Well it’s officially cold outside where I live, and there is no way I’m wearing a sundress or a bathing suit for the rest of the year. Which means it’s time to repair my skin from this past summer’s sun damage as well as protect it for the upcoming winter.
To that end, today I’m going to share with you my 12 holistic skincare tips for the fall transition. Here we go:
12 Effective Tips To Repair And Protect Your Skin:
1. Get Your Body Grounded:
This first tip will be no surprise to folks who already read my blog: the number one skin care tip I can give you is to ground your body every day.
Yeah sure there are literally head to toe benefits in every major organ system as well, but it also boosts skin health thanks to increased circulation bringing more nutrients and oxygen to your skin, removing free radicals and other skin damaging by products, healing wounds in your skin three times faster, and even deepening your sleep which boosts collagen integrity.
I recently published an article in Current Research In Alternative And Complementary Medicine here (just click this link o read the entire report) all about grounding’s skin boosting potential. Here are some of the points I touch on:
Multiple grounding studies have shown health benefits to the skin through contact with the DC energy of the earth. One double blinded placebo based study found that grounding significantly (and nearly instantaneously) increased blood flow in the facial skin of grounded test subjects, while subjects who were ungrounded had no change in their facial blood flow. 
Another study found that applying DC energy (the same energy as grounding) tripled the rate of wound healing for healthy skin, making normal skin heal three times faster. In fact, DC energy improved skin healing in impaired skin so well that it healed at almost the same rate as totally healthy skin did. 
Another study found that grounding simultaneously decreased inflammation and boosted immune function which then resulted in improved wound healing in multiple test subjects. .
Grounding was even found to decrease blood glucose in diabetic patients, which helps explain why applying a DC energy current to diabetic skin made it heal almost as fast as healthy, non-diabetic skin. 
Studies on grounding and sleep have shown that being conductively connected to the earth deepens restorative sleep, normalizes cortisol, helps to relax muscles, and boost mood .
Confirming this was an interesting double blinded placebo based study that found that a 30 minute grounding session was enough to make a statistically significant improvement in quality of sleep in Alzheimers patients. 
What does sleep and sleep quality have to do with skin health? Recent studies have found a direct correlation between sleep and collagen integrity, suggesting that beauty sleep is real. Researchers found that poor sleep actually caused a decrease in the structural integrity of collagen with an increase in collagen misalignment. . So over a lifetime, decreased sleep quality may literally be visible in your skin as your collagen becomes more misaligned, weaker, less elastic, and contributes to accelerated aging. Conversely, improving sleep over a lifetime may help provide skin healing and even anti-aging benefits by boosting collagen integrity and skin repair while you sleep.
All together, grounding to the earth — a totally natural DC energy source — is a completely natural, exceptionally easy way to support skin health, helping to heal wounds and repair skin by boosting blood flow, improving oxygen and nutrients to the surface of the skin, even protecting the collagen of your skin by improving your sleep. All it takes is going outside to touch the earth directly, or applying the earth’s DC energy to the skin through a grounding cord or ground stake.
Make sure you have an indoor way to stay grounded this winter even when the weather forces you to stay sheltered. Here are the most eco-friendly, long lasting, superior quality (artisan hand crafted) indoor grounding tools in the world:
2. Take Curcumin To Protect Against Melanoma:
Did you know that Curcumin has been specifically shown to target and kill melanoma cancer cells? Read this study published in the International Journal of Cancer in October 2016 for a good overview on what we know about curcumin and melanoma so far.
If you want to add the anti-cancer benefits of curcumin to your health regime (which I highly recommend if you have any personal or family history of melanoma or even if you just have a history of intense sun exposure) I recommend taking a pharmacy grade supplement that couples a 500 mg dose of curcumin with bioperine to help increase the bioavailablility and absorption of the curcumin.
The one I listed in my Skin Repair Protocol here is my favorite:
3. Use Vitamin B3 to Decrease Other Forms of Skin Cancer:
Clear evidence that a simple vitamin can be cancer preventive: Vitamin B3 dramatically reduces skin cancer rates.
Presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2015 Annual Meeting in May 2014, Vitamin B3 has been shown to be a safe, effective way to reduce your risk of recurrent skin cancer. Researchers looked at over 380 patients with a prior history of non-melanoma skin cancers, giving half nicotinamide supplements and half a placebo, and followed them for a year. They found the patients in the Vitamin B3 group had a quarter less skin cancers total (a 23% decrease) than control patients:
- Basal cell occurrence decreased by 20%
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma decreased by 30%
- Actinic Keratosis decreased by 13%
Niacinamide (Vit B3, also known as Nicotinamide) enhances DNA repair in skin cells damaged by UV light, as well as boosts the immune system and prevents the suppression of immunity by ultraviolet radiation. (Nicotinamide has other benefits as well, including preliminary studies showing a boost in cognition… helping to restore cognition in Alzheimers!)
So… if you have a history of serious sun exposure? Or a history of previous skin cancers? Or you just want less unsightly actinic keretosis popping up in the future? Vitamin B 3 offers 100% all natural holistic chemo-prevention! Vitamin B is safe, inexpensive, proven. Find my favorite Vitamin B3 and Curcumin supplements together in my Skin Repair Protocol, here. I have both topical (lotion) and capsule forms of Niacinamide listed for you here:
4. Add on Topical CBD Products:
CBD is incredibly anti-inflammatory and soothing (if you want to hear me speak about the role of CBD in trauma recovery, you can listen to my podcast on that here) so it’s no surprise that researchers have found several different cannabinoid receptors in the skin.
Both cannabinoid receptors type 1 and type 2 (CB1 and CB2) are found in all skin, and help regulate everything from our hair growth to our skin’s immune system to our skin’s oil production. CB1 and CB2 receptors have been found in our keratinocytes, hair follicles, sebeceous glands, on the skin’s nerve fibers (including pain receptors that give rise to pain and itch sensations) and mast cells (which are responsible for our skin’s allergic response.)
CBD has been well studied for it’s role in facilitating skin healing, treating acne, reducing itch and even decreasing inflammatory reactions such as eczema. Researchers have found that supporting the endocannabinoid system may help reduce pruritus (itching) associated with chronic skin conditions, as well as decrease inflammation (showing promise for help in treating eczema) as well as decreasing oil production (making it a new avenue to treat acne.).
Many major research articles suggest that application of CBD to the skin improves human skin function while also being incredibly safe and well tolerated. I’ve listed some of the best ones below, if you’d like to dive directly into the medical literature on this:
- Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Skin Health and Disorders
- The antimicrobial potential of cannabidiol
- Topical Administration of Cannabidiol: Influence of Vehicle-Related Aspects on Skin Permeation Process
- The potential role of cannabinoids in dermatology
- Cannabidiol induces antioxidant pathways in keratinocytes
- Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes
- An Observational Study of the Application of a Topical Cannabinoid Gel on Sensitive Dry Skin
- Tolerability profile of topical cannabidiol: evaluator-blinded clinical and in vitro studies in normal skin
- In vitro percutaneous absorption studies of cannabidiol using human skin
- Cannabidiol-Mediated Changes to Keratinocytes from Psoriatic Patients
- The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) on Acne
- Cannabis sativa and Skin Health: Dissecting the Role of Phytocannabinoids
The purity and potency of the vast majority of CBD products on the market is super variable and of questionable quality, so I highly recommend getting your CBD (whether topicals, capsules, gummies or tinctures) through ECS Therapeutics, which requires a physician to order it for you.
These are prescription grade, pharmacy quality CBD oil products that are organically grown right here in the USA and quality tested more thouroghly than any other CBD product I have ever seen. It’s the only one I personally trust and use. You can ask your in person physician for an ECS Therapeutics prescription, or you can fill out my contact form here to request more information on prescription strength CBD products ordered directly through me.
So if your acne topicals, or ezema ointments, or antihistamine lotions, or any other topical skin care products you have tried have failed to help resolve your chronic skin issue, I highly recommend giving CBD products a chance to get your skin into it’s best shape ever. And now is the time to do it, before the cold, raw temperatures outside and the super dried-out, heated air on the inside makes your skin condition worse.
5. Exfoliate with Baking Soda or Dry Brush Your Skin:
Many of us stop exfoliating in winter as our skin isn’t on show as much. But giving your skin a quick daily or even just a weekly exfoliation will sweep away dead skin cells and allow your skin to better absorb your moisturizer afterwards as well as decreasing the layer of dead keratinocytes on top, which can help decrease the likelihood of your skin cracking.
To exfoliate, simply make a paste by mixing baking soda and a little water in the palm of your hand and us it to gently scrub your skin to remove dead skin cells, or alternatively you can dry brush your skin using a natural bristled brush before stepping in the shower or bath, or an all natural hemp exfoliation mit while in the shower (this is the one I use.)
6. Bathe In Honey:
Add a half cup of honey to your bath water to nourish your skin and speed the healing of any winter chapped skin. Findings published in 2012 in the International Wound Journal show that when raw honey was used on all types of wounds, it:
- promoted healing
- minimized necrosis
- minimized the amount of skin that sloughed off the wound
- reduced wound size
- decreased affected area around wound
Not only did it help speed wound healing, but it made a measurable improvement in over 84% of wounds!!!! We are talking:
- post operative wounds
- general skin wounds
- pressure sores and more!
Honey is all natural, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, accelerates wound healing and decreases the risk of scarring…. making it the perfect skin supportive, holistic bath soak. Another tip is to use warm, but not hot water when you bathe. Even though it is tempting to blast hot water in the shower to warm up, the extra heat strips the skin of its oils more quickly. Keep the bath or shower warm, not hot, stay in the water for less time, and decrease the frequency of your bathing in the winter months.
7. Seal In Moisture After Bathing:
Use a beautiful, all natural, super healing organic oil directly on skin — such as coconut oil or sunflower seed oil (these are my two favs because they are both medically shown to repair the lipid bilayer best.)
Oil seals in moisture better than a lotion or cream which both are water based and will not provide a skin barrier the way a pure oil will. You want to apply an oil on top of skin that is already hydrated, so it’s perfect to use right after bathing, or on top of a water based moisturizer that you apply first.
8. Protect Your Nasal Mucosa With a Humidifier + Coconut Oil:
Humidifying room air and keep well-hydrated internally by drinking water copiously — these two steps will prevent the tendency to develop chapped tight skin and dry, uncomfortable nasal passages.
If you only have one humidifier, place it in your bedroom so that you can sleep in a moisturized environment at night.
You can also use a cotton swab to apply a little coconut oil just inside the nasal openings to help protect your nasal mucosa from drying out! Apply nightly and you will be shocked at how much better your nose feels this winter!
9. Make Coconut Oil Lip Balm to Use Throughout the Day:
It’s so easy to mix up your own homemade lip protection, it takes less then one minute and you can even use it as an intensive hand and foot salve.
Simply melt 2 parts coconut oil with one part beeswax (for example, 2 TBSP coconut oil and 1 TBSP beeswax) in a microwave or over a double broiler. Stir and add a few drops of Vit E (I simply snip the end off of a capsule of Vit E and squeeze it right in) and stir again. You can add a drop or two of honey for sweetness (and honey is incredibly skin supportive as a topical treatment for wound healing, as mentioned above) and pour the mixture into a clean, recycled container or small jar.Empty skincare jars or mint tins work well.
Use liberally to protect your lips and save them from winter dryness!
10. Moisturize Skin From Within:
If you are not internally hydrating your body, there is no amount of external moisturizer you can put on your skin that will effectively hydrate it. So all winter long, drink lots of pure, filtered water all day, every day.
Even though it’s so much easier to remember to stay hydrated in the summer when we are hot and sweating, please don’t ignore your hydration status in the winter when it is every bit as crucial, if not more so. Dry skin is dehydrated skin.
You can also support your skin by eating foods rich in healthy fats that supply your skin with the essential vital nutrients it needs to maintain its crucial lipid bilayer. Take care to consume foods such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, pistachios, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, fish, flaxseed and kelp all winter long.
11. Take High Quality Omega 3 Supplements Daily:
Drinking water and eating healthy fats in the winter may not be enough to maintain a healthy skin lipid bilayer, especially if you are prone to dry skin, psoriasis or eczema. I highly recommend taking a high quality Omega 3 supplement daily (for so many reasons, from preserving brain volume to decreasing ADHD symptoms to supporting heart health to keeping your skin supple.)
I added the Omega 3 supplement that I personally take to my Skin Repair Protocol here, in case you want to take it right along with me.
12. Get Extra Sleep:
Take advantage of the longer nights, the soft indirect lighting of winter and the natural urge to hibernate more to repair your sleep deficit and stock up on restorative beauty sleep. This decreases the stress on your body from the inside and out, allows your skin to repair more easily, giving your complexion a natural boost!
I mentioned in tip #1 above (grounding) that improving sleep protects the structural integrity of your collagen. If you’d like to hear me talk more about why sleep actually does improve your skin’s appearance, you can hop over here to listen to my podcast on Beauty Sleep.
More on this topic soon, as I am working on an article about maximizing sleep in the winter, which will be out on my blog in the next few weeks! If you are not yet signed up to get my weekly blog post into your inbox, you can sign up right here so you don’t miss this important article:
Bonus Tip: Re-evaluate your boundaries:
Your skin is always speaking to you.
Skin can speak subtly through chronic messages that it whispers to you your entire life… or skin can scream loudly and angrily during acute transitions and times of crisis.
Because our skin replicates so quickly, it is a wonderful mirror for what is going on with the rest of our body and mind:
- If we are anemic, it shows us quickly.
- If we are dehydrated, it shows us quickly.
- If we are malnourished, our skin will lack that robust glow that healthy skin gives.
- If we have been neglecting our selves in other ways, our skin will reveal us.
- If we are unhappy, our skin literally sags.
- If we have lost connection with joy, our skin tells it.
- If we feel ugly, our skin mirrors that.
And because it covers our entire body, every thought we think and every word we say and every intention we ever have passes through our skin on its way to communicate with the outside world.
So it doesn’t just protect us from the world… quite the opposite is true too: it translates our inner being to the surface. It shows the world what is going on inside of us.
It is constantly in contact with and intimate with our inner workings. Because of this, skin reflects how we feel about ourselves. Skin forms our barrier, our identity. It forms what we perceive as *us* and delineates *us* from *the rest of the world*.
In short, skin represents our personal boundary.
And every winter… during the darkest, coldest months, we get an invitation to go inward re-evaluate our boundaries before we emerge this coming spring fresh and new.
Grab a journal or get into an open meditative mindframe and ask yourself:
- Are you grinning and bearing something that you’d secretly like to say a firm no to?
- Are you letting someone in your energy space that constantly irritates or drains you?
- Do you need to set some healthy boundaries at work?
- Do you need to set clearer boundaries around your time? We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but if you are doing activities you don’t feel aligned with or tending to emotional needs of others constantly, you will find much of that time will disappear and you won’t even know where it all went.
- Do you have a friendship that needs some boundaries clarified and strengthened?
- Do you have a family member that you need to create firmer boundaries and consequences of boundary violations with?
- Do you need more personal space when you are home? Do you have a place where it’s clear to everyone sharing your home that they are not to disturb you?
- Do you need to set boundaries in your sexual relationships?
Double-check that you say no when you need to and have clear boundaries that allow you to do what you truly want to do and enjoy that without guilt.
If you find your skin is stressed out, ask yourself what boundaries need to be strengthened in your life and meanwhile give your skin a little TLC with the other 9 steps listed above and watch the energy shift and your skin improve dramatically.
To your beautiful, radiant, ever repairing skin…
Laura Koniver MD
- Chevalier G (2014) Grounding the Human Body Improves Facial Blood Flow Regulation: Results of a Randomized, Placebo Controlled Pilot Study. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications 4:293-308.
- Shaner S, Savelyeva A, Kvartuh A, Jedrusik N, Matter L, et al., (2023) Bioelectronic microfluidic wound healing: a platform for investigating direct current stimulation of injured cell collectives. Lab Chip 23:1531- 1546.
- Oschman J, Chevalier G, Brown R. The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. J Inflamm Res. 2015;8:83-96 https://doi.org/10.2147/JIR.S69656
- Sokal K, Sokal P. Earthing the human body influences physiologic processes. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Apr;17(4):301-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0687. Epub 2011 Apr 6. PMID: 21469913; PMCID: PMC3154031.
- Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Sokal K, Sokal P. Earthing: health implications of reconnecting the human body to the Earth’s surface electrons. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:291541.
- Lin C-H, Tseng S-T, Chuang Y-C, Kuo C-E, Chen N-C. Grounding the Body Improves Sleep Quality in Patients with Mild Alzheimer’s Disease: A Pilot Study. Healthcare. 2022; 10(3):581. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10030581
- Joan Chang, Richa Garva, Adam Pickard, Ching-Yan Chloé Yeung, Venkatesh Mallikarjun, Joe Swift, David F. Holmes, Ben Calverley, Yinhui Lu, Antony Adamson, Helena Raymond-Hayling, Oliver Jensen, Tom Shearer, Qing Jun Meng, Karl E. Kadler. Circadian control of the secretory pathway maintains collagen homeostasis. Nature Cell Biology, 2020; 22 (1): 74 DOI: 10.1038/s41556-019-0441-z