Winter is not a friend to the skin. The annual drop in humidity can cause your body’s outer surface to become dry, itchy, and irritated. This can lead to even more serious skin issues. But it’s not only the cold, dry outside air that’s to blame. Sitting in front of a blazing fireplace, taking hot showers, or constant exposure to warm, dry air from a furnace can also trigger or worsen winter skin problems. In addition, washing hands frequently in winter to decrease the chance of catching a cold or flu dries out the skin.
The most effective approach is to nourish the skin from the inside out. Here are five supplements for dry skin and other winter skincare tips to keep your outer shell smooth, soft, and comfortable throughout the coldest months of the year.
Collagen Builds Better Skin
This protein is the building block of your skin. Its levels drop with age. With age, your skin barrier, which keeps moisture inside your skin, also weakens. Supplementing with collagen for skin can support a strong epidermal barrier. This locks in moisture and keeps skin hydrated even on cold, dry days.(1) Collagen supplements may also increase the production of hyaluronic acid (HA), which hydrates the skin.(2)
Vitamin C and E For Skin in the Winter
Two of the best supplements for dry skin are vitamin C and vitamin E. Vitamin C helps the body produce collagen.(3) In animal studies it has reduced skin dryness.(4) A double-blind, randomized, controlled 14-week clinical study of postmenopausal women investigated the effects of a drink supplemented with vitamin C, soy isoflavones, lycopene, and vitamin E plus a fish oil capsule on facial skin wrinkles.(5) The scientists decided to deliver the nutrients orally rather than topically because many age-related changes in skin occur deep in the dermis and “are often difficult to influence with topical products.”(5) The combination of nutrients significantly reduced the depth of facial wrinkles and increased deposition of new collagen.
Vitamins C and E protect against ultraviolet light from the sun,(6) which, even on cold winter days, can affect the face if it’s not entirely covered.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Fish Oil for Winter Skin Health
As mentioned above, fish oil can keep the skin healthy when combined with other nutrients like vitamins C and E. Omega-3s support a healthy inflammatory response in the skin.(7) Research has also shown fish oil supplementation reduces dry and itching skin.(8)
Flaxseed oil, a vegetarian source of omega-3s, can be beneficial for skin in the winter. Research has shown that in healthy people with sensitive skin, supplementation with flaxseed oil for 12 weeks improved skin smoothness and hydration.(9)
Biotin’s Skin-Soothing Effects
Biotin deficiency increases the risk of rough, itching skin.(10) Digestive problems, a diet that includes too many uncooked or undercooked egg whites, magnesium deficiency, smoking, diabetes, and the use of broad-spectrum and sulfonamides antibiotics, can all lower biotin levels.(11) This can make your skin more vulnerable to the effects of cold, dry air.
Probiotics for Skin
Research is unveiling the many ways probiotics can support health beyond the intestinal tract. One of the roles probiotics play in overall health is the ability to promote healthy skin. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled research found that Lactobacillus supplementation in 110 people who had dry skin and wrinkles led to significant improvements in skin hydration, elasticity, and gloss and a dramatic decline in wrinkle depth.(12)
In another study that investigated the effects of Lactobacillus in cell culture, mice, and humans found that this probiotic was a good option for the skin. It increased HA content of skin cells and strengthened skin barrier function and improved hydration in the rodents and humans.(13)
Probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus may also protect against long-term sun damage to the skin.(14) This makes them a good option for skiers and snowboarders, whose faces are often exposed to UV radiation in the winter.
The Best Supplements for Dry Skin
Vital Nutrients offers a powerful form of collagen known as Marine Collagen. It’s sustainably sourced from wild, deep-sea fish. Fish collagen is different from bovine or porcine sourced-collagen. It’s absorbed into the body faster. Vital Nutrients also is a good source for a variety of omega-3 supplements including fish oil and flax oil as well as a biotin supplement that provides a nourishing 10,000 mcg. Lactobacillus acidophilus is found in Ultra Pure® Probiotic 18. To obtain enough vitamin C and E along with extra biotin, we recommend taking a good multivitamin.
More Winter Skin Care Tips
Supplementing with skincare nutrients can be even more effective in combination with other steps to protect your skin. Here are other ways to have healthy skin in the winter:
- Drink plenty of water to hydrate the skin.
- Take lukewarm showers. Towel off lightly. Immediately after stepping out of the shower, slather coconut oil on the skin to lock in moisture. Rub a lotion over the oil to stop the oil from being too greasy.
- The American Academy of Dermatology recommends avoiding personal care products that contain alcohol. Alcohol dries out the skin.
- Moisturize your hands after washing them. Use a hand cream that’s free of toxins like parabens and phthalates. Or rub on coconut oil and then lotion or hand cream.
- Especially in the winter, creams, ointments, and coconut oil are more effective than lotions.
- Buy a humidifier. This will increase the moisture content of your home or office.
- Set the heater thermostat between 68 and 72 degrees.