Take Care of Your Skin Problems

As temperature drops, heaters clank on, the wind whips up and the battle for healthy skin begins. Dry air takes away the thin layer of oil that traps moisture in the skin. As soon as you turn the heaters on indoors, the skin starts to dry out. It doesn't matter if you heat your home using oil, wood, or electricity, the skin still gets dry. Is your skin feeling dull and lifeless? The dry winter season can do that to you. When the weather gets cold and dry in the winter, for many people, the cold clear days of winter bring more than just a rosy glow to the cheeks. They also bring uncomfortable dryness to the skin of the face, hands and feet. For some people, the problem is worse than just a general tight, dry feeling: Their skin becomes so dry that it results in flaking, cracking, even eczema (in which the skin becomes inflamed). That is when it becomes especially important to keep your skin moisturized.

Winter Skin Care Tips

• Bathing and Moisturizing. Let’s start with bath, the feeling that taking bath destroys or deteriorates the skin in winter considering water as a destructing agent is not true; it is the soap made of lye that destroys the skin. Luke warm water with moisture soap is the best way to keep skin hydrated. After bath,0 massage with wheat germ oil, or olive oil, are some traditional ways with which you can keep your skin looking good throughout the winter. Avoid very hot water.

• Give Your Hands a Hand. The skin on your hands is thinner than on most parts of the body and has fewer oil glands. That means it's harder to keep your hands moist, especially in cold, dry weather. This can lead to itchiness and cracking. Wear gloves when you go outside; if you need to wear wool to keep your hands warm, slip on a thin cotton glove first, to avoid any irritation the wool might cause.

• Grease up Your Feet. During the winter, your feet need more than a light moisturizer. Try finding lotions that contain petroleum jelly or glycerine instead. And use exfoliants to get the dead skin off periodically; that helps any moisturizers you use to sink in faster and deeper.

• Pace the Peels. If your facial skin is uncomfortably dry, avoid using harsh peels, masks, and alcohol-based toners or astringents, all of which can strip vital oil from your skin. Instead, find a cleansing milk or mild foaming cleanser, a toner with no alcohol, and masks that are "deeply hydrating," rather than clay-based, which tends to draw moisture out of the face. And use them a little less often.

We all know that moisturizing products go a long way in fighting dry skin, but with the help of nourishing, antioxidant-packed fruits, vegetables and “healthy” fats, you can moisturize and replenish your skin and provide bodies with health-promoting nutrients.
As the old saying goes, you are what you eat, and eating foods that keep your skin supple and smooth is easy and delicious.


8 Foods that Promote Skin Health

• Avocados. They are a great source of vitamins C, E, and monounsaturated fats, which help your skin to lock in moisture and replenish nutrients in skin. It also promotes collagen production, and helps keep your skin supple and firm. You can enjoy avocado as a whole fruit or in salad form.

• Fish. Salmon, herring, sardines and rainbow trout are all amazing for your skin. Fish contains omega-3 fats, which strengthen skin cells, help protect skin from sun damage, can protect against cancer, and help reduce inflammation. Certain fish also contain selenium, which preserves elastin in the skin, helping your skin stay supple, smooth, and tight.

Avoid deep-fried fish (the fats in oil are terrible for your skin), and opt for grilled, baked, poached, or roasted fish.

• Carrots. They contain the carotenoids beta carotene and lycopene – both of which help fighting dry skin and protect it from harmful sun rays and environmental damage. Also carrots contain vitamins A and C, which help repair body tissues and produce collagen, respectively. A glass of carrot juice in the morning can replenish and brighten up your skin.

• Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is full of vitamin E and good fats, and will moisturize skin both from the inside (eaten) and out (topical application).

• Spinach. Spinach and other dark, leafy greens are packed with iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, B, and E, which protect skin and improve your immune system. Phytochemicals and folate help hydrate skin and keep it healthy. You can steam spinach leaves as a side veggie, or enjoy it in salad or soup form.

• Nuts and Seeds. Nuts and seeds are the ultimate power food. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B and E, monounsaturated fats and minerals, and a host of antioxidants. They hydrate your skin, promote its elasticity, help regenerate cells, and protect against pollutants and free radicals. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds all contain variations of these healthy pro-skin ingredients, and can be enjoyed plain as a snack (in moderation, as they are calorie-dense), sprinkled on yogurt or cereal, baked into muffins, or as a crunchy topping for savory dishes, like roasted fish or chicken.

• Grapefruit. Grapefruit contains lycopene, a carotenoid that help to keep your skin smooth. In a study published in 2008 in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and bio pharmaceutics, researchers found that out of the 20 individuals studied, those who had higher skin concentrations of lycopene had smoother skin. Also grapefruit contains a good amount of vitamin C, which helps turn back the clock by preventing wrinkles.

• Eggs. Eggs are high in protein, which helps cell regeneration, and contain sulfur and lutein, which promotes skin hydration and elasticity. Eggs also work to hydrate the skin through topical application, so try an egg mask by whipping egg whites until frothy and then apply it to the face and neck. Rinse with warm water.

• Water. The most important thing you need to do to keep your skin glowing, during the winter, is to drink a lot of water. Our body is made up of about 60% water therefore water is required to keep the body hydrated. Also water helps to get rid of waste and toxins, which are the main cause of dull skin. A well hydrated skin looks great even without any kind of makeup.

In addition, you must avoid foods that can make your skin look drab and lifeless. That includes anything highly processed and foods loaded with sugar, salt, preservatives and artificial colouring. So, eat the right foods and keep the winter skin problems at bay.

The writer is a reputed clinical dietitian at The Aga Khan University Hospital. She has done her M.Sc in Nutrition and her specialty includes General Nutrition, Gastroenterology, General Medicine, and Endocrinology. [email protected]

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