Keep your skin in tip top form this winter!
It's cold, so it's likely you're sitting inside with either a heater on or you're clutching the ubiquitous hot water bottle to keep warm. Your heating environment can cause low humidity and dry air that draws moisture from the skin. Even in climes like Cape Town with winter rain you still need to be vigilant as to how you heat your environment.
During winter you may spend more time in a hotter than usual shower or bath. Too hot and too long exposure to water can wash off your body's natural oils, drying out your skin. Harsh and fragranced soaps are also detrimental. Choose natural ingredients and products with essential oils and vitamins. If you can't forgo a long soak, create a hydrating rose and coconut bath with two tablespoons of coconut oil, 15 drops of rose essential oil and either one cup of powdered milk or two cups full fat milk to the water.
And that's just the outside. What you put into your body can have a huge effect on the way your skin looks and feels. When the weather turns chilly, we reach for food higher in fat and sugar content to give our bodies fuel to keep us warm. We're also unlikely to drink as much water during the winter months, rather opting for hot drinks. This can contribute to your skin feeling dry and flaky. Hydration is essential for overall health and plays a major role in keeping your skin moisturised.
Remember that your skin is an organ and what you do to keep your whole body healthy and well also applies to your skin. Keeping yourself nourished and hydrated will help stave off premature wrinkles and the dryness associated with ageing from hormone changes.
Include the following food into your every-day diet to give your skin a moisture boost.
*Avocado are rich in vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, fibre and some protein. They're a great dietary addition for skin and can be eaten on their own, in a salad or blended into a smoothie or a cacao dessert. The protein helps support the structures of collagen and elastin in your skin, while the fat keeps your skin moisturised
*Sweet potatoes are filled with Vitamin Aii, which helps with skin renewal and stimulates fibroblasts, the cells responsible for developing the tissue that keeps skin healthy and firm.
*Carrots contain an abundance of Vitamin C, a precursor to collagen production. They are also rich in Vitamin A.
*Nuts and seeds (walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseed) are all brilliant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for keeping your skin glowing. Nuts also contain a lot of Vitamin E, which help strengthen the skin barrier and retain moisture.
*Eggs are high in protein as well as lutein, which improves skin elasticity.
*Green tea is filled with antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.
*Tomatoes are high in lycopene ' this is an antioxidant that helps keep skin young. Note that the lycopene content in tomatoes is higher if they are cooked, which means a warming tomato soup or stew can become an integral part of your winter menu.
*Coconut oil deposits itself under the skin so it naturally plumps out lines and acts as a moisture-loss barrier.
*Eat sunflower seeds to help keep your skin supple. They're filled with fatty acids, protein and minerals as well as vitamins C, A, and E which guard against free radicals and UV rays.
MORNING SKIN FOOD
Give your skin a moisture boost with a skin feeding hydrating breakfast.
Protein Rich Frittata
This takes a bit longer than your usual breakfast snack, but it's worth the effort ' if you're in a hurry use the same ingredients to make a stove-top omelette.
1 spinach leaf, chopped
1/4 onion, diced
3 large eggs
1 tomato, chopped
1 tsp oregano
1/4 cup crumbled feta
2 tsp olive oil
1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Fry the onions lightly in olive oil and set aside.
3. Scramble eggs in a bowl and add in oregano, tomato, onion and spinach.
4. Place in an oiled oven dish and pop into the oven for 15-20 minutes (until the mixture is solid. After 10 minutes, sprinkle feta on top.
5. If you're making this dish omelette-style, simply allow the egg and oregano mix to settle on the bottom of a pan on low heat before sprinkling the tomato, onions, spinach and feta on top. Cover with a lid and allow the mixture to solidify. Remove from heat and fold over, then replace on the heat for a few minutes with the lid back on.
Many ingredients that are good to eat for dry skin also make great face masks and moisturisers. As with food, avoid creams with chemicals - choose organic and natural ingredients and essential oil, or plant based fragrances.
*Coconut oil has been used to great effect for thousands of years and can be eaten, added to your bath, used as a moisturiser and sunscreen or as a hair conditioner. If you have the solid oil, simply scoop a little bit out and rub gently between your palms, it'll melt from your body heat ' apply to clean skin. It won't leave an oily residue once absorbed.
*Avocado is great for face masks and moisturisers. Try this for a moisture treatment: Mix a mashed avocado, steamed and mashed carrot, two tablespoons honey, a beaten egg and large tablespoon of double cream. Once smooth, spread over skin and leave to dry. Rinse off in the shower and pat your face dry.
*Honey has abundant healing properties. It's a great moisturising treatment. Mix 5 ml honey with 15 ml coconut oil and slather over your body. Leave it on for 30 minutes before washing off in a bath or shower. *Indigenous natural ingredients like buchu, baobab and aloe are noted for their healing properties - look out for them when choosing a good skincare range.
Keep yourself covered with natural materials that don't scratch or rub. Pure cotton and wool is best, and layers are great for trapping warmed pockets of air while still allowing your skin to breathe. Remember that even on cold and cloudy days, the sun's rays can still reach you ' so protect uncovered skin with natural sunscreen.