Banish dry skin

Cold weather can harden your skin’s natural oils so they are distributed less effectively leaving you with dry, seemingly moisture proof patches. The dullness is due to a slowdown in natural exfoliation, while chapping occurs when dryness has weakened the skin’s barrier to the extent that irritants creep in leaving you with rough, chapped, sometimes itchy skin.

The good news is that by making simple changes to your skin care routine, your diet and lifestyle you can protect your skin from looking dull, lacklustre and dry:

  • First and foremost, healthy skin starts with good nutrition. To keep your skin in top shape this winter, be sure to eat foods rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids (EFAs), nutrients that protect and moisturise your skin. Berries, sweet potatoes and broccoli are especially important, as they are high in vitamins A, C, and E—powerful antioxidants that improve the health of your skin by beneficially affecting oil production, helping in the production of collagen, and protecting against cell damage.
  • Also, be sure to eat foods that are high in essential fatty acids (EFAs), particularly omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated oils, which help create moister, softer skin and tissues.
  • Add more salmon, tuna, flaxseed, raw pumpkin seeds and almonds to your diet, and consider supplementing at least 1,000 mg of EFAs per day, mainly as omega-3s. (You could add in both Omega 3 Plus and Nutriguard (a good antioxidant mix) to get you through the winter – see Resources page).
  • Drink as much water as you possibly can, regardless of the time of year. Drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water per day, will flush countless toxins from your body and will help keep your skin healthy and fresh. Herbal teas are counted as part of your 8 glasses a day.
  • Try to avoid taking long, hot showers this winter. We all know how wonderful a hot shower can feel on a cold day, but try to resist the urge as best as you can. Hot showers can strip your skin of its natural moisturisers. Instead take a short, warm shower. Try to pat your skin almost dry, and apply a natural moisturiser while your skin is slightly damp. This is a great strategy to help you avoid dry skin.
  • Avoid long hot baths too and go for warm instead. Try adding a few spoonfuls of olive oil to your bath water. It will help to moisturise your skin and leave it feeling soft and smooth.
  • Another thing to consider is your home heating system. As your boiler will be in constant use in the colder months, the air in your home can become extremely dry. Some people find a portable humidifier a good investment. Using a humidifier can prevent your skin from drying out, and it can help you avoid dry nasal cavities.
  • If you do suffer from a dry or bleeding nose in the winter, apply some petroleum jelly for short-term relief.
  • Swap foaming cleansers and soaps with a gentler lotion or skin cleanser and instead of vigorous exfoliation (which can remove some of the skin’s protective barrier function) use a gentler exfoliant instead. Use a richer moisturiser and you’ll notice an immediate difference to the way your skin feels and if your skin is really rough and chapped apply a night cream skin protector. Use natural products for your skin that do not contain a list of ‘nasties’ that will be absorbed into your body.
  • A good exercise programme can activate and rejuvenate the skin and improve circulation and blood flow. Also, sweating triggers production of sebum, which is the skin’s own natural moisturiser.
  • Finally, getting adequate sleep helps maintain the oxygen levels and promotes renewal of skin cells, thus delaying the winter degenerative skin ageing that usually sets in during the cold season.

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