Healthy Winter Skin
Do friends want to borrow your heels to sand their woodworking projects? Do you cause your partner to scream when you play footsies in bed? Do you clip-clop down the hall like a Shetland pony, even though you are not wearing any shoes?
If you suffer from dry skin during the winter, let your skin drink in nourishment and moisture, from inside and out. Here's how:
1. Satisfy your skin with raw oils. After a bath, massage your skin with raw cocounut oil...you will feel your skin drinking it in. A study comparing coconut oil with mineral oil found that both improved skin moisture after 2 weeks of daily use. Mineral oil is a petroleum-derived component of many lotions, but why not use a natural moisturizer instead? Lotions with additives and dyes may help you retain moisture but at the expense of causing other toxic effects both personal and environmental. Raw coconut oil is naturally fragrant and softens easily in your hands. Olive oil is another natural
moisturizer, rich with monounsaturated oils and a substance called squalene, which is added to commercial moisturizers. After rubbing in the oils, put on cozy robe and socks, and relax!
2. Rebuild your barrier with good-fat foods. In the winter, heaters often dry the air, causing more moisture to evaporate from skin - and we lose even more moisture when the natural fatty barrier within our skin is not strong. You can choose foods that change your skin for the better. One study of a group of Japanese women who added either borage or flax oil to their diet, showed a decrease in loss of moisture after 12 weeks. Both oils were effective, but flax oil continued to improve the skin for a few weeks longer. Both oils also increased skin moisture of 10% after only 6 weeks. You can enjoy other good-fat foods: eat smooth mashed avocado with a splash of lemon juice, spread silky nut butters on warm bread, savor the sharp, peppery taste of extra virgin olive oil on a salad. To get good fats, you can also add freshly ground flax seed to cereals, or munch on a handful of walnuts each day.
3. Protect your skin with potent antioxidants. Antioxidants from our diet accumulate in skin, helping to protect it. One study showed that carotenoids, the pigment found primarily in yellow-orange and green fruits and veggies - accumulates in skin, providing antioxidant protection. Besides the antioxidant protection, beta-carotene helps form vitamin A, essential for skin repair. Enjoy fresh greens, butternut squash and carrots to get plenty of this potent skin healer. The inner rind of oranges contains bioflavenoids, which works with vitamin C to protect and rebuild collagen, the supportive tissue of our skin. Eat grape seeds - or use a bit of the oil as a moisturizer directly on your skin(see #1) - grape seeds contain free-radical fighting OPC's (fondly known as oligomeric proanthocyanidins.) Seeds and nuts also provide zinc, an antioxidant that's essential for skin repair.
Treat your skin with these skin-nourishing foods and no one will even hear you as you softly pad down the hall. You will have softer, healthier skin all year-round!