While dry skin may seem more like an issue of vanity or discomfort, dry skin that is left untreated is actually more susceptible to insults from the environment leading to cycles of damage and inflammation which actually perpetuates the condition. Tackling dry skin with a topical treatment is only the first step to getting smooth, glowing skin. To really bring back the moisture it is best to look at what causes dryness in the first place, so you can then nourish your skin from the inside out.
Our skin is our largest organ that provides us with sensory information, is an important organ of elimination, and acts as a protective barrier to our outside world. The epidermis (the layer of skin we can see) is made up of cells and specialized lipids that under a microscope, look like bricks and mortar. It is this “mortar” that limits penetration of outside invaders in, and water from the underlying tissues out. By nourishing this we can help correct dry skin and prevent future bouts from happening.
Drinking adequate amounts of water is one of the most important things you can do for your skin. While we have all been told time and time again that 8 glasses is key to success, this number is actually highly individualized. Drier climates, increased activity levels, high fibre diets, alcohol and caffeine consumption will all increase the amount of water you need. Start your morning off with a large glass of lemon water, and continue sipping throughout the day. Not a lover of plain ol’ H2O? Try flavouring it naturally, with festive orange slices and fresh cranberries, or opt for a variety of herbal teas that will help to both keep you hydrated and cozy during these cold winter days.
As you now know, your skin is made up of fats, and replenishing these in the diet is a critical piece to rehydrating the skin and replenishing the lipid “mortar”. Increase your amount of dietary fat through healthy oils like olive and coconut, avocados, nuts and seeds, and supplement daily with a quality fish oil like omega3 that will help combat inflammation and repair any damage from environmental insults like UV-rays and pollution.
Eat in Colour:
Vitamin A and its plant-based pre-cursor ß-carotene, found in colourful veggies like carrots, red peppers, sweet potatoes and leafy greens like kale, chard and spinach, are important in protecting against dry skin. This nutrient is imperative for skin healing and tissue regeneration, and as an added bonus – fresh fruits and veggies up your water intake as well, giving you a double-whammy for healthy glowing skin.