Ruth Yanor-McRae, MH
Have the winds of winter stripped the moisture, tone and color from your skin? Dry, scaly and/or itchy skin seems to be synonymous with winter. Low humidity can be a major culprit, but it is possible that low levels of vitamins A, C and B complex are to blame.
Have the winds of winter stripped the moisture, tone and color from your skin? Dry, scaly and/or itchy skin seems to be synonymous with winter. Low humidity can be a major culprit, but it is possible that low levels of vitamins A, C and B complex are to blame. Before reaching for more hand or face cream, consider what nutrients might help your skin’s woes.
Vitamin A is essential for skin repair and growth. A deficiency of this oil vitamin leaves skin dry and scaling. Dandruff is often an indicator of low vitamin A levels. Dry patches of skin that turn dark and scaly are an indication of a crisis situation. Clear these up with short-term doses (two or three days) of up to 150,000 IU daily under a health practitioner’s care. A dose this high must be built up to gradually. Vitamin A in excess will generate headaches long before any other symptoms, so lower your dosage if you begin experiencing dull, heavy-feeling headaches. Once resolved, a lower dose should maintain the skin’s health.
Vitamin C helps collagen functioning–and collagen helps the skin retain its elasticity and wrinkle resistance. Knowing how much vitamin C to take can be a challenge. Start with one gram twice a day, increasing by a gram each day–up to 10 g daily, until your skin is healthier. Your body will let you know when you are taking more vitamin C than it can use by generating some unpleasant reactions–gas or loose stools. If you encounter either, promptly reduce the vitamin C intake. Your body isn’t using it all, anyway. A much lesser amount of vitamin C can be taken for maintenance–try 500 to 1,000 milligrams.
The B-complex vitamins will help you maintain an even skin color and pigmentation, as well as assist in synthesizing fats and oils for healthy skin growth and function. If you suffer from sore or dry lips, or lips that crack at the corners, then you are probably low on your B complex vitamins, especially B2, B6, folic acid and pantothenic acid. Whenever taking a specific B vitamin, remember to take it in a B complex. Every B vitamin requires the other B vitamins for proper synthesis.
You might even be lacking essential fatty acids. Have you ever wondered why avocados and almonds are used so frequently in natural cosmetics? Both are rich in essential fatty acids, which are essential for healthy skin. Avocados can be eaten as well as mashed and used as a mask for rejuvenating the skin. Leave on about 20 minutes. (Play monster with a small child while you’re at it!) Choose a natural cream with either of these oils for a great boost.
Have a skim milk bath for an extremely moisturizing lift. Don’t use fresh milk–or you’ll need to rinse off. Skim milk powder works great! Add drops of lavender, rose or your favorite essential oil to soothe your skin even more.
Lotions, masks, creams and sprays containing vitamins A and C, and oils of almond, avocado, apricot, grape seed, hemp seed and/or olive (all cold pressed, of course) will also work wonders in rebalancing the skin. Another ingredient in the recipe for healthy skin is Na-PCA. Na-PCA, a natural moisturizer our skin produces, can lessen for a variety of reasons, so add some to your healthy skin recipes.
Finally, keep your house well humidified. Changes in humidity–from raw, wet weather to dry, forced-air heated homes can stress the skin. Keep the humidifier going and maybe even add some drops of your favorite essential oil. Some oils that focus on the skin and anti-aging are lavender, sandalwood, rose and geranium. Ask at your local health store about others. Look for creams and lotions containing these essential oils for an added bonus for your skin. Keep your skin nourished inside and out!