Moisturizer isn’t always enough
Once winter weather hits, particularly here in the Northeast, the air becomes cold and dry outside, heat cranks up indoors and our skin takes a hit. The parched air both indoors and out dehydrates our skin from the outside-in. Frigid weather causes your blood vessels to narrow, slowing circulation and making our skin work harder to maintain the hydration and cell turnover that is so easily accomplished in more humid months.
What can you do about it? Well, fortunately weather isn’t the only factor in maintaining skin health – diet and lifestyle play a huge part as well. The first step in making sure you maintain your glow in the winter is the easiest - drink up! Aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces each day; a 150 lb woman should be drinking at least 75 ounces daily. Not to worry if you’re not a water-lover, it need not be water per se that you’re guzzling, and in fact sometimes other options can prove to be more hydrating. Starting the day with hot water and lemon can be an awesome eye-opener, replenishing your 8-hour gap without water while you were sleeping and kick-starting your day with a hefty dose of vitamin C.
In addition to water, continuing to sip on beverages such as herbal teas (green, peppermint, chamomile and dandelion are my favorites) or coconut water will boost your cellular hydration and encourage natural detoxification throughout the day. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and sweetened beverages (even artificially sweetened!) for maximum benefit. Your liver is the primary detox center in your body – if your liver’s workload is backed up, toxins can get rerouted to your skin, leading to inflammation, breakouts and increased aging. Give your liver a break for the best chance at great skin!
Stress is another surprising skin adversary. Mental stress leads to physical inflammation, which in turn leads to wrinkles and blemishes even in the best of conditions. Foods rich in B vitamins, magnesium and omega-3 fats are stress-fighters that will help you and your skin keep calm. Bonus, not only do these foods contain a ton of beneficial nutrients, they naturally contain water and will add hydration with every bite. Eat them in soup for a double hydration whammy. Read on for some foods that will put your skin on the path to greatness:
Contains silicon that supports skin elasticity and hydration. Celery defends against inflammation and wrinkles and aids in liver detox.
Boosting lymphatic circulation to bring more nutrients to cells, beets contain collagen-boosting vitamin K and powerful antioxidant vitamin C.
Contain carotenoids that your body converts to vitamin A, which is essential for cell turnover, renewal and repair, regulates oil production, and protects against UV damage.
Cauliflower contains sulforaphane, which activates glutathione, a powerful antiaging and inflammation deterrent.
A serving of kale provides 200% of your daily vitamin A and about 130% of your daily vitamin C, two of the most important nutrients for antiaging. Amazingly, Kale also provides over 680% of your daily vitamin K requirements, crucial for maintaining healthy blood vessels, and together with vitamins A and C, are necessary for maintaining your moisturizing, oil-producing sebaceous glands.
Provide potassium and electrolyte balance, crucial for hydration, and are high in antioxidants. In fact, the riper the banana, the more the antioxidants!
Grapefruit’s vitamin C protects the skin from UV damage and aging while lycopene prevents collagen breakdown.
Berries, most particularly blueberries promote increased circulation, delivering oxygen and nutrients to skin cells, are extremely high in antioxidants vitamin C and E and their skins are full of pigments that boost skin elasticity, boost collagen and prevent sagging.
Pomegranates provide anti-wrinkle ellagic acid, a compound that prevents the inflammation that ages and breaks down collagen.
Ginger suppresses cell aging by cooling inflammation via the phytochemical gingerol, and has the added winter benefit of being a potent anti-viral and immune booster.
Last but by no means least, healthy fats are an integral part of a skin-saving diet. Avocados, walnuts, wild salmon and other Omega-3-containing foods keep skin hydrated, assist in skin detoxification, reduce inflammation and assist in cellular DNA repair.
Winter is long, but your skin can make it through!
Koren Bradshaw, MS, CLC is a clinical nutritionist and certified lactation counselor passionate about functional nutrition and lifestyle education.
If you would like to set up a nutrition consultation with Koren call us at (203) 254 - 2633 to discuss your health concerns. We are happy to help!
*Some of the benefits mentioned above were gained from one of my favorite references, Eat Pretty – Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out by Jolene Hart, CHC, AADP. © 2014. Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.