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Your skin has strong tendencies toward coolness and dryness with a minor tendency toward oiliness and wetness, much like the Highland climate
Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification: Cwb, Cwc
Your skin has strong tendencies toward coolness and dryness with a minor tendency toward oiliness/wetness, much like the highland climate. Highland climates are cool to cold year-round and are found in mountain areas and high plateaus, such as the Rocky Mountain Range in North America, the Andean Mountain Range in South America, the Alps in Europe, and the Himalayas in Tibet. The temperature typically ranges from -18 °C (-2 °F) to 10 °C (50°F), and annual precipitation averages about 10 inches. The primary source of moisture in highland climates is from snowmelt in the spring and summer.
Similarly, your skin tends to remain dry and cool throughout the year. At times, it is prone to some oiliness and moisture, particularly during cool, rainy seasons. Further, like the highland climate, with its consistent cool weather, you are less prone to extreme breakouts and inflammation, but the slight tendency toward oiliness in your skin can lead to blackheads and clogged pores.
Products And Ingredients
Balancing products and ingredients
The Highland skin type is overall mostly dry and cool throughout the year, although it can become more oily or wet during rainy seasons or if you are using the wrong skin care products. It is very important that Highland skin types adequately hydrate their skin year-round, but avoid any products that clog their pores. Inflammation with pimples are not common but irritation with scaling and flaking is more common. You may notice that a few times a year you breakout, usually coinciding with more humid conditions or rainy seasons. The key goal in your skin care regime will be to provide adequate hydration.
- Since your skin is usually dry, but can easily become oily, you should use products that most closely match your skin’s own natural sebum (facial oil). Jojoba oil can be used year round after cleansing your face at bedtime to wake up with glowing and moisturized skin.
- Moisturizer - your skin tends toward dryness throughout the year, so using a great moisturizer is very important. However, opt for a light or medium level moisturizer, since heavy ointments may lead to clogged pores.
- Soap-free facial cleansers – the Highland skin type is usually very dry and many soaps may strip away too much of your natural facial oil, leading to even more dryness. Choose gentle, soap-free cleansers and wash your face once to twice per day as tolerated.
- Chemical exfoliants - in moderation, occasional use of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid are beneficial to your skin type to help reduce clogged pores and breakouts.
Aggravating products and ingredients
In addition to dryness, the Highland skin type is cool for the majority of the year. Products containing harsh chemicals and fragrances will make your skin too dry. Your skin is also prone to oiliness and clogged pores at some points during the year, so very heavy skin care products should always be avoided to prevent blackheads and whiteheads. Examples of products and ingredients that should be avoided in your skin type include:
- Products containing astringents and/or alcohol-based products - products that act as astringents, especially alcohol-based products, are usually much too drying for the Highland skin type.
- Harsh Soaps - most cleansers will be too drying for your skin type and will strip your skin of its important natural oils.
- Chemical fragrances - may be irritating although some with the Highland skin type can tolerate fragrances in their skin products.
- Heavy products that may clog your pores - avocado oil, almond oil, shea butter, and heavy creams are soothing but should be used with caution as some people with Highland skin types may develop clogged pores. If you try these heavier oils, try some on a small part of the face to make sure that you tolerate it well.
Bathing and Washing
Balancing bathing and washing habits
The Highland is one of the classic combination skin types. The Highland skin type tends towards coolness and dryness year round, with intermittent episodes of oiliness. Your skin will best benefit from twice daily cleaning with a gentle cleanser. You should use lukewarm water temperatures to avoid promoting excess coolness. Choose a facial cleanser that is both gentle and hydrating to ensure you are not overly drying your skin.
Aggravating bathing and washing habits
Since your skin is cool, you should never take cold showers. Prolonged hot showers may also aggravate your skin although short warm showers may be soothing to the skin. You should also avoid strong cleansers that strip away your natural facial oils since they are likely much too drying for your skin type. Cleansing oils may be too thick for your skin depending on the cleansing oil.
Balancing foods and beverages
For the Highland skin type, the optimal diet is rich in warm, moisture-rich foods and soothing warm beverages. Eating overall warming meals and beverages year round will help bring your cool skin type into balance. To help balance your tendency towards dryness, you should incorporate a lush amount of hydrating fruits and vegetables into your diet, but should limit these items during wetter months. Examples of balancing foods and beverages for the Highland skin type include:
- Warming foods: hot cereals (eg. oatmeal, cream of wheat), warm vegetable soups and stews, cooked vegetables and whole grains, and warm teas.
- Warming spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
- Smooth, grounding foods: root vegetables (eg. yams and butternut squash), cooked grains, mangoes, pastas, nuts (eg. walnuts), and seeds.
- Light and astringent foods can be enjoyed during wetter months but used sparingly during the drier months: apples, raw vegetables, pears, salads, and pomegranates.
Aggravating foods and beverages
The dry and cool Highland skin type should avoid drying foods for the majority of the year but are okay to eat them during the wetter months. In addition, you should avoid cooling foods as much as possible, since they could bring your already cool skin out of balance.
- Cooling foods: smoothies, raw fruits and vegetables, and cold beverages
- Cooling spices: neem
- Avoid very rough foods and drying foods during drier months: raw broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.
- Sour foods: highly fermented yogurt, tomatoes, vinegars, hard cheeses should be minimized if there is more of a sensitive component to the Highland skin types.
- Stimulants like caffeine and nicotine
- Alcohol should be avoided
Activities and Exercise
Balancing activities and exercise
You should opt for methods of exercise that promote warmth since your skin tends toward coolness year round. You are usually prone to dryness, so make sure to be adequately hydrated before and after any exercise. If you haven’t discovered the exercise that fits best with your lifestyle, see the following list of activity ideas that may be suitable for Highland skin types:
- Yoga - all types
- Chi gong
- Tai chi
- Canoeing on a warm day
- Cycling, jogging, and aerobics
Aggravating activities and exercise
Any activity that makes you feel very cold should be avoided as it will irritate your skin.Your skin tends towards dryness and hydration is key when working out. During wetter months, avoid highly sweaty activities. Here are examples of exercises and activities that can aggravate your skin type:
- Swimming in cold, chlorinated pools or jogging outdoors in cold weather
- Intense running or intense or prolonged cardiovascular activities
Exercise routines should be discussed with a physician first to ensure that you are fit enough to engage in exercise.
Warm and slightly humid climates such as the Mediterranean and subtropical climates can help bring the cool and dry tendencies in your skin back into balance. While humidity is generally helpful, too much humidity may cause breakouts. In general the warmer the weather, the better, with care not to be too wet or too dry. That Spring getaway in Rome may be better than you thought!
Per the law of opposites, people with the Highland skin type should avoid living in highland climates. Cool weather, in general, exacerbates this skin type. Dry seasons can make the skin more dry and wet seasons in these climates can increase oiliness and tendencies for blackheads. High altitude trips can dry out the skin more easily too and a trip to Machu Picchu may be better taken in warmer months.
Ayurveda is a health system that is from India and is over 5000 years old. The basic concept in Ayurveda is that each person can either be in balance or have imbalances. Everyone has the potential to balance their body and their skin if they can pay attention to their imbalances and their skin’s natural tendencies. Imbalances are described by the Ayurvedic concepts of the doshas which describe three unique physiological building blocks for the body and skin. These doshas are known as vata, pitta, and kapha. Ayurveda is a practical approach to skin care. Learn more about how Ayurveda works and what makes up the doshas.
Imbalances in the doshas
This skin type is associated with a dominant imbalance in the Vata dosha and a minor imbalance in the Kapha dosha. Vata governs movement and thinking and controls sensation, pliability, and the movement of water in the skin. Kapha represents structure in the body as seen with collagen production as well as the oil production.
Each dosha is made up of 2 of the 5 elements (air, space, fire, water, and earth.) Vata is made up of the lightest elements, air, and ether. These cool and dry elements account for the mild dryness and scaling that can occur in this skin type. Kapha, on the other hand, is made up of the heaviest elements, water and earth, which represent structure and water in the skin, respectively. Excess water accounts for increased oiliness of the skin and excess earth can lead to hypertrophic and keloid scarring. Vata is also associated with irregularity, so it is not uncommon for this skin to change between dry to slight oiliness at various times.
How are the doshas influenced?
Since both Vata and Kapha are cooler by nature, they are aggravated by anything that is cold, such as cool weather or cold foods. Warm weather and foods help balance Vata and Kapha for this reason. A delicate balance of moisture is needed to balance this skin type as too much moisture can worsen the oily nature of this skin type and too little can cause the skin to be too dry, especially during colder seasons.
Luckily in this skin type, Kapha’s heavy, grounding nature is balancing for Vata. Vata is also heavily influenced by daily routine. If there is a lot on your plate and you are sleeping at different times each day, you may be contributing to a Vata imbalance and this can also lead to anxiety and insomnia.
What the skin says about the rest of your body
Ayurveda believes that the skin’s imbalance is a part of the imbalances in the body. People with the Highland skin type are believed to have a dominant Vata and minor Kapha imbalance in the body. Vata imbalances can show elsewhere as anxiety, irregular digestion or a tendency to bite your nails. Stress and lack of routine and organization can exacerbate Vata. Lack of sleep which can be seen in a can also lead to skin aging.
Vata imbalance can occur with cold and raw foods, as well as those with astringent and bitter tastes. Kapha imbalances can occur from foods that are cold, oily, sweet, salty. Learn more about the concept of taste here and how that is different from the Western notion of taste here. In general, warm cooked foods are ideal for balancing Vata and Kapha, with care to limit raw vegetables when possible. Adequate water intake is extremely important to ensure your skin is well hydrated. Learn more about Vata and Kapha balancing foods.
Take care of your skin, body, and mind from an Ayurvedic perspective
Oil massage with warm sesame oil is very soothing and can help with skin dryness. Managing stress and maintaining routine is very important for this skin type as they help balance the erratic nature of Vata. Grounding activities and meditation are very beneficial for this personality type to help calm the mind and the skin.
Those with the Highland skin type are creative and dynamic, yet also down to earth. They are vibrant and kind and get along with those around them. While they are creative and full of ideas, they tend to have a laid-back attitude to them. Sometimes they can be hard to keep up with but they may down to hanging out when in the right mood.
These individuals are naturally “creatures of comfort.” At the same time, they can get caught up in their thoughts and become easily thrown off balance. If not careful to establish a routine and take breaks, these individuals can experience anxiety, insomnia and sometimes apathy.