary to have extra water to balance the dehydrating effect. Decaffeinated coffee and green tea does wonders as well.
A good lotion is compulsory for this weather. The best time to apply lotion is right after a shower, when the skin is still moist. It is important to take warm, but not hot showers. Hot water makes the skin feel more dry and itchy, and hair dull. Recently, humidifiers are being used in homes to maintain healthy moisture levels. If you are an early bird who likes to soak some Vitamin D, apply lip salve liberally (to avoid chapped lips) before stepping out. Protect your neck by using a scarf.
Diet and Oil intake
Comfort foods are a necessity during winter. Here are few recipes that can help you survive the guilty pleasure and not put on weight. One can have creamy pasta sauce with a healthy twist by adding steamed cauliflower with some sautéed onion and garlic, a little olive oil, and some parmesan and a splash of milk. A variety of different coloured root veggies can be used for home made crisps, with a little olive oil, sea salt and paprika. Zucchini noodles are a great alternative to regular pasta. Instead of dessert with pastry high in fats, a healthy fruit crumble can be made with seasonal fruits like apples and pears, and topped with a mixture of nuts. Hot chocolate could be enjoyed without the guilt, with raw cocoa powder, almond milk and honey. Thus, there are ways to munch without holding a grudge.
With those tips in place, some of us are more prone to dry skin while others do get by with minimal care. Some cannot seem to do without SPF in winter as well. Would you believe that our genes play a role in this too? Studies have shown that these genes are responsible for the following factors –
|Melanocortin receptor genes||Sunburns, Tan|
|Superoxide dismutase||Antiox capacity|
|Matrix metalloproteinase family||Collagen function|
|TYR (tyrosine) family||Vitiligo, Psoriasis|
Multiple companies have come in with products that provide a genetic solution for skin care. ‘Good genes, serum and mask, anti-aging creams, Vitamin E cream, – there is something for everyone. But this level of information is overwhelming for the lay man/woman. With so much available – how must one make a choice, let alone the right one? The answer is ‘awareness’ – that is the key to all these issues.
One must be aware of their skin type and products that could help maintain it. Genetic tests can be taken to know more about your skin, rather than just buying expensive ointments and creams. Counselors can be approached for a natural remedy, for an improved diet, for exercise and even for food supplements that enhance facial radiance and glow. Let this winter inspire you to be more aware, to be more proactive and implore you to be more cautious with your skin and the information you receive.
Your Skin Quotient
About the Author
Dr. Pallavi Jain is part of the Scientific Team at Mapmygenome. She has a Bachelors Degree in Biochemistry with Genetics and a PhD in Molecular Medicine (UK). She recently completed an intensive course in IVF from Origio, Mumbai. She enjoys swimming and reading.