Redness, flaking, and cracking of the skin can be common during the winter months when temperatures outside are so cold and the indoor air so dry. Here are some tips to help soothe, heal, and moisturize your ailing skin.
1) Eat foods rich in healthy fats – foods such as salmon, avocado, walnuts, flax seed, coconut, and olive oil provide nourishing oils to help moisturize your skin from the inside out. Research has also shown that healthy fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, can help fight wrinkle formation and photodamage, as well as provide support for skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
2) Increase your water intake – drinking plenty of water and eating foods containing a high water content (fruits and vegetables, such as apples, plums, blueberries, melons, eggplant, cucumber, tomatoes, celery, etc.) can help to moisturize skin. Soups and herbal teas count too! Water plays many important roles in the body such as providing detoxification support, carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells, regulating body temperature, lubricating joints, and moistening tissues. Remember that when you drink alcohol or caffeine, you will need to drink extra water in order to stay hydrated. Click here to read about “5 Ways to Prevent Dehydration.”
3) Supplement – antioxidants (including vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, beta carotene, grape seed extract, etc.), B vitamins, probiotics, fish oil, and borage seed oil, are some key nutrients that promote healthy skin. I recommend the following skin supportive protocol: take a high-quality multivitamin such as Pathway Multi Two (2 daily), Pathway Suprema dophilus (1 daily), Pathway Antioxidant Formula (2 daily), and Pathway Omega 3,6,9 (2 daily).
4) Choose a nourishing moisturizer – lightly towel dry after showering, and immediately apply body lotion to your skin. This helps to lock in moisture. Try to keep hot showers short. Taking long hot showers can remove oils from the skin. Choose lotions that contain nourishing ingredients such as shea butter, aloe vera, vitamin E, jojoba, lavender and chamomile. Some of my favorite brands include Derma E, Dr. Hauschka, Annmarie Borlind, and Collective Wellbeing. Read labels carefully to avoid products that contain unhealthy ingredients such as petroleum jelly or parabens.
5) Use a humidifier – humidifiers add moisture to the air and can benefit itchy skin and chapped lips, as well as provide relief to irritated sinuses. There are warm mist and cool mist humidifiers available. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. However, regardless of which you choose, remember to clean it often – otherwise mold and bacteria can grow.