East End Health & Wellness Experts Weigh In on Winter

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There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues, as popular wisdom has it. As for the blues and body aches and blown noses and beyond that can be brought on by winter, however, experts in fields ranging from acupuncture and nutrition to hair and skin care are here to help.

RELATED: Vaccines, Sunscreen and Soup: Five Winter Medical Myths Debunked

Acupuncture needles on the back of a beautiful young woman lying on massage table at health spa
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—Peter Scolaro, LAC, Owner, All Points Acupuncture 
Pain relief is one of the biggest benefits of acupuncture. Other benefits are stress relief, better sleep, improved mental focus and increased immune system regulation, to name a few. Whether someone tweaked a muscle at the gym or playing a sport, or has injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, or has a chronic, nagging injury that becomes worse when the weather changes, acupuncture can help lessen the pain and recovery time and get you back on your feet sooner than later.

Acupuncture can certainly treat the aches, pains and injuries related to winter. The winter season and cold, damp weather can wear on each and every one of us. Seeking the help of an acupuncturist can help to charge a person’s batteries and ward off the winter blues and light deprivation. Charge up the immune system to hopefully avoid getting sick and also help lessen the effects of that “cold.” Acupuncturists prefer to use the term “Wind Heat” or “Wind Cold” invasion instead of the typical “catching a cold.”

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—Cynthia Capalbo, Owner, Rave Hair Salon 
There are numerous challenges to your hair during the winter, including:

Hats: It has been said that the repeated friction of putting on and taking a hat off your head can lead to breakage.

Going outside with a wet head: When the hair is wet and you go outside in freezing temperatures, the water crystallizes and expands, physically breaking the hair.

Washing the body and scalp with super hot water: It is drying all around—for your skin, scalp and, of course, the hair.

Overusing hairsprays, heat protectant or things that contain alcohol, which is extra-drying to the hair.

Dryness, a lack of luster or shine, is one of the biggest hair-care challenges brought on by winter. People can combat this by doing masks and treatment oils that restore moisture back into the follicle, which keeps the hair healthy. Static is also a challenge, so we recommend to condition your hair regularly, and lock in that moisture with leave-in conditioner.

Fitness couple winter morning exercise at snowy mountain.
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—Lara McNeil, MS, RDN, CDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, East End Nutrition
During winter months, the need for Vitamin D is often overlooked. With less time spent in the sun, it’s important we monitor our Vitamin D levels to ensure we’re getting enough. Easy ways to increase your Vitamin D intake is by taking a supplement or by incorporating more Vitamin D rich foods into your diet, such as fortified foods (dairy, cereals) or fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel or sardines.

With the cold weather, people are less inclined to drink enough water, making it difficult to stay hydrated. Easy ways to ensure you are drinking enough water is to track it or set reminders on your phone to keep you drinking throughout the day. You want to aim for eight cups a day.

Being cooped up inside makes it difficult for many people to get out and exercise. During winter months we tend to move less. Incorporating small amounts of exercise into your day by walking the dog, taking the stairs, doing short at-home exercises, or using an exercise app can help keep energy levels up and burn extra calories.

Doctor showing her patient a spine model in medical office
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—Richard C Sears Jr., DC, Marguerite Sears, LMT, CNE, CHHP, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner/Educator, County Seat Chiropractic & Nutrition
Because of the relationship of the spine to the nervous system, which communicates with the brain and entire body, it is a great way to promote overall wellness and improve the immune system, which is key in the cold winter months. Maintaining a healthy spine and being nutritionally sound is the best way to improve your immune system thereby avoiding colds and flu and if you do get sick to be able to recover more quickly without complications. Chiropractic care also helps to keep the spine aligned and supple and better able to do activities of daily living as well as more rigorous demands like shoveling snow or other strenuous activities, like winter sports such as skiing.

washing her hair in shower
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—Sean Edison, Owner, Sean Edison Salon
What people don’t realize is that our hair needs to be moisturized as much as our skin does—year round, but especially in the wintertime. We go from the dry heat of our homes to the cold and windy environment. Our hair becomes completely dehydrated, and then we turn on the blow dryer and tremendous damage is done.

Consequently, everyone has been asking this question lately about the best hair maintenance program that I would recommend using throughout the cold and frosty winter months. I have designed a line of hair products that take into account the harshness of daily living. For dehydration, I have the perfect solution…my Sean Edison Every Day Miracle Treatment. It’s a leave-in conditioner that’s an all-in-one beautifier for all hair types to be applied before drying. It nourishes the hair, boosts moisture and repairs split ends. This bio-mineral complex is gluten-free and has UV filters that block damage from the sun. It also contains silk protein that nourishes and protects. Now, couldn’t everyone use a little miracle now and then?

Beauty Skin Care. Beautiful Happy Woman Applying Cosmetic Cream On Clean Face. Closeup Portrait Of Healthy Smiling Female Model With Natural Makeup, Fresh Soft Pure Skin Applying Moisturizing Lotion
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—Kasha Mann, Founder, Ahsak Skin Care by Kasha 
One of the biggest skin-care challenges brought on by winter is the unnecessary long-term effects from a simple lack of preventive maintenance. This happens because we’re used to, through the summer and fall, oiling up with moisturizers or lotions with sunscreens, and getting that fresh, dewy look in spring. Yet come winter, we bundle up and are so busy fighting the cold that we forget we need even more moisturizing. We also forget the sun is still giving off UV rays—sunscreen, even in winter, is necessary in our daily regimens.

People should create a daily system as soon as the seasons switch over, noting the climate and regional differences. Some people have oily skin and won’t need as much as those who are chronically dry, so if you establish your requirements in advance, you can get your supplies lined up. As soon as winter comes, you’ll already have been on a consistent schedule of catering to your skin’s needs. Natural products give you a holistic approach to harsh winds that chaff, skin-blistering chill, and the over-drying and dehydration that occurs from the heaters blasting just to keep you warm.

People forget that the skin is our body’s largest organ. It breathes, it excretes, and it needs vitamins and nutrients just like an internal organ. Therefore, one must remember to defend it in harsh weather—hot or cold, summer or winter. This includes the feet and hands, which take on the worst abuse. They are the most neglected in showers, without exfoliation, and thus build up dead skin calluses, bunions and hard, rough skin. One more mistake is to forget to hydrate. The environment is still affecting your level of moisture, either way, so remembering to drink up in any season is the cure!

Automatic stair lift on staircase for elderly people and disabled persons
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—Jim Bradley, Chief Operating Officer, Acorn Stairlifts, Inc.​
Do you have difficulties using the stairs? Do you suffer from any condition that makes using the stairs a significant risk to your health and/or safety? Do you find yourself taking measures to avoid using the stairs? Have you had to change your lifestyle—for example, sleeping downstairs, having food brought to your room to avoid having to go down to the kitchen, moving items out of the basement to avoid having to go down to get them, etc.— in order to avoid using the stairs? Are you considering leaving the home you love in order to not have to use stairs? If you answered yes to any of the above…

A stair lift is a practical solution for anyone faced with mobility problems which may result from medical conditions including: arthritis, stroke, cancer, heart conditions, joint pain, blood pressure disorders, respiratory problems, balance or coordination issues and other circumstance.

Lovely girl holding a slice of lemon in front of her face and smiling. Photo of girl receiving spa treatments. Beauty & Skin care concept
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—Virginia White, Licensed Esthetician and Co-owner of Ocean Spa Long Island 
The winter months can be really tough and cause tight, dry, flaky skin. Our skin is exposed to dry heat in our homes and in our cars, and the windy cold air when we step outside. The best way to combat the negative effects would be to prevent them.

Protect your skin with a great hydrating serum and heavier moisturizers than you would typically use through the summer months. Around our eyes, the skin is thinner than other areas of the face, so a great eye treatment is important for keeping the skin hydrated and reducing the appearance of crow’s feet. My favorite way to get an instant overnight boost of hydration is to sleep in a hydrating mask packed with Vitamin C. Skincare should change as the seasons do, so scheduling your facials just before a seasonal change is important for preventing any skin issues. Your esthetician can make product recommendations for your skin type and help you plan an at-home skincare plan.

Cold weather decreases blood flow to the skin, resulting in dry, dull and sometimes irritated skin. Make sure your moisturizer has more of a creamy, heavier feel to it to create more of a barrier between sun, wind, cold and your skin. Don’t worry so much about exfoliating or having resurfacing treatments done if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors. Keeping a barrier in place is more important for your outdoorsy lifestyle. Drink plenty of water and remember that the sun’s damaging rays reflect off snow the same as they do off sand.

Dieting, Choice, Fruit, Donut, Women
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—Lara McNeil, MS, RDN, CDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, East End Nutrition
Getting back on track after the holidays can be difficult for many people. Making small changes and being mindful of what you’re eating can make a big improvement. Calorie reduction by means of portion control, mindful eating and less eating out can help. Limiting comfort foods, the consumption of sweets, and incorporating more vegetables into meals can help people get back on the right track. Eating vegetables first will help with feeling full, resulting in less inclination to eat more of the comfort or junk foods. Having frozen vegetables on hand or making soups are easy ways to incorporate vegetables into your diet.

With dining out being so popular, it’s helpful if frequent diners stop thinking of the dining experience as a special occasion and instead start being mindful of the fact that it’s part of their daily or weekly routine. Being that these foods make up a large part of their weekly meals, it’s helpful for frequent diners to make better choices from the menu. Opting for a salad or vegetables instead of fries, eating vegetables first so they are less inclined to eat more of the higher-calorie foods, and avoiding higher-calorie items such as fried foods, sweetened beverages and desserts are all ways they can improve their meals.

Oftentimes restaurants provide very large portions of food, so controlling portion size is important as well. Diners can cut their meal in half and ask the server to wrap the rest at the beginning of their meal to ensure they stick to a controlled portion.

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