Five foods to help protect against winter skin damage

Skincare is often thought about from a topical perspective – but actually, what you eat can also have an effect on how your skin behaves.

As we shift towards autumn – which means cooler, wetter, windier days – skin health takes a hit, often leaving it dry, flakey and lacklustre.

However, food and beauty expert Sam Cinkir, CEO of skin and hair specialists Este Medical Group, says the answer could be on your plate.

He said: ‘Winter can cause damage to our skin as colder, drier air draws moisture away and makes our complexions dry and flaky.

‘This can even happen indoors as central heating creates the same effect, leading to a range of problems such as acne, irritation and redness.’

A healthy diet can help combat this.

He adds: ‘The best foods for healthy skin include vegetables we eat regularly. For example, carrots are rich in vitamin C, which helps produce collagen, a protein that is essential for maintaining skin elasticity.

‘Meanwhile, leafy greens such as spinach and kale are full of skin-nourishing vitamin K and anti-inflammatories.’

Top five foods to prevent winter skin damage

Berries

Fruits such as blueberries and raspberries contain antioxidants, which fight free-radicals that age the skin.

Berries also contain a compound called anthocyanins, which may support collagen synthesis.

Carrots

They contain plenty of vitamin C, an important antioxidant that helps the skin fight against damage.

Carrots have beta carotene, a nutrient that can help the skin fight UV radiation from the sun.

Leafy greens

Spinach, kale and other leafy greens such as bok choy and collard greens are rich in vitamin K, which strengthens the skin’s natural barrier, helping to lock in moisture.

Greens have a high sulphur content, which can help fight against flakiness on the skin.

Oily fish

Fatty fish such as salmon, trout and tuna are rich in Omega-3 acids, which can help the skin seal in its moisture and block out any irritants.

These kinds of fish contain vitamin E, which can fight skin inflammation caused by UV rays.

Dark chocolate

Cocoa, dark chocolate’s base ingredient, has a range of benefits.

Firstly, it’s rich in antioxidants and is thought to help blood flow more freely to our skin.

It’s also good for giving skin a smoother texture and improving hydration, while flavonoids in the chocolate help protect the skin against UV rays.

Aim for chocolate with a cocoa percentage of a least 70% to get the most out of your next bar.

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