How to heal your skin from the inside out this winter
The cold air and biting winds that come with winter months can really put a strain on your skin. You may notice that your regular skin regime just doesn't cut it, especially when dry, itchy and cracked skin is part of the equation!
That's why, as a nutritionist, my winter skin care routine isn’t only limited to face masks, cleansers, toners or moisturisers. This applies to any other product I use on my face for that matter. I like to combat winter skin from the inside out!
Eating certain foods and nutrients can give your skin a smooth, rosy glow no matter how cold it gets. Supercharge your winter skin routine and ignite your inner glow by getting enough of these skin-nourishing nutrients...
Focus on getting enough Vitamin C
It’s easier to get that youthful summer glow throughout the whole year with the help of vitamin C.
That’s mainly because vitamin C is one of the most vital nutrients for skin health. Using its powerful antioxidant properties, vitamin C helps protect the skin from damaging free radicals.
It also plays a key role in the production of collagen inside the body. The more collagen the skin has, the healthier it is, and the more hydration it can hold – exactly what our skin needs over winter!
Don’t forget your Vitamin D
If you’re deficient in vitamin D, the skin can begin to get dry and even itchy. Some studies have even linked low levels of vitamin D to skin conditions; such as psoriasis or eczema. With more and more research showing that many people aren’t getting enough vitamin D (especially over winter), it’s important to stay on top of your intake.
As food items provide very little vitamin D, and because natural vitamin D synthesis is inadequate in winter, it's important to remember to take a daily vitamin D supplement!
Up your Omega-3 intake
Omega-3 fatty acids are great at improving your skin’s moisture levels, as they’re extremely hydrating. Omega-3 acts like a lubricant in the body. They soften skin by strengthening our skin membranes, allowing our skin cells to seal moisture in and keep irritants out.
Take a daily probiotic
There’s a lot of interest in the nutritional field concerning the connection between gut health and our skin. We now know that our gut bacteria can majorly affect our organs, especially our skin if it becomes unbalanced.
If we experience any issues with our gut, such as inflammation or an imbalance of bacteria, our skin is usually the first place we notice these problems. So to help nourish our skin (and gut) health over winter, adding a probiotic supplement to your regime can be really effective.
The probiotics will help repopulate the gut with good bacteria and feed them well enough to crowd out the bad bacteria. Remember, if the gut is happy, the skin is happy too!
Don’t forget Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic Acid is found in almost every cell in the body and is a natural component of the skin. It’s actually a key molecule that’s involved in skin moisture and possesses the unique ability to bind to water in order to retain moisture – perfect for winter skin. Hyaluronic acid also becomes increasingly important as we age, because our natural hyaluronic acid levels deplete as we grow older. The loss of moisture leads to drier, rougher and fine-lined skin.
Drink lots more water
As the air gets cooler, it’s especially important to check your water intake. There’s a tendency to drink less water over winter months, and that’s bad news for your skin. Remember, drinking enough water helps hydrate your skin cells to help keep flaky and dry skin at bay. So to help replenish and hydrate “thirsty” skin, aim to drink between 10-12 glasses of water every day. And if you want a hot drink, opt for a cup of hot water with some lemon instead to keep you warm and hydrated. It’s also worth noting that water-dense fruits and vegetables also contribute to hydrating your skin cells. These hydrating foods include watermelon, cucumbers, strawberries, celery and soups.
Minimise excess heat
Sure, a nice steamy hot shower after a long day sounds like the perfect way to wind down, but it may take a toll on your skin. Taking too long of a hot shower can dry out your skin by drawing out precious moisture and stripping away your natural oils. This can lead to skin irritation, flaking, itching and dryness that tend to manifest over winter months. Excessive dryness can also stimulate excessive oil production, leading to winter breakouts. Since cranking up the heat regularly can cause dry skin, we recommend using warm water for your baths and showers over the winter months.
Riya Lakhani ANutr is a registered nutritionist and health writer with a special interest in plant-based nutrition. She has completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Human Nutrition, and has developed a passion for writing about all things plant-based.