Lotion and lip balm are essential, especially this time of year. In the winter, skin starts to crack and lips start to burn, and sometimes constant moisturizing doesn’t help.
Skin, hair, nails and lips can benefit greatly from food choices that can prevent the need to constantly moisturize. Treat your outer barrier with the same care that you would your heart or muscles, and you will notice a difference in skin elasticity, and overall moisture.
The foods used to fight dryness in the body are, not surprisingly, healthy in many other ways, too. Enjoy them in plentiful quantities, especially during the winter months.
Omega-3 fatty acids help form a barrier for skin to keep moisture in. They are also natural anti-inflammatory, so if you are fighting dry skin flare-ups or itchy patches of eczema, omega-3 fatty acids may help lessen your symptoms. The best fish to consume are the ones highest in these fatty acids. Salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel and sardines top the charts.
Fruits and vegetables
Not only is it a low-calorie way to get tons of nutrients, but eating more fruits and veggies will keep you well hydrated, which is critical to producing moisture in the skin, hair and nails. Most non-starchy veggies and fruits contain 80 to 90 percent of their weight in water.
Eating them a few times weekly will provide you a great source of monounsaturated fats, which help maintain skin elasticity by retaining moisture just below the surface of the skin. Monounsaturated fats such as those from avocados and olive oil supply the building blocks for ceramides, or waxy fats, that allow the skin to retain moisture. Serve up the guacamole with some of your favorite raw veggies.
A 1-ounce serving of almonds contains almost half of the daily vitamin E requirement. Vitamin E is crucial, because it protects skin from damage and helps promote new cell growth. Vitamin E is a recognized antioxidant that helps fight inflammation and itching by neutralizing damage from environmental conditions.
Another great source of vitamin E, a 1-ounce serving of sunflower seeds also provides biotin, a water-soluble B vitamin that aids in energy production. There are also claims that biotin can help with hair growth, though this is likely related to the fact that biotin deficiencies can result in hair loss. While there isn’t a set recommended daily allowance for biotin, a normal daily intake should be between 30-100 mcg per day.