Keep Your Skin Feeling Good This Winter

Posted Tuesday, Dec 8, 2015

By the time we’re this deep into winter, the little humidity Calgary had in the air seems to have completely disappeared. You're itchy all the time, your face feels like a prune, and your hands feel like they’re wearing skin that’s one size too small. Dry skin is a real pain this time of the year, so I sat down with our Health & Beauty purchaser, Jacqueline Stutz, and got some tips on how to fight dryness. 

First things first, take a look at what you’re eating. Sunnyside Natural Market, is all about solving your problems with good food first. What you put into your body can make a big difference on how your skin feels. For example, how much processed sugar are you eating? Processed sugar is a skin irritant that can lead to blemishes and acne - simply limiting how much you're getting in your diet could make a big difference. Another simple solution is making sure you're getting enough water every day. Staying hydrated is often overlooked because of the colder weather and the fact that most of us are less active during the winter.

Skin Food
A few foods that help keep skin healthy

Jacqueline suggested the following three key nutrients to provide your skin what it needs:

Omega-3

Many people lack the necessary levels of omega-3 in their diet. Jacqueline points out that our body has a ratio we need to maintain between omega-3 and omega-6. Most of the time, we’re getting way to much omega-6, which can lead to inflamed and irritated skin. Balancing out this ratio can make a huge difference for your skin.  One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids is fish: salmon, sardines, and anchovies are a great place to start. You can also use a fish oil supplement to help boost the amount of omega-3 in your diet.

Biotin

Another important addition to your diet is biotin, also known as vitamin B7. Biotin is an important member of the B-complex family, and necessary for cell growth. With increased biotin in your diet, all your cells will benefit, and epithelial cells (your skin!) will certainly enjoy the boost. Dark leafy greens, almonds, whole grains, and egg yolks are a few biotin rich foods. As an added benefit, biotin will also benefit your hair.

Sulphur

One of the more surprising suggestions for good skin is sulphur. Sulphur is necessary for collagen construction, which gives skin its structure and strength. You can add more sulphur to your diet by consuming broccoli, brassica greens, and vegetables form the ailium family such as onions, garlic, or leeks. Eggs also contain high amounts of sulphur.

Of course taking care of your skin from the outside is important as well. Getting sulphur through food is great, but the most enjoyable procurement is with a soak in the hot springs!

HABA Products
Some products to help your skin feel its best

Lotions, Oils, Creams & Balms

Ultimately, what your skin wants is fat and water. If you have really dry skin, you should be getting a cream that hydrates your skin, followed by an oil that will lock in the moisture - otherwise it will just evaporate off your skin. If you have the opposite problem and your skin's too oily, it could be one of two things. First, your skin could be trying to overcompensate dryness by producing too much oil to lock in moisture. Or, your diet is already oily enough and you don’t need the extra oil to lock in moisture, just the moisturizer itself.

It’s really a matter of taking the time to find out what works for you. If you’re not sure what your skin needs, you can try a very hydrating face cream such as True Essence Borage & Comfrey Serum and see how it feels. If it doesn’t work out, you probably also need an oil to hold the moisturizer in. Sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil are great options. While coconut oil can help on your body, Jacqueline cautions against using it on your face – it may clog pores too much. Sunnyside Natural Market also carries two products that contain a mix of moisturizer and oil already: Living Libations Seabuckthorn Best Skin Ever, and True Essence Facial Nourish.

 For your hands and body, there are several options. Herbalist extraordinaire, Blaine Andrusek, makes a plantain and chickweed cream from scratch! It’s anti-inflammatory, as well as moisturizing, so it’s a great option for people who work with their hands a lot. Blaine also makes a basic all-purpose lotion called Fresh Skin - which is the cream of choice at the Banff Hot Springs. It works great after a soak, when the skin will readily absorb it. Weleda Skin Food is also a popular choice. It's a super thick cream that is heavily moisturizing. A staff favourite is River City Herbals Calendula. Many Sunnysiders love it, and use it as everything from lip balm to hand salve. It’s a gentle, but very potent salve made out of beeswax.

Should you have any questions on what we have available in the store, don’t hesitate to ask one of our friendly staff next time you’re in.

Matt Gigg Posted Dec 8, 2015