11 Anti-Aging Tips for Winter Hydration

photo credit: Corbis
photo credit: Corbis

As the temperature drops and we turn up the heat to stay cozy, the air dries out leaving us itchy, flaking and vulnerable to premature aging. Winter activities like skiing, snow shoeing and even just shovelling your driveway can put you at risk of dehydration because your lungs are working extra hard to warm and humidify the dry, cold air you are breathing. Altitudes also play a factor. Staying hydrated in winter can be a challenge as our need for water intake increases, but our natural response doesn’t. By the time we feel thirsty, we are already very dehydrated!

Here are 11 tips for staying hydrated in the Winter:

1. Water Plus – for activities less than an hour, water is sufficient for hydrating. If you are being active for more duration than an hour, such as a 4hr ski day or 2hr trail walk, you will also need to include electrolytes and carbohydrates in your beverage. Make your own sports drink by mixing in a bit of fruit juice and a sprinkle of himalayan or sea salt.

2. Keep Warm – drinking room temp or tepid drinks keeps the body temperature optimal. Hot, hot baths and showers are harsh and can dehydrate the skin further, so try to stick to warm temperatures instead.

3. Not Just Breakfast – oats and honey may be a delicious combination for breakfast, but your skin and hair will love them too! Oatmeal and honey are both hydrating and soothing for dry, itchy skin. You can soak with a 1/4 cup of both in the tub, or finely blend up leftover (cooked, moist) oatmeal and honey with an equal part olive oil for a hydrating skin or hair mask. Rinse with cool water or shampoo as normal.

4. Get Fresh – winter seasonal fresh fruits such as pears and apples are 84% water and contain Vitamin C which is great for the skin so get your daily intake. Holiday favourite, mandarin oranges, are 87% water so go ahead and indulge.

5. Soup for You – eating your water is a great way to up your water intake. Soups are not only hydrating, but also great for your gut health. Try your hand at making your own homemade soups. Boil bones for broth, along with veggie scraps leftover from other meals. Get inspired by seasonal flavours like butternut squash, pumpkin spice, turkey with rice, or ginger-mandarin carrot.

6. Salty Snacks – this is NOT a green light for destroying a bag of potato chips, but slightly increasing your salt intake can help you retain water to stay hydrated. Choose foods like celery, leafy greens, carrots, potatoes and kelp which are naturally saline. Season your food moderately with mineral rich himalayan or sea salt.

7. Cuppa – its no coincidence that reaching for a cup of cocoa after hitting the slopes is so soothing. Chocolate milk is known as the ultimate recovery drink with its 4:1 carbs to protein ratio. Spend a little extra on quality, dark chocolate Dutch cocoa. It is a rich source of anti-aging antioxidants.

8. Cover Up – protect your skin from reflecting sun and dry air by wearing gloves, scarves, hats and sunscreen on exposed areas.  Don’t forget your hair! You can prevent your hair from drying out in the winter by using a protective moisturizing spray, and keeping it braided or in a bun tucked up under a hat.

9. Oils, Oils, Oils – using natural, unrefined plant oils on your skin and hair helps to seal in moisture, hydrate and soften. After a bath or shower, apply oils like coconut, almond, or jojoba to still-wet skin. Argan oil is a favourite for hair. Switch to using oil as your facial cleanser/make-up remover in the winter. Just apply oils, massage in, and wipe off with a warm cloth. Mist with a hydrating toner made out of aloe or rose water, then apply an oil serum to face and lips to hydrate overnight.

10. Exfoliate – there is nothing more aging than dry skin. Chronically dry skin will cause fine lines, wrinkles and crepe-ing of the skin. Dry surface skin cells will inhibit absorption of creams or oils and also clog pores which may lead to breakouts or enlarged pores. Proper exfoliation is critical in the winter to shed those layers of dead skin, and promote new cell growth. The absolute proven BEST exfoliant to use in the winter is Yonka’s Gommage 305 for dry and sensitive skin.

11. Humidify – raise the humidity in your environment by investing in a humidifier, nebulizer, house plants, or water features like a fountain or a bowl or vase you can decorate with plants, fish or floating candles. Leave the fan off when having a shower so after you can let the steam out to moisturize the rest of the air in your home. Naturally scent and humidify your home by placing a pot of water on the stovetop at a slow simmer and throw in a few holiday scented items like orange peels, cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla bean, or pine boughs. Be careful and set a timer to keep a watchful eye on this one!