Nourish and Hydrate Your Skin from Within
Dry, dull skin is skin that needs some extra care. You can slather on skin care products, and that will help, but the best way to keep your skin nourished and hydrated is by changing your consumption habits. What do you do that has a negative impact on your skin? Excessive drinking can rob your skin of hydration, and smoking is known to accelerate skin aging, so ditching these unhealthy habits is a good first step. If you want to really be proactive about improving the health of your skin, though, there are some lifestyle changes that can have a major impact.
Let’s talk about why skin begins to look dry, irritated, red, scaly, or just tired. Typically, it has to do with your moisture barrier. The moisture barrier is the outermost layer of skin, made of cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides. This is the layer that is responsible for protecting your skin, locking in moisture, natural oils, and nutrients to keep it hydrated and healthy. When the moisture barrier is damage, you will begin to notice issues with your skin, but you can repair this damage fairly quickly.
Start by getting enough sleep. The term “beauty sleep” is pretty accurate, because getting 8 to 9 hours each night can work wonders for your skin. Use gentle cleanser on your skin and limit your showers to five or 10 minutes in lukewarm water. Consider a hydrating sleep mask, and use skincare products that contain ceramides, hyaluronic acid, lipids and fatty acids. Trying to reduce your stress levels, protecting your skin from sun, wind, and cold, quitting smoking, and limiting your coffee and alcohol consumption are also all good steps toward healthier skin. The most important thing you can do to nourish and hydrate your skin, though, is fill your diet with nutrient-dense, skin-nourishing foods. Here are some of the top nutrients you should focus on working into your diet.
- Healthy fats: Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, like the ones found in avocados, oily fish, nuts, and seeds, can moisturize your skin from the inside and improve its elasticity. Especially important are omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory, can help improve cholesterol, and preserve the skin’s collagen. The best source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish, including herring, mackerel, salmon, tuna, and sardines, but if you don’t eat fish, you can get them from flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, edamame, and canola or soybean oils.
- Lycopene: This nutrient is easy to access because it is readily available in tomatoes, which you can work into salads, sandwiches, side dishes, and sauces. Lycopene is an antioxidant, and consuming it helps keep your skin smooth.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C has antioxidant properties and helps fight the signs of aging by supporting the immune system and boosting the production of collagen in the skin. It can be found in many different fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruit, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, blueberries, sweet potatoes, and kiwi.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is also an antioxidant and can help prevent cell damage. To add vitamin E to your diet, work in almonds, avocados, and sunflower seeds.
- Polyphenols: Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants, but the name is unfamiliar to many people. There are many good sources of polyphenols, including tea and coffee, grapes, and chocolate.
- Zinc: Zinc supports the normal function of oil=producing glands, as well as promoting healing to help repair skin damage. Foods rich in zinc include fish, lean red meat, whole grains, poultry, nuts, seeds, and shellfish.
- Selenium: This powerful antioxidant works in conjunction with vitamins E and C to help protect your skin from sun damage, age spots, and even skin cancer. Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium, and so are fish, shellfish, eggs, wheat germ, tomatoes, and broccoli.
- Phyto-estrogens: Similar in structure to the female sex hormone estrogen, phyto-estrogens are natural compounds fond in plants. They help to keep our hormones in balance, and this can help support skin structure and minimize damage. You can find phyto-estrogens in soy products like tofu and tempeh, as well as in the fiber of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and flaxseeds.
- Water: Hydrating your skin means hydrating your body, and adequate moisture helps skin stay flexible. Even a little bit of dehydration can cause the skin to look dry, tired, and dull. Any fluids can help with rehydration, but water is best; experts recommend six to eight glasses of water each day.
Making lifestyle changes can help your skin, and so can regular visits to a dermatologist. When you need expert advice and help caring for your skin, contact Arlington Dermatology. For over 40 years, our Board-Certified dermatologists have been serving patients, making the health and welfare of our patients our top priority. We offer innovative methods of treatment, using state of the art medical equipment, in our conveniently located, patient-friendly facility in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. Schedule an appointment through our website or call 847-392-5440.