It’s no secret that the winter months can wreak serious havoc on your skin. Brisk winds, frigid temps, and dry air all take a toll on your skin’s normal moisture levels and elasticity. (And you thought there was nothing good about humidity!) If you notice that your skin seems extra taut, itchy, and a bit lackluster this time of year, have no fear. Incorporating key nutrients into your daily supplement regimen can help you ward off winter skin woes and revitalize your complexion in no time.
Rescue Parched Skin
Not only is the outside air drier in the wintertime, but indoor central heating also zaps critical moisture from your body, causing your skin to feel tight and flaky. At this time of year, a daily dose of omega-7s can provide the intense hydration you need from the inside out.
Omega-7s are found in just a few foods, with one of the richest sources being the pulp of the sea buckthorn berry. This bright orange, pearl-shaped berry is often referred to as a “nutrient bomb” because it contains more than 200 bioactive compounds including natural vitamins, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and plant sterols. Omega-7 fatty acids are incorporated into the walls of your cells and help the cells retain moisture for soft, hydrated skin.
Sea buckthorn has been studied for its ability to moisturize and essentially slow down the aging process of the skin. One clinical study examined the results of a group of healthy women who took sea buckthorn oil or a placebo for three months. The women were an average age of 61 years old. For those taking sea buckthorn, the results were impressive! This group saw a 49 percent improvement in skin moisture (33 percent in just one month!) and a 9.2 percent improvement in wrinkle depth, meaning skin wrinkles were less noticeable. This same study also showed a 26 percent improvement in skin elasticity.
Combat Free Radicals
In addition to drying out your skin, the dreary days of winter also have a way of showcasing your skin’s imperfections, like dark under-eye circles, uneven skin tones, and dull complexions. Boosting your intake of critical antioxidants can have you looking like you’ve got that smooth, supple summertime glow in no time—even if it is only mid-February.
Antioxidants are crucial to the health of your skin and can make a world of difference in your appearance, which is why you’ll find aisles of skincare products touting the benefits of high-ORAC ingredients like green tea, coffee berries, and pomegranates. These powerful compounds help neutralize harmful free radicals that cause everything from premature aging to skin cancer. Some of the top antioxidants you can take to revive your complexion, fight the signs of aging, and smooth out overall skin tone include superoxide dismutase (SOD), vitamin C, French grape seed extract, and zinc citrate.
SOD is thought to be one of the most potent, naturally occurring antioxidants in the body—second only to glutathione, the “master antioxidant.” SOD is present in both the dermis and the epidermis, the two outermost layers of the skin. It is responsible for preventing free radical damage and acts as a potent anti-inflammatory to combat a variety of skin conditions. SOD is also crucial to healthy collagen production, which helps your skin retain a youthful radiance. Unfortunately, SOD levels in the body decrease with age, which leads to things like fine lines, wrinkles, and even precancerous changes in skin cells.
In the past, oral preparations of SOD were unstable and couldn’t survive the harsh environment of the digestive tract to make a difference in the body. However, a stable form of SOD is now available from a rare species of melon grown in the south of France. This type of SOD is ideal for re-establishing proper SOD levels in the body and can contribute to beautiful, glowing skin.
Another powerful antioxidant for skin health is French grape seed extract, which contains oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs. OPCs help protect the body’s cells from oxidative damage, reduce inflammation, and prevent premature aging and disease. Research suggests that grape seed extract has the ability to bond with collagen, allowing it to promote skin-cell health, elasticity, and flexibility.
Vitamin C has the amazing ability to reduce the damage caused by ultraviolet light. It doesn’t act like a sunscreen, but actually protects against the free-radical damage that too much time in the sun can cause. In a German clinical study, participants took vitamin C orally for four weeks. The antioxidant was shown to increase the radical-scavenging activity of the skin by 22 percent. The effect was fast and the results were even better when participants increased their vitamin C dosages.
Though not technically an antioxidant, zinc is another essential mineral that the body requires to make collagen, which keeps skin smooth and elastic, and it is also important for tissue healing and growth. Zinc citrate is one of the most highly absorbable forms of zinc and contributes largely to the maintenance of healthy-looking skin.
When French melon SOD, French grape seed, vitamin C, and zinc citrate are taken together, they can make a drastic change in the appearance of your skin, which was proven in a clinical study in France. In this study, 35 healthy women with dull complexions were given a supplement containing a combination of these four skin-friendly ingredients. The women ranged in age from 40 to 70 years old, and all had complaints of feeling unsatisfied with their skin’s appearance.
In just eight weeks, the majority of study participants saw a significant increase in their skin’s luminosity, radiance, and firmness. The proprietary blend of these four powerful nutrients was able to stimulate the skin’s healthy rejuvenation process. Participants who reported benefits experienced a 25.7 percent increase in skin luminosity, a 62.4 percent increase in skin radiance, and a 55.6 percent increase in skin firmness.
Remember, the appearance of your skin has less to do with the time of year than factors like nutrition, sleep habits, sun and wind exposure, and stress. Regardless of the season, it’s important to focus on overall wellness to keep your skin looking and feeling its best. When extra support is needed, turn to proven ingredients like sea buckthorn, SOD, grape seed extract, vitamin C, and zinc to protect and restore your natural glow.