Summer’s warm, humid air makes our skin moist and our hair frizzy. But winter’s cool weather has the opposite effect on our body: dry, cracked skin and rough, chapped lips.

Cooler weather can exacerbate already-dry skin. I used to think it was inevitable that cold winter air meant scaly shins and rough skin for me. But as I made subtle changes to my diet, I noticed that my once-parched winter skin was no longer as dry and itchy as it used to be! Here are some diet tips to help you keep your skin soft and supple as the cold weather approaches:

1. Experiment with the amount of the fat and oil in your diet.

While it may seem that more oil and fat = softer skin, sometimes excessive fat in our diets can cause the accumulation of layers of fat under the surface of the skin. That can prevent the skin from absorbing moisture and from releasing toxins.

Now, this definitely doesn’t mean that we should cut out all of the healthy fats and oils in our diet. On the contrary — healthy oils and fats can help keep skin soft and supple. But it does mean we should watch just how much we consume of “extreme” foods like meat, eggs, poultry, dairy foods, and sugary sweets.

Everybody is different: if you think you might be eating too much of any of those foods and you experience dry skin, try reducing your intake and see what impact it has for you. You’ll need to experiment to find the amount that works best for you.

2. Add some moisture to your diet by upping the amount of whole grains, vegetables, beans, and healthy fats you consume.

Remember: dark, leafy greens can work wonders for your skin and overall health! Up your greens for two weeks and take notice of the positive changes to your energy levels, focus and skin health.

3. Improve the quality of oil sources in your diet.

Switch from refined and hydrogenated oils to cold-pressed, unrefined oils. Try to use oils that are rich in both linoleic and alpha-linoleic fatty acids, such as flax seed, pumpkin seed, and chia seed oil. And try adding some fresh nuts and seeds, avocados and oily fish to your daily diet. 

I hope that these minor dietary changes make a difference in the dryness of your skin this winter.  Stay tuned for a future post about natural ways to topically treat your dry skin!