Dry winter skin has reared it's ugly, scaly, itchy skin once again. The mixture of cold, blistering winds outside and dry, hot air from the heaters indoors can lead to skin that is begging for moisture and relief. Besides topical treatments like lotions, body butters, exfoliants, and oils there are things that can work to alleviate dry skin from the inside out.
Cocoa, typically associated with sweet treats and decadent desserts, will not only make your taste buds dance with delight, it also has the ability to improve skin's hydration levels. In a study looking at long term cocoa intake's affect on skin, women who drank 326 mg of cocoa flavanols (the amount found in roughly 6 tbsp. of unprocessed cocoa powder) mixed with water for 12 weeks had less water loss, increased hydration, and improved circulation in their skin. Cocoa does not have to be limited to candy and hot chocolate; it can be added to a plethora of dishes, drinks, and desserts.
To include more cocoa powder in my diet without added sugar I add natural cocoa powder to my morning hot cereal, to chili, and smoothies.
Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil are great sources of omega 3 fatty acids and have made it on to a few of my other lists. Including either or both of them in your diet is a great way to improve the health and hydration of your skin this winter and year round.
Flaxseed oil has been shown to improve smoothness and hydration levels, as well as decrease roughness and scaling. What more can you ask for? Add flaxseeds and/or flaxseed oil to salads, baked goods, cereal, smoothies, and anything else you can think of.
Water may seem like the no brainer on the list but you would be surprised how many of us just are not drinking enough water. You would probably be even more surprised to find out how incredibly difficult it was to find scientific proof that drinking water influences different skin properties. The search was beyond frustrating.
Mostly I found anecdotal information. When I finally found an article in a scholarly journal, its focus was questioning where the idea of 8 glasses a day came from. It even questioned if water intake affects skin moisture levels at all. What it didn't do, however, was test it out.
There had to be someone or something out there that actually tested this commonly held belief that water does somehow play a role in our skin health.
Then, finally, I hit the jackpot. I found an article that actually tested out water intake's affect on skin. And what did it find? Water does affect our skin. In the study, those who drank extra mineral water had higher skin hydration.
Find ways to include cocoa, flaxseeds, oils, and more water daily for moisturized healthy skin this winter. A humidifier and effective moisturizers won't hurt either...