It's not even officially winter here at Joyous HQ in Toronto, Canada and many people (including myself) are already feeling the drying effects that the cold temperatures tend to bring! It can be challenging to maintian moisture-rich glowing skin when you have blistery cold winds blowing in your face but it's certainly not impossible, especially when you tune into your diet, supplements and lifestyle habits!
As a Canadian Holistic Nutritionist who has endured more Canadian winters than she can count, I can assure you that you can have smooth, moist glowy skin all winter long!
What you eat and drink on a daily basis is a huge determining factor when it comes to the health of your skin. By the same token, what you don't eat and drink on a daily basis also plays a big role in the health of your skin.
To make it as easy as possible for you, I've highlighted some of the best diet and lifestyle practices to emphasize, as well as which ones to avoid, to ensure you can maintain moisture-rich skin all year long!
What To Emphasize To Have Moisture-Rich Skin:
emphasize your WAter intake
Okay, so we'll start with the obvious. DRINK MORE WATER! If you're not drinking enough water, not only is your skin going to suffer from the dulling effects, but you're likely going to suffer from headaches, low energy, poor detoxification and a weakened immune system. When focusing on upping your water intake, it's also important to consider other dietary habits or lifestyle factors that may be hindering your hydration levels, like drinking coffee or not hydrating properly while exercising, which both have dehydrating effects.
The first thing I do every single morning is chug a large glass of water which helps to flush any metabolic waste that was produced in the night. Adding a squeeze of fresh lemon will help you to detoxify your digestive system and liver as well. The health of both of those is directly correlated with the health and clarity of your skin! Strive to drink 6-8 cups of water daily, while incorporating some of the other tips I'm about to mention. Need a little help to track your water? This is a great app to use: Waterlogged.
emphasize Hydrating Foods
One of the best (and in my opinion, the easiest) ways to stay hydrated is by incorporating hydrating foods into your diet. Think smoothies, soups, stews or foods that contain a high-water content like cucumber, celery, watermelon, strawberries, lettuce and dark leafy greens. So for those that see 6-8 glasses of water daily as a daunting task, this is a great way to stay hydrated. For example, I might have a smoothie for breakfast (which I make for myself, my hubs and my daughter every morning), butternut squash soup for lunch and a fresh raw crunchy salad for dinner along with what ever else we are eating!
As much as I love roasted veggies, we have to rememeber that anything that is roasted, baked or fried is very dehydrating, so if you are planning on having roasted root veggies for dinner, just make sure to have it with a bright raw salad that has a lot of hydrating veggies! The same goes for dehydrated foods like a fruit leather or kale chips; since the majority of the water content has been removed, it's important to ensure you're drinking a lot of water when enjoying healthy dehydrated foods.
emphasize Healthy Fats
Let me say this loud and clear: FAT is your FRIEND! :) Fat is actually your best friend when it comes to the health of your skin as it moisturizes your skin from the inside out. Our skin is made up of various types of lipids, phospholipids, cholesterol and free fatty acids. When we are deficient in these essential fatty acids which are derived from healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, fish and oils, dry skin is typically the first symptom to arise since it becomes easier for water to escape through the barrier. Healthy fats are also well known for their ability to reduce inflammation in the body which can be a primary trigger for dry skin.
To get more healthy fats in your diet, enjoy more avocado, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds and fish! I would also recommend that you supplement with a high-quality fish oil supplement like this one, which is Joyous Health Approved!
emphasize Moisturizing Daily
How many of you moisturize religiously and still find yourself left with dry skin? I struggled with this for far too long! It took me years to realize that the conventional toxin-containing moisturizers I was using were doing more harm than good. I was also solely relying on them to solve my dry skin woes, without acknowledging the role that diet played in healing my skin.
Ever since I've been using this 'Smooth Like Butta' Body Butter, my skin has been ... well, smooth like butter! This body butter is formulated with only 4 soothing ingredients, including organic coconut oil, cacao butter, mango butter and shea butter; each of which, come with their own set of skin-healing properties like a high-antioxidant profile or an array of nutrients and vitamins for the skin.
This is the only moisturizer/body butter I use on my daughter Vienna, aside from coconut oil on her bum bum :)
It's best to use this right out of the shower to lock in the moisture since showers (hot ones, specifically) can dry out our skin and strip it of its natural oils. But you can really enjoy it whenever you wish and you'll want to as well once you discover how luscious it feels on your skin! Pick up a jar of your own in the joyous shop!
Emphasize Using a Humidifer in The Winter
I live in a condo, so having a humidifer in our home is a MUST to offset the constantly blowing dry hot air. This zaps moisture from your skin instantly, resulting in dryness, dullness and flaking skin. It may also be the reason you're waking up with a dry mouth or coarse voice in the morning, which for me, isn't ideal with the amount of public speaking I do. Having a humidifer in the home has also been shown to alleviate sickness in kids or support a faster healing time when you're graced with a cold, sinus infection or the flu, since it will keep your throat moist and nasal passages clear which allows for healing. Throughout the winter, we don't miss a single night without having it on in Vienna's bedroom.
What To Avoid To Prevent Dry Skin:
avoid Coffee/ALCOHOL (Diuretics)
This is the part of the article where all of the java-loving-joyous readers scram in fear of what I'm about to say haha! Don't worry, I don't bite :) But as a holistic nutritionist, I feel it's my duty to inform you about the consequences of consuming coffee.
While there are healthier ways to enjoy your cup of joe, it doesn't matter how much MCT oil or grass-fed butter you put in your coffee – it is dehydrating for the body!
For every cup of coffee, you need to replenish with a cup of water on top of what I recommended to drink as your basic needs on the daily. The same goes for alcohol, although most people know this rule pretty well by now if they've ever woken up with a hangoverand repeated the words "I'm never drinking again!" Drinking 1 cup of water for every alcoholic drink can help prevent dehydrating your body and your skin, and may even help prevent a hangover the next day!
Avoid Hot Showers
I totally get it! It's freezing out and the idea of jumping into a warm cozy bath or hot shower has never been more desirable. Unfortunately, hot water does a number on dry skin as well, stripping it of its natural oils. Instead, I recommend taking a 5-10 minute lukewarm bath or shower which will help to retain your skin's natural moisture content.
Avoid Scented Soaps, Fragrance and Scented Laundry Detergent/Fabric Softeners
You may already know my stance on perfume, but this is another reason you won't find it in my home. Fragrance in perfume, lotions or fabric softeners can irritate dry skin or worsen a condition like eczema. You might not see any evidence of irritation on the skin's surface, however it may be silently occurring every day. So even if you are eating the most hydrating foods, or getting in your healthy fats, you may be still be doing yourself a disservice by using scented soaps, wearing perfume or using scented laundry detergent or fabric softeners. I would recommend steering clear of these skin-drying culprits and stick to natural solutions instead :)
I know for me, going into winter was often anxiety-inducing due to my recurring eczema flare ups I would experience every year. But since I incorporated the dietary, supplement and lifestyle practices I teach in my Eczema Healing Guide, I've been eczema-free (woohoo!) So if you, or someone you know suffers from dry skin, eczema or psoriasis, please share this important information with them! I can assure you, they will be forever grateful when they realize they don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on lotions and potions that don't address the root issue!
What's one thing you do to prevent dry skin?