The depths of winter are particularly unkind to our poor skin. It's the combination of harsh weather, central heating, taking too many hot baths and showers, and seeking comfort in indulgent food that all add up to a flaky, lacklustre complexion.
Obviously, now is to time to ramp up skincare routines, and make exfoliating and moisturising a priority. This doesn't necessarily mean shelling out for super-expensive skin products because, besides taking preventative external measures, you can winter-proof your skin from the inside out. Looking to your diet could see an improvement in your skin, and choosing the right foods can help you to maintain dewy, glowing skin all winter.
1 When your skin is flaky
One solution to the problem of flaky skin is to eat more fats, albeit the good kind. Omega-3 oils, which are contained in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, aren't made by the body. They work by helping the skin retain moisture, giving it a plumped-up look - your surgery-free facelift if you will. Omega-3 oils are also anti-inflammatory, which is great for helping skin counteract the ravages caused by winter weather. If you're not a fan of fish, get your omega-3 oils from walnuts and flaxseeds.
2 When you lack a glow
If even industrial quantities of bronzer are not brightening your winter pallor, it's time to call in the dietary big guns. Vitamin E is regarded as something of a wonder drug. One of the body's main antioxidants, it's important for heart health and its skin healing properties have been scientifically proven, which is why it's a component in many skincare products.
Sweet potatoes, blackberries, mangos, nuts and Brussels sprouts are all good sources, meaning that you're not limited for choice if you're trying to include it in your diet.
3 When you have the 'winter itch'
The dreaded winter itch, caused by dry skin, can be very uncomfortable and deeply annoying. Using something like coconut oil topically can help soothe the irritation. Also, be sure to consume enough omega-3 oils to maintain moisture. Increasing your intake of B-complex vitamins could also help.
These are essential for healthy skin, amongst many other things. They're relatively easy to find in the diet and B6 especially, which is found in turkey, chicken and dark green vegetables like spinach, has been linked to better skin.
4 When you're suffering breakouts
It's so unfair that at a time of year when we are expected to go into all-out party mode, we start getting spotty. Dehydrated skin is more prone to break outs it's true, but diet also plays its part. Too much alcohol and sugary treats at this time of year are difficult but not impossible to resist.
Instead of chowing down on a selection box in one sitting, try to snack on nuts such as walnuts and Brazil, which are high in selenium, an antioxidant that helps protect the skin's elasticity.
Try to substitute raw for processed where you can. Other party food swaps that your skin will thank you for are crudités and hummus instead of crisps, and low-release carbohydrates such as multigrain bread, which prevents spikes in blood sugar, which in turn may damage the skin's collagen.
5 When you want a quick and cheap skin boost
After years in the dietary wilderness, eggs are back in favour again as part of a healthy diet. One a day is ok, and eating them is not associated with an increase in heart disease. They also have myriad benefits for your skin.
The amino acids they contain are needed for collagen and elastin production, while its vitamin A content helps skin stay moist and repair. Of course, eating eggs isn't going to produce immediate and visible effects, but an egg-white mask face does, according to fans of this DIY beauty remedy.
For centuries, albumin in egg whites has been used as a wrinkle soother. It certainly has the effect of reducing the appearance of pores, and while this might be a temporary effect, there's nothing wrong with a little short-term beauty fix. Whisk two egg whites, apply all over the face and leave for 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
Health & Living
Question: I have been feeling quite tired lately. I went to my doctor and my blood tests show that I have anaemia. I consider myself quite healthy and I eat well so I'm not sure how this occurred. Is there anything else I should have checked and how can I prevent this in the future?