It happens like clock-work, The weather gets colder and dry irritated skin suddenly becomes an issue, but why?
The short answer is “The cold” but in reality it gets a little more complicated. The culprit is low moisture levels in our skin. Humidity is often low outside during the colder months. Harsh, cold winds whipping against your skin and sucking out moisture will only make the problem worse. Not to mention it can also get dry indoors. Turning up the thermostat when its cold can make the air indoors just as dry as it is outside. Hot showers and baths can also exacerbate the problem. Hot water can remove oils from your skin leaving you unprotected from the dry air.
Now dry skin isn’t the end of the world but it can be annoying and even painful if left unchecked! Some simple ways you can avoid dry skin is to lower the thermostat just a little, covering up fully before you go outside, and using care products like moisturizers to help return oils to your skin. These methods are all effective but there is an even more natural approach to keeping healthy skin through the winter! The best way to maintain healthy skin is by simply eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated! Nutritional deficiencies play a fairly large role in skin health.
In this article we will be talking about how complex your skin really is and the best foods to promote a healthy glowing complexion to beat dry, red winter skin!
What role does skin play for our bodies.
Our skin has the obvious job of covering and protecting us from things like germs and the sun but it actually does a lot more than that. Skin plays an important role in body temperature regulation. By dilating its vast number of blood vessels it allows for heat loss and constricting blood vessels helps retain body heat. Our skin also allows our bodies to feel sensations such as temperature, pressure, itching and pain. Not only does this make most day to day tasks much easier but it allows us to automatically reach to thinks like cuts and burns to minimize injury.
Skin also functions as a large storeroom for our bodies. The deepest layer of our skin (subcutaneous tissue) can store water, fat, and metabolic products. It also produces hormones that are important for the whole body. It’s very important we keep our skin healthy as it does so much for the rest of our body.
The Link Between Skin Health and Nutrition
Once you know just a few of the functions unique to our skin it becomes apparent that protecting your skin should be a top priority! And the first steps for healthy skin are through our diets. There is a lot of evidence that nutrition and skin health are related but here are just a few examples.
B vitamins are an essential part of our diets as they can only be obtained through our food. B vitamins have a lot of jobs in our bodies and skin health is no exception. When people experience a vitamin B deficiency symptoms can include patchy red rashes, itchy inflamed skin, dermatitis, and increased potential of fungal skin and nail infections.
Vitamin C is another good example of how our diets affect our skin. Like vitamin B, Vitamin C has many different affects on our bodies. It plays important roles in our growth and development as well as our immune system and the bodies ability to heal itself. When we get enough vitamin C through our diet we don’t consider these things but a vitamin C deficiency becomes apparent rather quickly. The vitamin C deficiency disease scurvy which is characterized by skin fragility, bleeding gums and corkscrew hairs as well as impaired wound healing. Not only are these symptoms unpleasant to think about they really do have a toll on your skin.
Once you understand the impact a poor diet can have on your skin ( and overall health) the next question is what nutrients should I be targeting for healthier skin.
Best Nutrients for healthy and supple skin during the winter
Essential fatty acids
The first thing to target is essential fatty acids, specifically the Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. These fatty acids act as the glue between the cells that make up our skin and form the barrier that protects from external factors. Omega 3 specifically is responsible for the health of our cell membranes which are a significant portion of our skin. These essential fatty acids contribute to our skins barrier functions but they also play important roles in skin maintenance.
Fatty acids are also what makes our skin looks smooth and soft. When you aren’t getting enough essential fats it can make your skin dry out or get wrinkled. Omega 3 and Omega 6 are known as “essential fatty acids” because they can only come from our diets. the body can’t produce them from scratch like it does with other vitamins and minerals.
The best foods to get Omega-3: salmon, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, mackerel, and sardines
The best foods for Omega-6 : walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanut butter, tofu, eggs, and avocado oil
It is also important to note that consuming too much Omega-6 compared to Omega-3 may lead to inflammation and chronic disease. Because of this you should focus on balancing the two.
As we said earlier not getting enough vitamin C can have several adverse effects on skin health. But vitamin c plays another role when it comes to healthy skin. Vitamin C is essential when it comes to collagen synthesis in out bodies. Collagen is a protein produced by our bodies that serves as a building block for our skin, hair, muscles, and ligaments. Collagen is important to our skins health because it prevents sagging skin which makes people look younger
The best foods for vitamin C: citrus fruits, kiwis, broccoli, papayas, strawberries, and sweet yellow peppers
Vitamin A is another important vitamin when it come to skin health. Vitamin A plays an important role in the growth and production of new cells. Because of its role in cell growth if you don’t get enough vitamin A it can lead to weaker skin, This makes it much easier for skin to dry out and it can cause wounds to heal far more slowly. Vitamin A is also a stimulant to fibroblasts which are help skin stay firm preventing wrinkles.
The best foods for vitamin A: beef liver, cod liver oil, salmon, blue-fin tuna, sweet potato, pumpkin, kale, sweet red peppers, and spinach
Vitamin E mainly acts as an antioxidant. This means vitamin E inhibits oxidation. By inhibiting oxidation it counteracts the deterioration of stored foods / energy while also stopping potential cell damage.
vitamin E can also absorb energy from UV light. This protection plays an important role in preventing damage to skin. Vitamin E also protects our bodies from free radicals. Free radicals are unpaired electrons that move throughout our bodies looking for other electrons to pair with. This movement causes damage that can build up over a lifetime and eventually lead to disease. Free radicals have also been linked to aging but no conclusions have been drawn at this point.
The best foods for Vitamin E: Wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, abalone, salmon, and avocado
Dry skin can be a pain. To make matters worse the dry air and cold temperatures we experience every winter can only make things worse. Its important to try and protect your skin from getting too dry each year and there are a lot of ways to do it from turning down your heat to bundling up before you go out! But the best way to protect your skin is through your diet.
By eating healthy and targeting specific foods in your diet you can hydrate your skin, promote healthy oils, and even prevent signs of ageing such as wrinkles or baggy skin. At Weight Loss Direct we want the best for our community so we recommend taking a few notes and trying your best to target these nutrients as winter carries on!