Your skin has a strong tendency toward coolness and an equal tendency between dryness and oiliness/wetness, much like the Boreal climate
Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification: Dsb, Dsc
Your skin has a strong tendency toward coolness and an equal tendency between dryness and oiliness/wetness, much like the boreal climate. Boreal climates are continental climates with long, very cold winters, and short, cool summers. Rainfall increases during summer months. Much of the boreal climate is considered humid, although annual precipitation is relatively low at about 10-15 inches. Cities with boreal climates include Anchorage, Alaska and Tromsø, Norway.
Similarly, your skin tends to remain cool throughout the year. It is prone to both oiliness during wet, rainy seasons, and dryness and flaking during the drier seasons. Furthermore, like the boreal climate with its consistent cool weather, you are less prone to extreme breakouts and inflammation. However, the skin’s tendency toward oiliness can lead to blackheads and clogged pores, and its tendency toward dryness can lead to cracking and irritation.
Boreal type skin is both oily and dry (also known as combination skin). Skin care, therefore, needs to be carefully balanced as the pores can clog more easily while drying agents can irritate the skin. Chronic sun exposure may more easily lead to skin discoloration for this skin type.
Products and Ingredients
Balancing products and ingredients
The Boreal skin type is both dry and oily, making it the classic “combination” skin type. Your skin type requires careful attention in order to modify your skin care routine appropriately based on how your skin is reacting. This skin type requires products that provide hydration, while also avoiding products that can clog your pores. The skin is mostly dry and cool; therefore, inflammation and pimples do not occur regularly, but you may notice easily clogged pores. The key goal in a skin care regime will be to provide adequate hydration while balancing and controlling oiliness.
Grape seed oil - this light oil is ideal for your skin type, because it provides moisture and nourishing antioxidants and essential fatty acids along with moisture, while not clogging your pores. It can be used in small quantities as a moisturizer or mixed into your regular lotion, and can also be used to remove your makeup at the end of the day.
Moisturizer - your skin tends towards both dryness and oiliness, so using a well-balancing moisturizer is very important. An ideal moisturizer should be oil-free and light, while also providing adequate hydration to help with dryness.
Gentle facial cleansers – the Boreal skin type is both dry and oily, and can easily swing between being too dry and too oily. Choose a facial cleanser that is not too harsh. Harsh cleansers can make you more prone to dryness by stripping away too many natural facial oils.
Salicylic acid - in moderation, occasional use of the beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) such as salicylic acid may be beneficial to your skin type to help reduce clogged pores and oiliness.
Aggravating products and ingredients
The Boreal skin type tends to swing between dryness and oiliness and can often be both at the same time! Products that are too thin or watery and those containing harsh chemicals and fragrances will make your skin too dry. Your skin is also prone to oiliness and clogged pores, so very heavy or oily skin care products should always be avoided to prevent clogged pores. 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, may be too drying depending on how oily and how dry the skin gets. Astringents should be used carefully with the Boreal skin type.
Harsh Soaps - many cleansers will be too drying for your skin type and will strip your skin of its important natural oils.
Harsh exfoliants – mechanical exfoliants containing abrasive beads or gritty materials may help with oily skin or clogged pores but harsh exfoliants may irritate the dry side of the Boreal skin type.
Heavy products that may clog your pores - heavier creams such as petrolatum-based products and shea butter may be too heavy for your skin type and will increase your chance of developing clogged pores.
Bathing and Washing
Balancing bathing and washing habits
The Boreal skin type is naturally a combination with tendencies towards oiliness and dryness simultaneously. Your skin will best benefit from once to twice daily cleansing with a gentle cleanser. You should use lukewarm or warm water temperatures as the skin is more sensitive to cool temperatures. Choose a facial cleanser that is gentle and hydrating to ensure you are not overly drying your skin.
Aggravating bathing and washing habits
Avoid over washing your face, since this can disrupt your skin barrier and lead to further swings in dryness and oiliness. Prolonged hot showers may also aggravate your skin, as this extreme contrast in temperature could be irritating. You should also avoid strong cleansers that strip away your natural facial oils since they are likely much too drying for your skin type.
Balancing foods and beverages
For the Boreal skin type, similar to adjusting your skincare routine according to the seasons, you should also aim to adjust your diet with the seasons. The optimal diet is rich in warm, moisture-rich foods during cold and dry months and cooling and drying foods during warm and wet months. By paying close attention to the climate and environment around you, you can promote wonderful balance in your skin with careful adjustments to your meals. Examples of balancing foods and beverages for the Boreal skin type include:
Warming foods during cooler months: grounding foods like cooked vegetables and grains, root vegetables (eg. yams and butternut squash), nuts, seeds, and pastas.
Cooling foods during warmer months: light foods like apples, raw vegetables, pears, salads, and pomegranates
Can be eaten year round: hot cereals (eg. oatmeal), soups, cooked vegetables and grains, radishes, chilies, apple cider vinegar, onions, fenugreek, and most spices.
Aggravating foods and beverages
Boreal skin types should avoid extremes in their diets. For example, ice cold drinks and smoothies should be avoided during cold months, while hot soups and beverages should not be consumed during warmer months.
Cooling foods during cold months: smoothies and cold beverages.
Warming foods during warm months: hot soups, hot beverages
Oily, fattening, and sugar-laden foods should be avoided or only eaten in moderation - red meat, milk, fried foods, cheese, eggs, vegetable oils
Salty foods should be reduced in the cooler months: soy sauce, tamari, seafood, added salts or high sodium food items
Alcohol should be avoided
Activities and Exercise
Balancing activities and exercise
Those with Boreal skin types should choose methods of exercise that are generally mild in nature while promoting good cardiovascular health. Since you are prone to oiliness, remember to wash off any makeup before exercise and wash your face afterward to prevent clogged pores. If you haven’t discovered the exercise that fits best with your lifestyle, see the following list of activity ideas that are balancing for Boreal skin types:
Yoga - all types
Cycling, jogging, aerobics, and other mildly invigorating activities
Aggravating activities and exercise
The Boreal skin type does okay with most all activities. However, activities in cold temperature may aggravate the skin to become irritated. The key is to pay attention to your skin’s tendencies in a given month and adjust your activities accordingly. For example, if you are extra oily you may want to avoid heated yoga or something that causes extreme sweat.On the other hand, if you are extra dry, then you may be even more sensitive to cold and dry conditions.
Exercise routines should be discussed with a physician first to ensure that you are fit enough to engage in exercise.
The warmer it is, the better it is for this cooler skin type, which is why tropical savanna climates work best. Wetter tropical savanna climates, such as the one found in Cancun, Mexico can warm and hydrate the dry qualities of this skin type. Drier tropical savanna climates, as found in Recife, Brazil can warm and dry the skin’s cool, oily qualities.
People with the Boreal skin type should avoid living in climates which are cold with dry and wet seasons, such as in boreal climates. Cool weather can not only worsen oiliness leading to blackheads, but the dryness associated with cold climates can also cause flaking and cracking. Winters in cities like Portland, Maine and Flagstaff, Arizona can cause your skin to flare, so if you plan to be in cities with the aggravating climates, bring moisturizer, oil wipes and make sure to stay hydrated.
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 co-dominant imbalances in the Vata and Kapha doshas. 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.
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 dryness that can occur in this skin type. Kapha, on the other hand, is made up of the heaviest elements, water and earth, which accounts for increased oiliness of the skin. Vata is also associated with irregularity, so it is not uncommon for this skin to change between dry to oily 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.
Anything irregular can aggravate Vata as well, as with a disruption in routine. This can cause Vata types to feel less in control and more anxious. Kapha is affected by anything heavy in nature, such as heavy foods, alcohol, and sleeping too much.
What the skin says about the rest of your body
In Ayurveda, organ systems are thought to all be connected and can affect each other. If you have a tendency to bite your nails or experience constipation, you could be experiencing anxiety, which is caused by a Vata imbalance. Lack of sleep which can be seen in a can also lead to skin aging. Kapha imbalances increase the risk for depression and obesity.
Vata imbalance can occur with cold and raw foods, as well as those with astringent and bitter tastes. Kapha excess can occur from foods that are cold, oily, sweet, and salty. 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
From an Ayurvedic perspective, imbalances in the doshas, or the physiologic mind-body constitution types, lead to different issues in both mental and physical well-being. The mind-body connection is well recognized in many different healing traditions and is now being recognized more in conventional medicine.
Oil massage with warm sesame oil is may be soothing and can help with not only dry skin but also to balance the cool nature of both Vata and Kapha. 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. It is also important to be mindful of a Kapha imbalance, which is associated with depression and lack of motivation
In Ayurveda, the imbalances in the skin are linked to the rest of the body and the mind. Individuals with the Boreal skin type are artistic and dynamic but also very down to earth. One minute they can be bustling about with different ideas, and the next minute they can be relaxed and calm.
They are vibrant and kind and get along with those around them; qualities which make them an innovative team player. These individuals are naturally “creatures of comfort,” but can also be hard to keep up with at times. 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, apathy, and depression. Luckily, given they are often grounded, they can regain balance in many areas of their life when things feel out of hand.