These are finds that you can apply and eat as well.
A winter wonderland sounds alluring—but the dry, itchy, and inflamed skin that comes with it is never a good look. If you’re often reaching for handfuls of lotion in the dead of winter, there are some other ways to combat the harsh climate—and you don’t even have to leave your kitchen.
Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, routinely treats clients for dry and irritated skin in New York’s bitterly cold winter weather. Before you try and set up an appointment with your derm, Zeichner says many mild cases of dry skin can be fixed with a few grocery staples.
He’s careful to point out that natural remedies aren’t always the perfect solution for everyone, but if you’re game to get messy and have some patience, the following foods—some applied to the skin, others ingested—can help hydrate skin even in the harshest temps.
New Year. New Food. Healthy eating starts here, with the Cooking Light Diet.
1) Whole Milk
Zeichner says whole milk can actually help with dry, irritated skin. Thanks to the ample fat and protein found in whole milk, applying it directly onto the problem area (and then rinsing) can help retain moisture when you’re out and about during the day.
2) Egg Whites
Another protein-filled vehicle to restore moisture and aid with skin’s elasticity, egg whites are a solution for the most exposed layers of your skin. Egg whites are a foodie’s at-home beauty salve, which is why we featured an egg-white face mask as a top beauty product of 2017. Zeichner says to be sure to rinse well with this one—you don’t want to further clog pores or increase your risk of salmonella.
Why are we not surprised? Zeichner is a big fan of avocados for rejuvenating skin health thanks to high vitamin E levels as well as its emollient properties to soften chafed skin. If you’re particularly itchy and dry, apply a layer of mashed or pureéd avocado to the area as a mask before rinsing.
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4) Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has an impressive amount of saturated fats and fatty acids, and is routinely found in skin products throughout the beauty aisle. This oil moisturizes and reconditions any dry skin you might have, Zeichner says.
5) Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
The good news? Olive oil is another agent with powerful emollient abilities to restore flaky winter skin, and you most likely already have some in your cupboard. There are luxe fats in olive oil that would work well as a moisturizing ingredient alongside an avocado mask, or even added to your existing go-to lotions, according to beauty experts.
If you have particularly sensitive skin year-round, one of the best options you can seek out is this gut-healthy option, which Zeichner says you can both eat and use topically. As a moisturizer, the probiotic makeup of yogurt helps to shed dead skin cells and hydrate new ones. Just make sure you’re reaching for plain, whole-milk yogurt instead of the sugary flavored stuff.
Salmon, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids, should be part of your diet if you’re looking for healthier, more hydrated skin. Zeichner says a robust diet similar to that of the Mediterranean Diet, which relies heavily on fish like salmon, helps your body keep up healthy skin production.
8) Leafy Greens
Another staple of the Mediterranean diet is dark, leafy greens such as kale, swiss chard, and arugula—big sources of skin-friendly essential nutrients that help your body self-regulate. Kale, for example, is a potent source of copper, which helps your body produce melanin, an essential agent in skin production that protects you from weather effects. Zeichner is a fan of including many of these greens into your diet for healthier skin, especially in the winter.
In addition to applying olive oil to dry skin, eating olives could be beneficial, too. The antioxidants in olives, as well as Vitamin E, help your skin stop free radicals, which can hurt your skin internally during production.
Almonds are another great source of Vitamin E. While some apply almond oil to their skin, Zeichner says these rich nuts are best ingested, and can be a valuable choice of snack during the winter when your skin is shedding.