Get that Winter Glow! A Natural Approach to Winter Skin Care
Winter may bring rosy cheeks, but it can also be harsh on the skin. When the temperature starts to drop, humidity levels decrease, leaving our skin feeling parched. If you know your skin tends to dry out in the winter, these simple tips will help you keep your skin hydrated and healthy throughout the frosty months ahead.
Handle with Care
What your skin is directly exposed to affects its health – for better or for worse! The top layer of our skin’s structure is known as the epidermis, which acts as the main protective barrier. This layer is comprised of stacked layers of cells that act like roof shingles and is where drying occurs.  Choosing natural skin care products can help to maintain this barrier and lock valuable moisture in the skin.
Add Oils for a Winter Glow!
Applying emollients (liquid or cream that softens and soothes dry skin) can help maintain your skin’s natural hydration levels, by preventing excessive moisture loss and providing a softening and soothing effect. Ultra-versatile coconut oil, for example, has become a popular natural alternative among beauty experts and makes an excellent multi-purpose emollient.
Another option is grape seed oil, which is an effective and lightweight moisturizer. It contains vitamins, minerals, protein, GLA (an omega-6 fatty acid found in plant-based oils), and vitamin E — all nutrients that help your skin look and feel flawless. Look for cold-pressed, hexane-free grape seed oil. 
A hot shower may feel great for combatting the cold, but it doesn’t do your skin any favours. Hot water can dry out the natural oils in your skin, and the longer you stay in the shower, the more these oils deplete. Try showering in lukewarm water instead – and applying natural oils after toweling off a bit to help seal moisture in.
Dry skin can be vulnerable to cracking, abrasions and infections. Using personal care products containing tea tree oil may help to prevent bacterial infections.  You can DIY it by adding a few drops of tea tree oil to your hand soap, or moisturizer to replenish and protect skin after all that hand washing.
For a special treat, try this moisturizing, nourishing, antioxidant-rich facial mask!
Create a Skin-Friendly Home Environment
The weather outside may be frightful but we can influence the “climate” of our home. We spend a lot of time indoors, especially in our homes (this winter, more than ever). Home heating sources, air quality and the cleaning products we use all affect our skin.
Heating systems can be drying to the skin – not to mention the nasal passages. Positioning humidifiers around the home can amp up the humidity, as can diffusers, or setting a pot of simmering water on a stove top. Be sure to clean humidifiers and diffusers frequently as per manufacturers instructions.
Avoid Irritants: harsh surface cleaners, dish soap and laundry detergent can strip the skin’s natural barrier oils and trigger already sensitive skin. Taking a green approach towards housecleaning can help cut back on potential irritants, as choosing gentler, natural products cut exposure to fragrances or harsh solvents.
Learn more about how to make home hibernation healthy this winter.
Get Your Glow from Within
It’s worth remembering that beauty truly radiates from the inside out. Nothing will get your skin looking healthy and glowing better than a nutritious diet.
Ensure you eat a variety of fresh, whole nutrient-rich foods to support your skin’s health and appearance every day. Some key foods to include are healthy proteins, an abundance of good fats and antioxidant-rich food (brightly coloured fruits and veggies). [4, 5]
Antioxidants like vitamin A, are extremely beneficial to maintaining skin health and are found in the diet both in preformed (retinol) and provitamin forms (beta-carotene). Vitamin A rich foods include some dairy products, fish, meat and organ meats like liver, while the beta-carotene (provitamin A) comes from vibrant yellow, orange, and red vegetables like carrots, peppers and sweet potatoes. 
Tip: Have healthy, skin-loving snacks on hand, like this fibre & beta carotene-rich sweet potato jerky!
Hydrate the body with plenty of water throughout the day. Canada’s Food Guide offers information and tips on how to make water your drink of choice.
Supplements for Hydrated Skin
As for supplements, collagen is a popular option with proven benefits of helping to improve skin elasticity, tone, firmness and plumpness, as well as minimize the appearance of wrinkles.  It can be found in powder form that can be easily added to your favourite drink or baked goods, and in protein bars and snacks.
Vitamin C plays a role in collagen formation in the body (an important protein in connective tissues), and zinc contributes to the support and maintenance of the skin. [8, 9] Both micronutrients also support immune function, can often be found combined in supplements and are valuable additions to a winter supplement program.
Visit your CHFA Member health food store for the best selection of home, personal care products and nourishing foods to help your skin happily face the winter months ahead!
1. Harvard Health Publishing (2011). What to do about dry skin in winter. Harvard Medical School. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/what-to-do-about-dry-skin-in-winter
2. Cross, Karen. The health and beauty benefits of grapeseed oil. Reviewed 2017. Medical news today. Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318395
3. Carson, C F. et. al. (2006). Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clin Microbiol Rev . 2006 Jan;19(1):50-62. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16418522/
4. Nagata, Chisato (2010). Association of dietary fat, vegetables and antioxidant micronutrients with skin ageing in Japanese women.” Br J Nutr. 2010 May;103(10):1493-8. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20085665/
5. Cosgrove, Maeve C. (2007), Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 86, Issue 4, October 2007, Pages 1225–1231 Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/86/4/1225/4649573
6. Vitamin A Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Retrieved from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
7. Inoue, et al. (2016). Ingestion of bioactive collagen hydrolysates enhance facial skin moisture and elasticity and reduce facial ageing signs in a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study. J Sci Food Agric. 2016 Sep;96(12):4077-81. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26840887/
8. Schwartz, James R. et. al. (2005) Zinc and skin health: overview of physiology and pharmacology. Dermatol Surg. 2005 Jul;31(7 Pt 2):837-47; discussion 847. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16029676/
9. Pullar, Juliet M. (2017). The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients 2017, 9(8), 866. Retrieved from: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/8/866