Oh, the weather outside is frightful … brutal winter weather—and the cold temperatures and icy winds that accompany it—doesn’t just impact immune systems or emotional well-being, it often devastates skin causing roughness, redness, tightening, cracking and peeling.

But dry, flaky, tight, itchy skin doesn’t have to be a cruel side effect of winter, according to Shauna Birdsall, ND, FABNO, director of Naturopathic Medicine at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) Western Regional Medical Center.

According to Birdsall, there are some simple tips anyone can integrate into their overall wellness program to ensure they keep healthy, beautiful skin all winter long. “Naturopathic medicine can offer holistic solutions that helps skin glow from the inside out,” she said.

CTCA® is located in Arizona and is proud to serve patients throughout the state of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. CTCA develops a personalized treatment plan specific to each of its patients. In addition to providing cancer patients with access to the latest state-of-the-art technologies and conventional oncology treatment options, CTCA also offers integrative medicine to support patients with  naturopathic medicine , nutrition, mind-body medicine, acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, occupational therapy and more.

A vital part of CTCA’s integrative medicine treatment plan, naturopathic medicine uses evidence-based natural therapies to help patients both maintain and restore health.”

“Naturopathic doctors take a ‘whole person’ approach to skin care that may help more than just your skin feel better,“ said Birdsall, who explains that a prescription for optimal winter skin care need not be expensive or time-consuming.

Below are ten tips from Birdsall and the integrative medicine team at CTCA to help you enjoy more vibrant skin this winter.

1.    Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water is crucial to beautiful skin. Think of water as an internal moisturizer. Dehydrated skin is less able to weather the dryness of winter and may even show tiny cracks and wrinkles.

2.    Exercise. Movement increases circulation, which helps bring more oxygen to skin cells and helps pump waste products out. Increasing blood flow makes skin look rosier, giving it a special glow. Don't make exercise too complicated. Go for a brisk walk, enjoy a winter hike, or even do some stretching or yoga. Any increase in breathing and movement will help. 



3.    Eat well. Registered dietitians promote eating a well-balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Antioxidants from brightly colored fruits and vegetables provide the nutrients needed to keep skin cells healthy and to fight free radicals. Eating the whole food provides more of the natural chemicals found in foods (called phytonutrients) than a multivitamin and has additional health benefits as well. 



4.    Get enough rest. Sleep is the time for the body to undergo restoration. Ever notice how healthy your skin looks after a good night's rest? Sleep is an essential time when your body can restore and repair, including your skin. 



5.    Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Healthy eating guidelines include diets rich in cold water fish, such as salmon, as well as nuts and seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects that can help improve skin's texture and appearance. Fish oil supplements may also help. Before taking a supplement, visit with your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional to ensure there are no concerns regarding interactions with current medications or other factors affecting your health. 



6.    Reconsider your soap. Antibacterial soaps can be very drying, particularly during harsh winter months. Consider a moisturizing bath soap instead. Use a gentle cleanser on your face. Wash your hands frequently (to prevent winter colds, influenza and other viruses from spreading), but use a moisturizing lotion afterwards as a barrier to prevent further drying and cracking. 



7.    Re-evaluate the skin care products you are using. Are they really meeting your needs this winter? Does your skin look and feel good right now? You may need to use different products during the winter and summer months. While there are many effective skin care products, there are just as many that are hype or overrated. You do not need to spend a fortune on skin care. The right products for you are the ones that are within your budget and make your skin feel good. Consider trying some new products for your skin. Natural food stores often carry skin care lines with less harmful chemicals that are better for you and better for the environment. 



8.    Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize. Apply moisturizer in the morning. Consider a moisturizing foundation (if you use one). Take a few minutes to wash your face with a gentle, non-drying cleanser at night and moisturize your face at night. Use a body lotion after bathing to moisturize your whole body. 



9.    Protect your skin from the sun. Many of us are not as conscious of the detrimental effects of sun exposure during the winter as we are in the summer. Always apply sunscreen with  to any exposed skin when you are outdoors. Even if you are inside all day, apply sunscreen containing moisturizer to your face, as you can still be exposed to the sun’s harmful rays. This will also help maintain a more youthful appearance for a longer period of time, as ultraviolet radiation can hasten the aging process. 



10.    If you smoke, stop! Besides being the single most important step to prevent cancer, you can also help your skin by quitting smoking. No amount of optimal skin care can override the detrimental effects of smoking to your skin. Stay away from second hand smoke as much as possible, too.

From bright, sunny days to harsh, snowy conditions, the ever-changing winter season can be a challenge to maintaining beautiful skin. Making skin care a priority through a few careful choices on your part can bring relief. And, applying these tips all season long will lead to much healthier winter skin, from the inside out!

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About Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Inc. (CTCA) is a national network of hospitals focusing on complex and advanced stage cancer. CTCA offers a comprehensive, fully integrated approach to cancer treatment and serves patients from all 50 states at facilities located in Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Tulsa. Known for delivering the Mother Standard® of care and Patient Empowerment Medicine®, CTCA provides patients with information about cancer and their treatment options so they can control their treatment decisions. For more information about CTCA, go to www.cancercenter.com.

Tags: America, CTCA, Cancer, care, centers, of, skin, treatment, winter

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