By Dr. Kathleen Regan, ND
Looking for a natural solution to grey, dull winter skin? Remember that beauty begins on the inside. Try these simple naturopathic nutrition tips to keep your complexion glowing this winter season.
- Minimize Alcohol
- Choose Herbal, Skin Building Teas
- Don’t Cut Out All Carbs
- Cod Liver Oil
The holiday season is fast approaching – a time when alcohol consumption increases with the festivities. As well, for many Canadians, winter is a time when an alcoholic beverage seems the perfect end to a long cold day. However, alcohol places a burden on the liver which helps to purify the quality of blood reaching our skin. Too much alcohol can contribute to a grey or dull complexion, acne, as well as puffy, bloated looking skin. Try to keep you alcohol consumption below 3-4 drinks per week.
Choose Herbal Teas
Alcohol isn’t the only comforting beverage during the winter. A nice warm coffee or tea can also be quite pleasant. Remember that any drink with caffeine is a natural diuretic. This is dehydrating for the body and dehydration can become obvious in the skin. Choose non-caffeinated teas with skin building herbs such as nettle, horsetail, cleavers, calendula or red clover. At Innate, we make a custom Skin Tea just for this purpose.
Don’t Cut Out All Carbs
Post-holiday season is a time when people become more conscious of weight caused by holiday overindulgence. High protein, low carb programs are helpful for leaning down but they also deprive the body of valuable vitamins and minerals available in whole grains that help support hair growth and skin repair. In practice, I regularly see people who have been on ketogenic type programs for too long and experience falling hair and dry, parchment-like skin. A high protein diet is helpful for a period of time for weight loss – but I recommend keeping it to 3 months. After this period of time begin adding carbs back in: add 1 cup (cooked) of a complex grain like brown or wild rice to your daily dietary regime.
Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver Oil is a win-win when it comes to healthy skin and healthy immune function during the winter. It is a whole food fish oil that contains vitamin A and D. This combo keeps the cellular membranes in your skin elastic and healthy. Vitamin A & D are fat-soluble vitamins that are necessary for both skin repair and immune function.
Healthy Skin begins within THE GUT. The gut digests our food, pulls out nutrients and sends them to the skin for repair. The gut also pulls out toxins and sends them to the liver and kidneys for detoxification and excretion. If the gut bacteria are not in healthy balance, our skin doesn’t get the nutrients that we need. Our skin also takes on the burden of dietary or environmental toxicity. If our kidney and liver cannot excrete toxins – they will try to escape through the skin in the form of acne, psoriasis, eczema and so on. A basic probiotic will help ensure you are receiving the bacterial balance you need.
Extra TIP!! Did you know that there are natural supplements that help maintain youthful, glowing skin?? And they don’t always have a ‘Healthy Skin’ label on them. Many supplements aimed at bone & joint support are also helpful for the hair, skin and nails. This is because while nutrients like glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, hyaluronic acid and so on support bones and joints – they are also important for the connective tissue that makes up the layers of your skin. Something to think about!!
Healthy skin starts from within BUT it is vulnerable to the elements! To boost the hydration of appearance of winter skin try these lifestyle tips:
- Make sure to move! Increased circulation helps to repair the skin.
- Sleep with a good quality humidifier on the ‘warm’ setting.
- Turn the car heating vents away from your face when driving.
- When heading out for a long walk in cold weather apply a protective/rich cream to your face.
- Exfoliate face (and lips!) after exposure to harsh weather. Sloughing away the dry skin makes way for a healthy layer.
- Switch your winter skin routine to something more deeply hydrating depending on skin-type. DOn’t forget to check the ‘Think Dirty’ App to make sure your products are clean!