Dry skin is a real downer for achieving that soft, supple glow we’re all looking to have, right? It’s also annoying for women that are looking to apply make up and can be a real (true) pain for men trying to shave- ouch! Dry skin is also unhealthy for your skin, believe it or not. Skin cells die on a daily, and even hourly basis like the rest of our cells do. As this happens, cells that are meant to be sloughed away end up building up on top of the epidermal (top layer) of skin, which causes clogging more easily. This can lead to breakouts, rashes, and more less-than-stellar skin issues. While exfoliating may help occasionally, it may not prevent dry skin from coming on in the first place.
If you exercise outdoors, you’re at an even greater risk for dry skin, so be sure to prioritize skin care this time of year as much as your daily workouts. The sun’s rays may not be apparent, but they still shine through the clouds and combined with wind and chilly temps, can be brutal for your skin.
Thankfully, as she always does, nature provides us with a remedy for everything, including our dry winter skin. Keep in mind that an overall healthy diet and avoiding alcohol (which is drying to the skin) are also important as well. Otherwise, eat these five foods on a regular basis to prevent and treat dry skin naturally:
Coconut is a wonder food for just about anything and it’s rich in healthy fats that help your skin glow in every way possible. Low-fat foods may provide you with nutrients and even aid in moisturizing the skin, but going fat-free is not the answer to preventing and treating dry skin. Your body needs a certain amount of fat to be at its best, and so does your skin! Coconut’s fats help provide lubrication and also help prevent acne thanks to their antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Choose whole foods such as coconut butter and coconut shreds, as they retain all the good fiber found in coconut.
Also rich in good fats, olives help provide your skin with healthy unsaturated fats with anti-aging benefits. Olive oil is rich in Vitamin E, a powerhouse nutrient to treat and prevent dry skin naturally. Olive oil may also be consumed or applied topically to the skin and raw, organic olives make amazing additions to any plant-based entree. For a skin-boosting dinner, combine olives with some quinoa and kale, which are complementary to olives and will provide you with additional antioxidants, fiber, and protein (all wonderful for your skin health).
Poor man’s butter as it’s often called, the avocado is a miraculous food for dry skin, containing potassium, B-vitamins, vitamin E, and protein. However, their fats are what really shine when it comes to boosting your skin health. They help lubricate the skin and protect it from damage, and also promote clear, youthful skin. Avocados are also one of the best anti-aging foods you can eat for this exact purpose. Mash them on some sprouted grain bread in place of mayo, add them to a smoothie for a decadent texture, chop them onto a salad or in some soup, or puree them and make a skin mask!
Oatmeal is one of the oldest remedies for dry skin and even the chickenpox! If you ever had the illness as a child, you may remember all those oatmeal baths your mother gave you. Well, there was a reason for the madness — oatmeal is rich in skin benefits, including preventing and treating dryness, rashes, and even acne. Though you could continue on with the baths if you like, eating your oatmeal is a much better (and tastier, more pleasant) option! Oatmeal contains a lot of antioxidants, along with vitamins and minerals that improve skin health. It’s also rich in fiber that keeps your heart health and keeps you regular. Fiber is also important for your skin since it helps keep moving wastes along through the body properly, which also keeps your skin healthy as a result. The fiber in oatmeal also helps slough away dead skin and also prevent redness when applied topically — just another reason to love oatmeal even more (like we needed one).
Sweet potatoes are amazing sources of vitamin A, containing more than almost any other vegetable. Vitamin A helps lock in moisture, gives your skin a healthy glow and protects it from damage. Vitamin C found in sweet potatoes will also help improve your skin and also protect your body from those nasty winter colds as a side benefit. Pumpkin, carrots, and winter squash also make excellent vitamin A-rich choices as well.
Of course, leafy greens are fantastic for dry, winter skin (and acne) as they’re beneficial for almost anything, and healthy nuts and seeds also provide essential fatty acids that help prevent dryness naturally too. When it comes to dry skin, prioritize antioxidant-rich foods and healthy fats above all else and remember to get a variety of sources into your diet. You’ll also want to consider using a sunscreen moisturizer product. Choose one that’s cruelty-free and natural as the best option.
Kiss those dry skin flakes goodbye and eat up- dry, winter skin can be a thing of the past with delicious, plant-based foods!
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!
Lead image source: Nina Nelson/Flickr