Water Doesn't Moisturize Your Skin... But These Foods Do!
I have always had oily skin, for as long as I can member. Then this winter hit while I still have oily skin, I now also have dry skin.
Yeah, apparently that can happen. And yeah, I agree it’s not fair.
For the first time in my life I have had to deal with skin that actually flakes off, constantly dry lips… and a tiny little scale on my ankle which looks like something from a nasty google search. This little scale was the inspiration for today’s post because I’m on a mission to hydrate my dry skin without breaking out my oil skin.
Water Does Not Moisturize Your Skin
One of the most common questions I get is “why is my skin so dry when I drink a ton of water?”
Okay so, I’m not a skin expert but I can tell you one thing for sure: more water does not equal more moisturized skin.
The moisture barrier of your skin actually has way more to do with fats than it does water. So no, drinking an extra litre of water every day does not keep your skin glow-y! If you want to bring more hydration into the skin, you want more fats.
Here are the top 5 healthy fats that I eat to stop my skin from flaking off in -30C. I’ve linked some products, but this post isn’t sponsored by any of the brands mentioned.
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I probably don’t need to inform you about the health benefits of olive oil. We’ve all heard that it can protect the heart, lower inflammation, and lead to a healthier body composition. But did you know that it can also do awesome things for your skin?
Olive oil contains squalene, which is an important part of human sebum (the way your skin moisturizes itself). While your body does make some squalene, production tapers off as we age and some people with chronically dry skin simply don’t make enough.
Good news though, because adding more squalene into your diet can increase the concentration of squalene in your skin and extra virgin olive oil is an awesome way to get that boost.
I started eating 2 tablespoons of high quality extra virgin olive oil per day to boost my skin hydration. While it is safe to cook with olive oil, I try to get 2 tablespoons of raw olive oil for the maximum benefits. This is the olive oil I have been using.
2. Algae Oil
I know, it sounds crazy but it’s totally a thing.
Omega-3 fatty acids are super important for keeping your skin healthy and dry skin is actually considered a potential sign that you’re not getting enough of them. If you don’t eat much fish or avoid nuts you could be getting less than your requirements for omega-3.
My little foot scale appeared a couple months after I stopped eating fish weekly. Coincidence? Maybe, but I decided to add in an omega-3 supplement just in case and noticed some improvements.
My supplement of choice was algae oil because it’s a plant-based source of DHA without the potential contaminants of fish oil. This is the exact one I use and I love it.
The benefits of omega-3 go way beyond skin health, you need them for your heart, your brain, your eyes, and all kind of other functions you’d be super bummed without.
3. Black Tahini (or Regular Tahini)
First of all, black tahini is seriously not getting the love it deserves in this world! It tastes just like regular white tahini but boasts higher antioxidant content.
While either black tahini or regular tahini will give you benefits for your skin, I like to use the black one for a boost of antioxidants too.
Tahini is jam packed with nutrients that keep your skin healthy: vitamin E, calcium, zinc, and (if you choose the black kind) heaps of antioxidants. Together these nutrients keep your skin moisturized, reduce appearance of scars, prevent breakouts, and fight free-radicals to prevent cancer.
I like black tahini on toast with avocado, in salad dressings, smoothies, hummus, or anywhere you’d use regular tahini.
4. Evening Primrose Oil
Also called borage oil, the research on this supplement has mixture results but I have found it very helpful for dry skin.
Evening primrose oil GLA which has been shown to increase the health of skin by reducing inflammation and improving skin barrier function. Although it is an omega-6 fat which is sometimes associated with higher levels of inflammation, GLA does not seem to have this negative effect.
Since the research results vary, I recommend choosing a brand committed to doing their own research and ensuring their product quality and potency. This is the brand that I buy.
Avocado is packed with vitamin E, which your skin loves. Like olive oil, it’s also a great source of monounsaturated fats and an easy way to get more fats in your diet without feeling like you’re living on oil!
I like adding a whole avocado to leafy green salad with some tahini and olive oil. The beta carotene in the greens plus all the healthy fats work perfectly together to keep skin healthy and moisturized. Since I’ve been having this for lunch every day I have already noticed an improvement in my ankle scale situation.
Other note-worthy fats for skin health:
Sprinkle these into your diet and your skin will have a better chance of protecting itself from the cold, dry, winter air.
If you’ve been struggling with dry skin for longer than I have, I’d love to know what has worked for you! Leave me a comment with your tips and favourite products.