What is your skin like in the winter? Does it get be itchy and flaky, like eczema? Do your hands look shriveled up, as if you’ve aged significantly over night?
When dry skin becomes severe in the cold winter weather, you’ll often find that drinking more water doesn’t help. Even rich, heavy hand creams don’t do the trick. Water and hand creams are wonderful, but what you really need is some skin nourishing fat in your diet.
Essential Fatty Acids
Just as proteins are made up of amino acids, fats are made up of fatty acids. Your body is able to use these fatty acid building blocks to make different types fats as needed by your body (e.g. your skin). There are some fatty acids your body can’t synthesize and you need to consume in your diet, which makes them “essential”. You’ve probably heard of the Essential Fatty Acids omega-3 and omega-6. They are important for brain function, vision, and heart health. There are a few different types of omega-3 and omega-6, and they have many health benefits.
Black Currant Oil to the Rescue
One type of omega-6 is particularly good for the hair, skin, and nails, and is gamma linolenic acid (GLA). GLA comes from plant based oils. However, these are not plants that we normally eat. It is best to take GLA as a supplement. I recommend black currant oil because I have more experience with it, but borage and evening primrose oil are also popular. In as little as a week, your skin can plump back up again and regain a supple, nourished appearance. Black currant oil moisturizes dry, flaky skin from the inside out. I carry the Standard Process brand Black Currant Oil in the clinic.
Warning: Do not take these oils if you are on blood thinners. Ask your doctor or pharmacist before combining any supplement with your existing medication.
For immediate relief, I would recommend the Weleda brand Skin Food cream, which is also available at health food stores and online.