Are There Natural Treatments for Dry Winter Skin??
Updated: Dec 6, 2022
The Best Vitamins & Practices To Moisturize Your Skin From The Inside Out!
The colder months may bring to mind visions of cozy winter nights and hot chocolate …and the opportunity to bust out all my favorite fuzzy hats, warm gloves, and toasty boots!!! But not everything about winter is so charming. When the temperatures drop outside, your skin is left exposed to harsh, dry air. I’m not just talking about the air outside, but the air in our homes and workplaces, too. Central heating, floor heating units, and that inviting fire in the hearth all suck the moisture our skin is craving right out of the air!
Colder temperatures and dryer air makes it harder for your skin to hold onto moisture. Many people are plagued with patches of dry skin, particularly on the hands, elbows, and face. While lotion, followed by an emollient, should be applied generously, sometimes that combo is just not enough.
The Best Vitamins for Skin To Stay Moisturized and Where To Find Them
Not only do we want our skin looking good, our skin is a vital organ that covers nearly every inch of our bodies. Skin is necessary for acting as a barrier to protect us from things like bacteria and UV rays. Our skin contains natural surface lipids which help keep it moisturized and prevent it from drying out. However, that harsh, dry, winter air depletes our skin of these natural lipids, and we end up feeling like we’re covered in sandpaper.
Sure, topical creams and lotions may provide some relief from dry skin, your body needs certain nutrients to maintain its natural protective barrier. Which ones? Below are some of the most effective vitamins & supplements to assist your skin in staying moisturized and how to get more of them in your diet.
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient found in many skincare products. Vitamin A contains retinoids and carotenoids which help to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. It’s also useful for repairing UV-damaged skin cells and reducing symptoms of psoriasis. Vitamin A promotes natural moisturizing, making it one of the best vitamins for skin hydration.
Foods rich in vitamin A include beef liver, fish oil, leafy greens, tomatoes, and red bell pepper.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for regulating many systems in the body, including the skin. A lack of vitamin C is linked to dry skin. Increasing your vitamin C intake can increase skin hydration as well as collagen, which keeps skin looking plumper and more youthful.
The best sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, sweet red pepper, and kiwi.
Vitamin D plays an important role in preventing and treating eczema, a skin disorder characterized by severe dry skin. One study found that people with higher levels of vitamin D had a higher amount of skin moisture than those with lower levels. Vitamin D is one of the best vitamins for skin moisture while also reducing inflammation and promoting wound healing.
The best source of vitamin D is the sun but it can also be found in supplement form (avoid the sugary gummies!) and food sources such as fish oil.
Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant that helps combat dry skin and pigmentation caused by UV damage.
Vitamin E is found in foods like sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkin, and wheat germ oil. It can also be used as a topical treatment for dry skin in oil form.
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein that just so happens to be one of the main building blocks for our skin, bones, muscles, cartilage, and ligaments. These supplements are now available everywhere in pills, gummies, liquid, or powdered forms. Beware of the promises made by topical collagen lotions and serums…the molecules are too big to be absorbed by the skin.
Foods with good sources of collagen are bone broths (beef, poultry, pork and shellfish), sardines, berries, and organ meats.
Zinc helps protect the skin from UV damage and prevents the skin from drying out. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can be helpful for people with eczema and psoriasis.
Zinc is found in foods like oysters, red meat, poultry, nuts, and beans.
Selenium is a mineral found in the soil, water, and some foods. This natural mineral protects the skin from harmful UV rays which damage and dry out skin. Selenium is also useful in treating symptoms of psoriasis.
Foods that contain selenium include shellfish, pork, poultry, yellowfin tuna, and Brazil nuts.
So, How Can I Hydrate My Skin Naturally?
Besides ramping up your vitamin and mineral intake, certain skin care practices and habits can help your skin retain more moisture and reduce dry skin. We’re talking more than lotion!
Below are some ways you can hydrate your skin naturally.
Drink More Water
Water is the key to preventing dehydration, which can make skin dull and dry. If you’ve noticed that your skin is dryer than usual, it could mean you need to drink more water. Most people should aim for anywhere between 11.5 cups to 15.5 cups per day. Hydration is especially important if you exercise daily, which causes you to lose more water through sweat.
Spend Less Time in the Shower
Long showers and hot baths may be a luxury for you, especially in the colder months. But while bathing more often is generally a good habit, it could be contributing to your dry skin. Spending too much time in hot water can deplete your skin of its natural moisture.
Combined with the use of harsh soaps that disrupt your skin’s natural moisture barrier, this is even more true. Limit how long you spend in the bath or shower and opt for lukewarm water over hot water.
Exfoliate Dry Skin
Exfoliating your skin helps to remove dead skin cells that prevent moisture from breaching your skin barrier. If your skin is dry, try exfoliating with a skin scrub, loofah, or rough washcloth. Moisturizing creams and lotions will work more effectively after your dry skin cells have been removed.
Avoid Alcohol, Coffee, & Sugar
Both alcohol and coffee have diuretic effects that can lead to dehydration and dry skin. Did you know sugar can have the same effect? Doesn’t matter if it’s cookies, a bowl of white pasta, or a fruit-heavy smoothie. Simple carbs are just as dehydrating as coffee and alcohol. For best skin health, consume these diuretics sparingly or avoid them completely. If you do consume these substances, make sure to compensate for the dehydrating effects by drinking more water.
Don’t Smoke or Vape
Everyone knows smoking cigarettes can potentially cause serious health problems. The nicotine in cigarettes is a highly addictive substance that can be damaging to your cells, even your skin cells. Smoking cigarettes impairs blood flow, which causes your blood vessels to narrow. As a result, skin cells don’t get the nutrients they need so your skin becomes duller and drier. Vaping products, even though they appear to produce a watery mist, are actually loaded with humectants like propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine. This e-liquid mixture is very dehydrating to the skin, mouth, and eyes.
Take an Oatmeal & Epsom Salt Bath
You’ve likely eaten oatmeal plenty of times for breakfast but never considered taking a bath in it. So, is an oatmeal bath good for dry skin? Heck Yeah! Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which help to soothe irritation. An oatmeal bath can help soothe dry, itchy, and irritated skin. Add some Epsom salt and you’ll have an even more moisturizing combination. Epsom Salt is pure magnesium and is easily absorbed by the skin, so it softens, exfoliates and moisturizes!
This combo is recommended for those who suffer from severe dry skin and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. For best results with this type of bath, apply a skin moisturizer immediately after.
Humidifiers, warm or cool mist, add moisture to the air which can help alleviate dry skin. Cold air causes the moisture in the air to evaporate, meaning there‘s just less moisture for your skin to absorb. Humidifiers help with alleviating dry skin as well as irritated eyes, bloody noses, cracked lips, cracked skin on hands, sinus headaches, and dryness in the throat or airways. Investing in a humidifier (or two) for your home or office may be a good idea if you experience dry skin in the winter or year-round.
Now You Know How Preventing and Reducing Dry Skin Should Be Approached From The Inside Out. Next Step, What Are the Best Skincare Ingredients for Dry Skin?
Topical skincare products can be helpful for replenishing moisture levels in your skin and protecting the skin barrier. Below are the best skincare ingredients for dry skin. Look for these ingredients on the labels of your skincare products for best results combatting your dry skin.
Hyaluronic acid is a substance produced naturally by the body. It’s found in your skin, eyes, and joints. The gooey, slippery substance can also be lab-made and is found in many skincare products.
Hyaluronic acid helps skin lock in moisture better and keeps skin elastic and supple. Incorporating hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine for dry skin can help your skin maintain its hydration levels
Glycerin is a substance commonly added to skincare products for its moisturizing benefits. The compound is found naturally in animal fats and vegetable oils and is best known for its humectant properties. Humectants are substances that attract and bind to water, creating a natural barrier on the skin that traps in moisture. Look for glycerin in your skincare serums and ointments.
Coconut oil is made from fresh pressed coconut meat. The oil has many uses as both a culinary ingredient and ingredient in many haircare and skincare products. Coconut oil is an occlusive moisturizer, which means it helps form a protective barrier over the skin to retain moisture and keep harmful particles and skin irritants out. Look for skincare products that contain coconut oil or use coconut oil on its own as a natural moisturizer.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is rich in omega-6 fatty acids which are beneficial to skin health. These fatty acids have been shown to help prevent water loss and peeling skin. It can also improve skin softness and skin elasticity making it a powerful anti-aging skincare ingredient.
Petroleum jelly (most commonly known as Vaseline) is a mixture of oils and waxes that form a jelly-like substance. Petroleum jelly is often used in lip balms for softening dry lips but it can be used in skincare as well.
Applying a layer of petroleum jelly on your skin acts as a protective barrier between your skin and outside elements. It helps lock inside moisture to relieve dry skin. Petroleum jelly is most effective when applied to wet skin, such as immediately after you bathe.
The Bottom Line
Dry skin is a common culprit for many people during the winter months. Cold air exposure coupled with indoor heating elements quickly dry skin out. Lotion and moisturizers can be helpful for treating dry skin when applied regularly but they are sometimes not enough.
To take care of your skin this winter season, remember to treat your skin from the inside out. Consume more of the best vitamins for skin by maintaining a healthy balanced diet to restore your skin’s natural barrier.
Make sure to avoid behaviors and habits that dry your skin and invest in a moisturizing skincare routine that includes effective moisture-rich ingredients. By following these skin healthy practices, you can relieve and reduce your dry skin this winter!