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How Spring affects the Skin

How Spring affects the Skin

Written by Mirjana (MJ) Laskovski

The skin is the largest breathing organ on our body and provides protection for our organs as the first line of defense from the outside world. Spring is the season of Wind, both in the environment and our bodies. When the body is attacked by external Wind, it can directly affect the function of the Lungs and the skin can be itchy, produce a rash or shingles.

In Chinese Medicine the skin is seen as the extension of the lungs and ways which the lungs can affect the skin or vice versa, are:

  • Smoking – will cause heat and dryness in the lungs and the area around the mouth and lips eventually the dryness will cause further dehydration and possibly wrinkles
  • Lack of exercise – its important for strengthening the lungs and building more qi
  • Poor breathing techniques – lack of quality qi from fresh air or poor breathing will mean your lungs are not adequately nourished thus the skin will also lack support
  • Toxic (beauty) products – toxins are not filtered through the skin, and by pass the liver, so go straight into the body system and will disrupt the natural skin functioning over time and internal organs functioning over a long period of time
  • Wearing too much make up  blocks the  skin from breathing
  • Grief that is not resolved – this emotion is attributed to the lungs, when grief is not resolved or causes health blocks then we consider it a toxic emotion to the lungs, because it starts to affect the proper breathing and lack of quality qi flow.

Other causes of dry skin can be from other causes (see below) which can eventually lead to premature aging, inflammation, flaky skin, to eczema and dermatitis etc

  • Heavy menstrual cycles – lose of blood without proper replenishment after a heavy period will mean not enough blood is getting circulated to all areas of the body and the skin. This leads to dryness and possibly premature aging.
  • Poor digestion or known causes in the digestive system not functioning properly – this is how we make good quality nutrients such as qi and blood to revitalise the body and the skin, if we are under producing then there isn’t enough to be supplied to the skin and/or lungs
  • Lack of “moistening” yin type foods – such as good quality fats – avocado, omega’s, some people need quality dairy food for there body type
  • Poor circulation especially of blood but also of fluids (we can see this in people who have water retention in one region of the body but overly dehydrated in another region thus causing dryness of skin
  • Eating too much spicy hot, chilli, fried foods (especially anything that is processed)-  When we over eat on yang or spicy food we create dryness through heat causing dehydration
  • Lack of quality fresh air – In winter especially being indoors with heaters it causing direct skin dehydration if not drinking enough water to replace the loss. In summer even air conditioners can cause skin to be dry by causing lack of blood circulation to the skin as the blood vessels become constricted
  • Lack of hydration – the simple h20 warm or at room temperature, our body is always working hard even when we are sleeping, so make sure you are remembering to hydrate even if you think you’re not thirsty, because in most causes symptoms and signs like tiredness,  sugar cravings, headaches can be due to lack of water intake.
  • Stress –tension in the mind and body can produce heat and inflammation and in Chinese medicine everything from our state of wellbeing including our skin is connected with our mind and emotions.

Tips:

In winter use a humidifier

Eat more neutral foods not overly spicy if you are ‘chilli’ addict – use spices very sparingly as they are potent

Avoid raw, cold foods or iced cold drinks including ice cream in winter and minimise intake in warmer weather, if you have poor digestion then limiting any intake is essential until root cause is addressed

Avoid “low fat” foods instead eat small qty of full fat foods – dairy, buttermilk – please be mindful not every one can tolerate dairy but in some cases this can be helpful for some constitutions in the short term

Avoid processed, fast food, oily, lack of nutrient foods

Eat quality fats such as – soaked nuts and seeds in small portions, avocado, salmon

Hydration – If you forget to drink sufficient water, set an alarm on your mobile and have a glass water bottle that is room temperature near you

For the skin and body

Let your skin breath without make up as much as possible especially on weekends – Also look into non toxic beauty and make up products, become aware of how these products affect your skin.

Use organic rose water for skin hydration and toner and 100% pure organic Facial oil for cleansing and moisturising

Dry brush before showering

Avoid hot showers and end with a cooler (not cold) feet/legs, hands/arm rinse (when you feel brave the whole body, head/hair last)

Use a filter on your shower head

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help with focusing on addressing the root cause of your dry skin as you can see there are a variety of causes from internal to external. With the weather warming into spring, it’s an ideal time to address skin before we get into the hotter seasons as when dehydration is most common and many flare ups occur.