Winter in Canada often means you’ll develop dry, flaky, rough skin you’d rather keep hidden under warm clothes. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some tips on keeping well hydrated from the inside, so you glow on the outside.
1. Read labels and eliminate toxic skin-care products: Many lotions, creams and body washes are loaded with toxic ingredients including sodium lauryl sulphate, which can actually cause rashes and dry skin — contrary to marketing that says it will “moisturize and beautify.” Even if you’re eating a diet rich in skin-loving nutrients, your dry skin problem will remain an issue if you use these toxic beauty products.
2. Don’t shower or bathe in hot water: While I agree one of the most relaxing things to do on a cold night is to take a bath with lavender, most of us shower or bathe in water that’s too hot for our skin — robbing it of moisture. The chlorine added to our H20 only enhances the problem. So lower the temperature of your water and spend less time in the shower or bath. The same rule applies to hand-washing. If you want to deal with the issue of chlorine, buy a water filter.
3. Good fat is nature’s moisturizer: Your cells literally need fat for structure. Fish oils and good fats from sources like coconut oil, chia, nuts, seeds, avocados and extra-virgin olive oil are vital for healthy, glowing skin. Coconut oil does double duty as it’s good for thyroid function — dry skin is a symptom of hypothyroidism. Of course, it goes without saying, avoiding trans fats and processed vegetable oils is an absolute must.
4. Eat hydrating foods: Unfortunately the SAD (Standard American Diet) is as moisture-zapping as it gets. Fried foods, sodium-drenched convenience foods and refined and processed grains contain very little moisture.
Your skin is thirsty for water and eating water-dense foods — such as complex carbs from whole grains like quinoa, millet, brown rice, spelt, vegetables and fruits — is an absolute must. Plus, you get a whole host of skin-loving nutrients in the form of vitamins A, B, C and E, zinc, selenium and silicon when you eat whole foods.
5. Remember your thyroid: Dry, rough, cracking skin can be a sign of hypothyroidism. As is dry, brittle hair, hair loss, weight gain (thanks to a slow metabolism) and thin brittle nails. If you suspect you may have a hypothyroid, see your health-care practitioner.
Joy McCarthy, registered holistic nutritionist and health coach of Joyous Health, loves to inspire others to eat well and live well. She’s also co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well, a six-week nutrition and yoga course in Toronto.
If you have really dry skin, maybe you should invest in some skin mapping. What is it? Watch the below video from ‘The Doctors‘ to find out.