It's no secret that wintertime is often the season of dry, dull skin. For many of us, ruddy cheeks, flaky and peeling skin becomes the norm. But, does it have to be? We interviewed Sandra Lanshin, Licensed Acupuncturist, Herbalist, and founder of Treatment by Lanshin - a transformative wellness space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn - about what it is that many of us could be missing when it comes to nourishing and caring for our skin throughout the winter. Who says glowing skin can only belong to our carefree, summer selves anyway?
Thanks for speaking with us Sandra! Let's dive in.
What do you wish more of your clients knew when it comes to taking care of their skin during the winter months?
I wish more people knew that to maintain skin health through the winter months, it’s important to nourish yourself from multiple sources. I recommend a trifecta of hydration:
1. Environmental humidity. Try to keep humidity levels indoors close to 50% if you can. (30% or less isn’t enough for healthy skin function.)
2. Internal hydration. Drink a variety of fluids, it’s not enough to only chug water.
3. Moisturize. Use effective hydrating and moisturizing skincare products.
What are your 3 essential steps to healthy skin in the winter? Can give us a break down and discuss why they're integral for healthy winter skin?
1. Hydrating mist (or alcohol-free toner). You need to directly deliver fluid into the skin in a form that you can control (i.e. you can use as little or as much as you need).
2. Moisturize. Use a face oil to feed skin the lipids it needs to stay supple and nourished.
3. Balm. Occlude the moisture and hydration with a heavier facial balm as a final layer to seal it all in. This is especially important if you live in a cold and windy region.
What is the biggest mistake you see clients make with their winter routines, and what do you recommend instead?
It’s not enough just to hydrate and moisturize with skincare. When it’s cold and dry, it can be really challenging to keep fluid levels sufficient both internally and on the skin’s surface. Referring back to the “trifecta” in question 1 - use a humidifier and be diligent about hydrating.
When it comes to food and nourishing our skin from the inside out, what are your go-to winter foods or herbal tea blends to recommend, and how are they helpful for skin health?
I recommend that everyone read the book Quench by Dana Cohen MD and Gina Bria. Incorporate their strategies to hydrate smarter, not harder.
During the winter I consume a lot of hot bone broths in addition to juice and water. The mineral nutrients and collagen from the bone gelatin are so supportive to the body.
I also think it’s helpful to only consume foods and beverages that are warm or hot (no iced or cold beverages and food). That makes it a lot easier to digest and integrate foods and nutrients into your system during the cold winter months.
Do you have any other go-to's that you recommend to tackle dry skin in the winter?
Winter is generally a good time to check in with your professionals, whether skincare related or general care (acupuncturist, herbalist, naturopath). It’s a time when our bodies tend to struggle to stay strong and healthy, and the need for rest and restoration is even more crucial than during other seasons.
Winter can be especially tough for those who have chronic skin conditions that are exacerbated by dryness like eczema, psoriasis, or even acne and rosacea. TCM dermatology can be helpful for those issues, and facial acupuncture and Facial Gua Sha are really helpful for moving the internal circulation of blood and fluids, which effectively boost the hydration level of skin, among other benefits.