Written by: Cally Worden
As winter bites the dry air sucks moisture from your skin, leaving you feeling all parched and papery. Not nice. A wide range of skincare products cater for this annual dehydration fest, but if you are looking for a more natural solution try out the following remedies that promise to support your skin at a cellular level, promoting smoothness and restoring elasticity.
The sun may not be all that visible during winter, but it’s UV rays continue to bombard your skin, while delivering reduced levels of vitamin D. Coupled with a continued battering from free radicals in the air it’s no wonder your skin feels a little jaded. This continued onslaught can damage your skin DNA, leading to early age spots and the creation of wrinkles.
Antioxidants are nature’s answer to free radicals, and can be found in many fresh foods – fruits, vegetables and that delightful elixir known as Green Tea are all great sources. A few key vitamins also have strong antioxidant properties, and while supplements can help, applying them directly to your skin in the form of cream can deliver huge benefits too.
- Vitamin A – can help to smooth wrinkles and general roughness, and reduce the appearance of brown age spots
- Vitamin E – encourages the skin to retain its natural moisture, and when combined with dietary vitamin C it can help to limit skin damage from exposure to UV rays
- Vitamin C – helps to protect your skin from UV rays, and does battle with free radicals that seek to make wrinkles and cause saggy skin
- Green Tea – worthy of special note – this natural beverage is rich in antioxidants, in particular the polyphenol EGCG, which simultaneously neutralises free radicals and rejuvenates dry skin
Vitamins and antioxidants are great for your skin, but your fragile covering also demands a boost of mineral magic to help it remain in great shape.
- Zinc – assists the skin in its ongoing natural process of renewal. It can be found in beef, crab, pumpkin seeds, oysters and chick peas
- Selenium – a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals and helps it to maintain elasticity. A handful of Brazil nuts each day will deliver your recommended daily dose, or try salmon, eggs or garlic as suitable alternative.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
It always makes me smile to think of anything fatty being essential, but EFAs are healthy fats that the body simply cannot produce all by itself. They are important to skin cell function, as they keep the cell membranes strong, thus assisting in moisture retention.
EFAs are found in – Omega 3 fats, of which oily fish are the perfect source, and Gamma-Linolenic Acid, the most well known form of which is Evening Primrose Oil.
Helpful Herbs and Oils
Whether imbibed in the form of tea, taken as a supplement, or applied as a cream, there are certain herbs and oils that act as rejuvenation stimulants to the skin. These include:
- Lavender – a gentle herb with a calming aroma that can soothe and relieve dry and scaly skin
- Aloe Vera – a delicate dab onto dry skin can help to promote healing and cell regeneration in dry skin. It is also rich in vitamins A, B, C and E
- Chamomile – its anti-inflammatory properties help to enhance the elasticity and general texture of skin when applied locally as a cream