Oil: The Key to a Healthy Fall and Winter

autumn dry skin healing self-care vata winter Dec 09, 2018

As the weather cools and the days grow shorter, you may have noticed your body getting more dry in many areas. Chapped lips, dry mouth, raw nasal passages, and rough or flaky skin are all signs that you aren’t getting enough moisture into your system. When we think of hydration, we often think of a need for water. Drinking water is one way to hydrate, but another very important mode of hydration is oil, especially used topically on your skin.  

Lotion vs. Oil

Many people turn to lotion when their skin gets dry but there is an unfortunate fact about lotion: It is a combination of water and oil, which are not made to mix. Lotion, ultimately isn’t as hydrating and goes rancid more quickly. Additionally, lotion often contains chemicals and artificial fragrances that contaminate the body. One rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t eat it, you shouldn’t put it on your skin.

What kind of oil to use

Depending on the time of year and your constitution, different oils will work better for you. If it is winter, or you tend to have cold hands and feet, feel anxious, have a lighter build, and your skin is dry, use unrefined, organic sesame oil. If it is summer, or your body tends to run hot, you feel easily frustrated, and your skin stays hydrated except in the winter, use unrefined, organic coconut oil. If it is Spring, or you tend toward heaviness in your mood and body, and your skin is naturally well lubricated, use unrefined organic sunflower or mustard seed oil.

How to apply - Your whole body needs attention, not just specific parts. After a bath or shower, massage a small amount of oil into your whole body. In addition to hydrating, the massage moves lymph which boosts your immune system and helps relieve stagnation.

Effect on nervous and immune systems

Applying oil to the body is one of the best ways to calm the nervous system. Oil is deeply nourishing to the body and the mind. Frequent oil massage helps relieve stress, supports good sleep, and boosts your immunity. One way oiling helps protect you from getting sick is that it provides a barrier to germs. Well lubricated skin is not as susceptible to cold, environmental toxins and germs. Having oil on the skin also feeds a healthy skin microbiome which is important for overall health and slows the ageing process.

As the holidays draw near, why not begin to incorporate oiling as a wonderful habit of self care? It will make your holiday experience more calm and nourishing through presence, not presents. Let me know how it goes!

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