Long title, but will keep this post shorter than some of my last ones, I promise!
Do you live somewhere that gets drier in the winter? I think most places in the US and Canada experience this, even if they are considered ‘humid,’ they still see a drop in air moisture content in the winter months.
If you’ve noticed that your skin is dry, cracked, less than lustrous, or just needs a boost this winter, I’ve got a few tips for you that I’ve been tinkering with that you might want to try.
And these aren’t just for the ladies! Guys, even though anti-aging for men usually focuses on things like testosterone optimization and strength training, your skin is part of the whole package, so take care of it, too!
We’ll divide this into two sections to make it easier to start with:
The skin on your face is part of your business card to the world, if you think about it. Its one of the first things people notice about you. It tells a story through laugh lines, scars, and other marks that life leaves.
In order to ‘put your best face forward,’ let’s start with moisture.
If you’ve got dry skin, or combination skin (some dry spots and others that aren’t dry), putting cosmetics over the top of dry skin often looks bad, right? It gets flaky, wrinkles somehow become magnified and look like the Grand Canyon, and then makeup just doesn’t seem to sit as well.
Even if you’re not putting makeup on, dry skin is really obvious up close.
Part of the moisture our skin gets come from the atmosphere, so, naturally, when the climate is drier, our skin has less moisture to absorb from the environment.
We can, however, control how much internal moisture we have by doing a couple of things:
- Drink adequate water. Its probably more than you think (a minimum of 100 oz a day…that’s 6.25 standard size water bottles every day if you need a visual)
- Eat enough fat and protein. These are the building blocks of cells and cell membranes, as well as connective tissue, which keeps your skin looking young and supple. A variety of fat/protein sources from both animals and plants should suffice.
- Get your omega-3s. Fatty fish like salmon and nuts like walnuts have higher omega-3 content, and you should try to get a serving every day. You can also supplement this nutrient (I personally love SFH Omega-3).
- Bone broth. This on is anecdotal, but when I drink bone broth regularly, the additional collagen and nutrients enhance my skin’s glow, and keep it soft and younger looking.
There are also a number of foods that are functional for keeping skin cells and their connective tissue layers underneath looking young and beautiful.
Foods that are high in polyphenols and antioxidants will mop up free radicals (byproducts of cell metabolism and toxins we accumulate through regular exposure to our environment).
These super-charged chemicals also help us keep our immune system balanced to fight colds, stay healthy, and repair damaged cells, which can reduce our risk for skin cancer, as well as other types of cancer.
High polyphenol and antioxidant foods include:
- Berries (these are my daily go-to!)
- Herbs (I probably consume pounds of cilantro alone, on street tacos)
- Spices (turmeric and black pepper are a knock-out combo!)
- Coffee (Don’t add anything, its perfect by itself!)
- Red wine (In addition to resveratrol, red wine has many other anti-aging polyphenols)
- Dark leafy greens (The darker, the better)
- Seeds (flax, pumpkin, and chia are excellent options to start with)
- Chocolate (but only the dark kind, and not the stuff you buy at convenience stores
Including these foods into our regular diet can not only boost our healthy skin cell turnover, but they are also super foods for our gut bacteria, which also help us fight illness, prevent chronic disease, and keep our digestive system in balance.
Now, what about external ways to add moisture?
In this video, I’ll walk you through the things I’ve been doing this winter to keep my skin smooth, soft, and prevent it from drying out.
If you remember reading my post earlier this year about acne, these things I’ve been doing lately have also immensely helped reduce the scarring that was left over from the acne I was able to resolve.
Step 1: Exfoliate with a facial exfoliating brush to remove dry, dead skin cells and dirt. This lays the groundwork for putting some super moisture on.
Step 2: Moisturize with a good quality oil, then a good quality cream.
I don’t recommend exfoliating every day, but doing that step every 2-3 days is probably just fine for most skin types.
The skin on your body is a bit thicker than your facial skin, and you can exfoliate it daily, even multiple times a day, versus your facial skin, which tends to get irritated if you exfoliate daily.
To keep your body skin soft, smooth, and young-looking, you can try dry brushing. This is a technique that’s been around for hundreds of years, but has recently gained popularity again.
Dry brushing uses a bristle brush to remove dead skin cells and dirt from the top layers of your skin, allowing younger, healthier skin cells to move to the surface. Over the course of a week or two, you will notice that your skin actually does start to look younger. Mine actually got shiny after a couple weeks of doing this daily!
Body skin needs moisture, too, just like your face. And, the same principles apply to the body as the face. All of the aforementioned things such as drinking enough water, eating high omega-3 foods, and eating plenty of darkly colored plants help your body skin remain young and healthy.
We can also apply external moisture here, just like on our face, and hopefully you do.
Your options for external moisture are primarily either oils or lotions.
I’ve tried both and I think they both have their place.
If I’m just applying something daily, I’ll go with a good, organic ingredient lotion like Shea Moisture’s Coconut and Hibiscus lotion.
I also will use coconut oil about once or twice a week on my legs and arms, which tend to get the driest.
So follow the same two steps for your body, by:
Step 1: Exfoliate daily.
Step 2: Apply oil at least a couple times a week, but a good quality heavy cream moisturizer lotion.
I feel like these things may not seem that revolutionary, but I’m always surprised how many people forget about the exfoliation step.
For the longest time, I always thought if you have dry skin, why would you want to exfoliate???
Well, it removes the upper dry, dead layers for you, allowing your new, softer layers beneath to come to the surface, and, over the course of a week or two, your skin will really glow.
Let me know your thoughts on your favorite moisturizing lotions and oils in the comments!