Massage Can Boost Skin Health: Especially in Colder MonthsPin it

As the cold, frigid weather dries our skin, massage therapy may be a great complement to bolster skin health and skin care.

Generally, colder air can dry the skin, leaving it appearing brittle, cracked, and lacking vitality. Lower humidity associated with cold can dry the skin easily. Cold winds in conjunction with cooler temperatures can also dry the skin. Drier skin can become flaky and pale. Frown lines, wrinkles, and similar skin features may become more visible.

Massage therapy can greatly reverse the appearance of dry skin, restoring natural luster and color.

Enhancing Circulation of Blood Can Revitalize the Skin’s Natural Condition

Often, the capillaries closer to the epidermis—dermis unit can be limited in blood flow due to superficial skin lesions and the development of scar tissue. Applying friction strokes can loosen scar tissue and restore superficial capillary blood flow.

Lymphatic Focused Treatments

Lymphatic focused treatments can also restore a healthier appearance of the skin. The lymphatic system moves metabolic waste through the body. The majority of lymphatic vessels lie within the subcutaneous layer of skin, immediately deep to the dermis. The removal of metabolic waste can restore natural skin luster.

Exfoliating Effect

Massage therapy can have an exfoliating effect on skin. This will renew the skin’s appearance, providing it a healthy youthful glow. The epidermis can be several layers thick throughout the body. Removing these superficial layers can stimulate capillary blood flow to the epidermis more effectively.

Natural Production of Sebum

Massage therapy can increase the skin’s natural production of sebum. Sebaceous glands within the epidermis, attached to hair follicles, naturally produce sebum oil daily. Stimulating more sebum production will keep the skin moisturized, aiding its appearance. Additionally, sebum has an antibacterial property, thereby aiding the first line of immune system defense.

Massage and Collagen Production

Massage therapy can boost collagen production within the skin. Collagen fibers are key in ensuring the skin has tensile strength to withstand pressures and forces placed upon it daily. Boosting collagen production will make skin stronger.

Collagen production increases in large part due to stimulation of certain stem cells termed CD 34 within the superficial fascia levels. The journal Nature contained a study published in August 2023 highlighting that CD34 stem cells can proliferate when they interact with white blood cells. (1)

Essential Oils May Augment Massage Therapy’s Impact on the Skin

Great examples of oils that aid skin health by rehydrating include:

Rose essential oil is great for skin health.

  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
  • Sweet orange
  • Myrrh
  • Chamomile

When using essential oils, it is advised to use these oils within a base carrier oil. Safe, effective carrier oils include coconut, jojoba, olive, calendula, avocado, arnica, neem and grapeseed.

Nut oils may also work for many people, however be mindful of potential nut allergies.

Many beauty companies are touting their brand of oils to help aid dry skin. Companies such as Neutrogena, Kiehl, Necessaire and Eau Thermale Avene are actively promoting oils that profess the aforementioned benefits. Many consumers will purchase these oils so it is wise to become familiar with top brands.



Remember, a safe, general massage practice is to avoid touching skin affected by pathologies which commonly exhibit rashes. Generally, rashes stem from an inflammatory response within the skin. Conditions which may facilitate this response include eczema, dermatitis, granuloma annulare, lichen planus, and pityriasis rosea. Be mindful of areas recently affected by severe acne, burns of any degree or suffered abrasion injury.

Classic signs of rashes include:

Do not massage a skin rash.

  • blistering
  • redness
  • scaly skin
  • pruritic skin
  • local swelling
  • pain


Certain medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, and psoriasis can contribute to one’s tendency to skin dryness. Consulting a doctor is key if clients are expressing difficulty with treating their dry skin at home.

Benefits of Dry Brushing

Dry brushing can improve skin health.

Dry brushing and self-massage specifically geared to aiding lymphatic fluid flow can be wonderful additions to enhancing skin health.

Generally, dry brushing and self-massage will move lymph fluid distal to proximal towards joints. Numerous lymph nodes are located within joints regions. Teaching clients how to perform dry brushing and self-massage to encourage lymphatic flow, especially using a softer brush, can help clients ensure they maintain their skin care gains at home.

It is important to move lymphatic fluid from proximal regions before removing from distal regions. An example of this concept is to remove lymph from the brachium before moving it from the antebrachium.

Dry brushing will exfoliate the skin, which removes multiple layers of dead skin cells (layers of the epidermis). This exfoliating effect will increase blood and lymph circulation and unclog pores. Detoxifying the skin will aid the body in improving elimination of metabolic waste through the skin. Stimulating the skin’s neurological organs such as Messiner and Pacinian nerve ending will improve sensation within the skin, especially in relation to peripheral neuropathy.

Self Massage for Skin Health

Clients can provide self-massages daily to maintain the gains from their massage. Providing a map of lymphatic flow, informing them how to apply strokes upon themselves, can be a useful tool for clients. Even simply a few minutes daily will make a big difference in their skin health.

Tips to Hydrate Skin in Colder Temps

Other general tips to keep skin well hydrated include using gentle soaps, detergents and cosmetics, utilizing a humidifier at home/work, limiting showers to less than ten minutes daily, and drinking plenty of water. All of these suggestions will especially be helpful when our skin has been affected by colder weather.

As our clients brave through colder weather, they can easily incorporate massage therapy to improve circulation within the skin, maintaining natural beauty, luster, and health of the skin.