It seems that no matter how many layers we put on our body during the winter months, our skin always feels the bitter bite of the cold. When the temperature starts to drop, the humidity level decreases as well, leaving skin feeling parched. The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has a few tips to keep your skin hydrated and healthy during the cold, dry winter months:
First, a hot shower certainly gives us a break from the cold outside, however it doesn’t do any favours for our skin. The hot water can actually dry out the natural oils and the longer you stay in the shower the more these oils deplete. Make sure you shower in lukewarm water and always use naturally hydrating products that are free of BHA and BHT, phthalates, parabens, siloxanes, and sodium laureth sulphate.
“We tend to only look for skin products in drug stores and at the cosmetic counter,” says CHFA president, Helen Long. “But you can also look in your pantry and in health food stores to find excellent natural moisturizers. Coconut oil, for example, acts as an emollient, providing a softening and soothing effect. Another option is grapeseed oil, which is an effective, lightweight moisturizer and contains vitamins, minerals, protein, GLA (an omega-6 fatty acid that is found mostly in plant-based oils), and vitamin E—all nutrients your skin will benefit from.”
When we think of improving the condition of our skin, various creams, moisturizers, soaps and cosmetics come to mind. But it’s worth remembering that beauty truly does radiate from the inside out. A nutritious diet which includes healthy fats and colourful vitamin-rich vegetables and fruits, is essential to maintaining hydrated, healthy skin.
Specifically, healthy fats, such as the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and flaxseeds, can help skin maintain its elasticity. Antioxidants like vitamin A, which are found in yellow, orange and red vegetables, are ideal for this purpose. Furthermore, a vitamin A deficiency can actually cause skin to become dry and rough. It may seem like common sense but it is true that your skin’s hydration is linked to your body’s hydration, so make sure you are drinking eight to 10 glasses of water a day.
More information on this topic, which includes a list of health food stores in your community, is easily found using the “find-a-retailer” tool online at chfa.ca.