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Foods to eat for healthy skin

The questions I have gotten the most lately... "do you have anything for dry skin?  My skin is so dry, what can I do?"

Yes, creams and lotions help.  Not most that you get at the store that are mostly water, though.  Yes, they'll make your skin feel better for an hour or so, but once all the water has absorbed or evaporated and your skin is left vulnerable and soon to be dry and rough again.

Good hand creams should contain high quality oils and butters.
The best creams for dry hands during the dry winter contain only high quality oils and butters- no water, no chemicals, no irritating scents or preservatives.  I happen to make and sell one in my Etsy shop, but they aren't hard to find if you look around and read labels.

However, I'm not here to sell you hand cream (no really, I'm not).

The thing I want to tell everyone who is struggling with dry skin this winter is this- you can't solve dry skin with any cream or lotion!  Unless you're a nurse or teacher whose dry hands are caused solely because you have to wash your hands twenty thousand times a day (in which case, applying a really good hand cream every time you wash would go a long way), your dry skin is likely linked to your diet.

Here are a few dietary tips to help improve the condition of your skin:
  • Drink water!  I know, it's so obvious, but I have to say it.
  • Eat lots of healthy fat, especially those high in Omega 3's, but a variety is good.
  • ...and lots of protein.  So high quality fish, nice marbled beef, chicken with the skin.  Aw yeah.
  • Glutamine.  No, you don't need to take glutamine (well, you might, but that's another blog post, and the supplements aren't bad and are fairly cheap).  Just drink some bone stock every day.
  • Add fresh vegetables, especially cucumbers, celery, and green and red vegetables.
  • Whole grains, especially rice and oats, are high in silica, which helps both the skin and the hair.
  • Eat nuts and seeds each day, especially pumkin seeds (for the zinc).
  • Drink herbal tea made with alfalfa, which is high in both silica and zinc.  Alfalfa tea can taste kind of... um, green.  Blend with other herbs if you like to improve taste.
  • Avoid sugars, as they dehydrate the skin, and highly processed foods, which are high in sodium.
Oh wait... that looks a lot like a standard whole food diet.  So don't worry about eating specific things just for your skin (except maybe a little more water and a few more sticks of celery a day).  Worry about eating a balanced, whole food diet and healthy skin will follow!  If you already eat a whole foods diet try increasing the amount of fat you eat, the amount of glutamine (or add a supplement), the amount of silica, and the amount of zinc.  And water!

This post has been shared at GNOWFGLINS Simple Lives Thursday and Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday.


Nancy said...

Thanks for the article. I have severe dry skin but I also have a genetic skin condition (am missing a layer of skin) which causes it. I have been increasing my meat intake and cutting out carbs but it's too early to tell except I have more energy from the meat. I am trying to exercise harder so I perspire as that helps me out a lot. I pinned this article. Thanks!!

jenny said...

Exactly! I find I need to be careful about eating plenty of eggs and drinking raw whole milk daily. Anytime my skin starts to dry out, I take a moment to think of what I have or haven't been eating lately. Same thing goes for healthy hair!! Now wonder there are so many lotions in the store with low fat diets being preached everywhere!

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