This time of year the cold weather makes skin tighten up and feel like a parched desert. But it doesn’t have to be like this. A balance of oil and water is crucial for healthy, attractive skin.
There must be enough moisture/water in the skin cells, but also enough oil to act as a shield to prevent excessive evaporation of moisture from the skin’s top layers. Basic dry skin usually results from a lack of natural oils. It mainly affects fair-skinned women especially under the age of 35. It is probably primarily a genetic condition, but may be aggravated by poor diet and also exposure to sun, wind, cold, chemicals or harsh soaps. The cold causes the oils to flow less freely within the cells in our body. If your body contains lots of oils that flow freely in the cold (such as omega 3 essential fatty acids) rather than oils that are solid in the cold (such as saturated fat), dry skin won’t occur so often.
This can be compared to olive oil and butter, olive oil is liquid at room temperature and butter is solid, the more ‘liquid’ oils in your body the less dry your skin will become. Possibly the most important component for good skin are Essential Fatty Acids. These fatty acids are in the cell membrane and help to keep moisture inside the cell wall, keeping the cells plump and well hydrated, rather than scaly and limp. The higher your diet is in these fatty acids, the more will be in your body and the less dry your skin will be. These oils are found in oily fish (mackerel, herrings, sardines, salmon), nuts and seeds (especially linseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds). But the most efficient way of getting the quantity required to benefit your skin may be through supplementation. Be patient though, it may take a month or more to see the results.
The result will be the best moisturiser possible though – as your skin will be healthy from the inside out, rather than from the outside in (as most skin creams work). To ensure that you don’t suffer from any winter dryness, prepare your skin in the autumn for the winter by eating a diet rich in essential fatty acids. And if your skin is really dry take a supplement of EPA/DHA rich 500mg essential fatty acids.
A good local health food store will help you choose a good brand. Add lots of fresh organic unprocessed fibre rich foods to your diet and remember that alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, sugar, refined and fatty fried foods encourage unhealthy looking skin. Another good tip is to use a loofah sponge on the body twice weekly to boost circulation and to remove dead skin cells.
Don’t forget to drink at least a 1½litres of water every day to keep the skin hydrated.