Between cold wind and dry indoor heat, the fall and winter months can be exceptionally harsh on our skin. And many of us are making our chapped skin worse by using harsh cleansers and toners that really aren’t necessary, says dermatologist Lisa Donofrio, M.D., a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology with private practices in New Orleans and Madison, Connecticut. “A common loop that I see people in is they wash their skin with a cleanser that gets the grease off, then they tone it with something that gets even more of the natural oils off, then their skin feels dry so they have to put a moisturizer on,” says Donofrio. “But if you just cleansed your skin with something that wasn’t stripping, you wouldn’t need the moisturizer.” (Here are 14 beauty secrets dermatologists swear by.)
To keep skin healthy from the inside out, Donofrio recommends incorporating foods into your diet like tomato paste, which protects the skin from the harmful effects of UV light; sardines, which are loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3s; and kale, which absorbs and neutralizes free radicals.
But what about when your skin is thirsty and begging to be quenched right now? Try one of these moisturizers made with superfoods that are proven to do good from the outside, too.
Reap the benefits of both of these foods in one bottle. Donofrio says the fats and lactic acid in milk are incredibly calming for irritated skin when applied topically. Make a cool milk compress at home by soaking a cloth in a bowl of cold milk and applying to irritated skin, or try it mixed into Burt’s Bees Body Lotion With Milk & Honey ($10, amazon.com). Honey is not only a natural humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture, but its antibacterial and antifungal properties help fight germs living on your skin’s surface.
In addition to being naturally moisturizing, coconut oil also boasts antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, says Donofrio. Try RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream ($18, availble from our e-tailer, shop.womenshealthmag.com), which is unrefined and gentle enough for acne-prone skin.
“There are fewer signs of aging in people who consume more olive oil than people who don’t,” says Donofrio. This is because olive oil is packed with polyphenols, a type of plant compound with antioxidant properties. It’s also the main moisturizing ingredient in Belmondo The Cloud Face Cream ($52, available from our e-tailer, shop.womenshealthmag.com).
Advertised as a beeswax alternative, the main ingredient in Waxelene Multi-Use Beeswax Jelly ($24, available from our e-tailer, shop.womenshealthmag.com) is actually soy. Used topically or consumed, soy improves skin elasticity and prevents collagen from breaking down, says Donofrio.
Green tea protects the body against UV light both when used topically and when brewed to drink, says Donofrio. Topical green tea, like the kind found in this Cultivar Organic Green Tea and Arnica Under-Eye Serum ($62, available from our e-tailer, shop.womenshealthmag.com), has also been shown to improve rosacea, acne, and eczema.