How can I nourish my dry skin?

Give your skin a helping hand in the cold, says Henrietta Norton


How can I nourish my dry skin?

Deep hydration of the skin needs to come from within and, as is now widely accepted, nourishing our skin through wholesome food and nutrition, is a key aspect of this. Fatty acids, such as those found in the omega 3 group, feed the top layer of the skin and keep water ‘locked in’. However, simply increasing your intake of oily fish or flaxseed oil may not be enough – a deficiency in magnesium can affect how well we use these oils, and eating a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, or supplementing with a natural form of magnesium, can help.

A diet high in sugar may also ‘oxidise’ and damage these oils, as well as cause ‘cross-linking’ harm to skin proteins, resulting in dryness and wrinkling. Therefore, reducing sugar can vastly improve the appearance of the skin. Green leafy vegetables, such as chard or cavalo nero, are also rich in vitamin C and zinc, two important nutrients for forming collagen – the skin’s ‘trampoline’ giving it that hydrated, plump look and feel.

Deficiency in vitamin A may also lead to dry skin, especially those associated with autoimmune conditions, such as psoriasis or rosacea and, building in beta carotenoid-rich foods, like squashes and carrots, can improve your body’s storage of vitamin A. But, perhaps the hero ingredient for me is hyaluronic acid (HA), an essential molecule that the body produces to keep the skin elasticised and moisturised.

However, production of HA decreases with age and supplementing becomes more necessary. Choose wisely, as research has shown that you need ‘extra low molecular weight’ HA to deeply penetrate the skin in order to provide hydration and fill small lines.

Henrietta Norton is a nutritional therapist and co-founder of Wild Nutrition. Follow the brand on Twitter @wildnutrition

6 skin boosts for dry skin

I have found the best way to replenish the skin’s natural barrier function is to cleanse gently, and feed back to health with deeply absorbed hydrating serums and lightweight natural oils – to lock in moisture. A lot of trial and error has led me to the six products above.

Follow our Wellness Director @psydirector for more holistic tips.

Photograph: iStock