It’s easy for skin to become dry, pale and sallow during the winter months, especially in Chicago where the coldest season of the year seems to never end. Before you spend your entire paycheck on fancy lotions and creams, try nourishing your skin from the inside out. We’ve all heard that drinking eight glasses of water a day will keep your body and skin hydrated, but the nutrients in some of our favorite winter flavors can also play a part in your health.
We recently stopped in for a visit to Leah Chavie of Leah Chavie Skincare Boutique. Leah is one of the leading aesthetician’s in Chicago and she gave us some insight about some of the best winter foods for your skin. Not only does she offer seasonally-inspired beauty treatments, like her luxurious pumpkin and peppermint facials, but she’s exceptionally knowledgable about all things skin.
To our surprise, not only are some of our favorite seasonal foods packed with nutrients to help improve and maintain a healthy complexion when ingested, but they have dual purpose as active ingredients in some of our favorite beauty treatments.
Whether you’re planning a dinner party menu or booking your next facial appointment, look for one of these fun and festive winter flavors while the weather still warrants your snow boots.
Adding a few drops of peppermint oil or peppermint infused product to your daily beauty regimen can promote healthy skin. Peppermint contains menthol, which has a cooling effect and at the same time, helps brighten dull skin.
“The menthol in peppermint helps cool your face and reduce redness,” said Chavie. “Mint also has a high content of salicylic acid, which is used in many skin care products. The acid softens and loosens dry skin as well as unclogs pores.”
While cranberries are rich in nutrients like vitamin C and fiber, Chavie says that the tart berries also offer plenty of other antioxidants, which keep your skin looking healthy throughout the winter and help decrease dark under eye circles.
Like most foods with a high concentration of antioxidants, cranberries and unsweetened cranberry juice may shield against environmental damage to skin and slow down the overall aging process.
Ginger is a spice we simply can’t do without, both in our kitchens and in our beauty routines. “Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, which makes it a great natural acne fighting ingredient [when applied to the skin],” said Chavie. “Ginger is also an antiseptic, which kills the bacteria that causes acne.” Ginger is also rich in antioxidants, with around 40 antioxidant compounds that protect against aging and improves the appearance of skin by removing toxins and stimulating circulation, resulting in delivery of more nutrients to the skin.
An excellent treatment for all skin types, fresh pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Zinc. It the pumpkin soothes, moisturizes and acts as a carrier, assisting other mask ingredients to absorb deeper into the skin.
“Pumpkins are a skin superfood,” said Chavie. “Fruit enzymes naturally dissolve dead skin cells and increase cell turnover. Pumpkin also contains antioxidants which soften, smooth and boost collagen production.”
The enzymes and antioxidants in pumpkin puree that results similar to gentle alpha-hydroxy action. It removes dead dull cells, while its beta-carotene-rich antioxidants nourish your skin. This will moisturize and nourish your skin, leaving it smooth and glowing.
Whether you eat it or apply it, look to pear for a beauty boost. Pears are full of fiber, which helps slow the release of sugar into the blood. “Sugar spikes can damage collagen, a protein that keeps your complexion plump and smooth,” Alan C. Logan, ND, told Health.com. “Pears also have vitamin C, which fights free radicals.”
Before you slice into a pear for your next snack, keep one important thing in mind. “Next time you eat a pear, leave the skin on,” said Chavie. “It is loaded with dietary fibers which prevent skin damage and keep it smooth and soft.”
Oranges are rich in the antioxidant vitamin C, which your body needs to make collagen. Collagen production naturally slows as you age, and sun exposure over your lifetime can further impair its production, leading to skin damage. Stylecraze.com reports that eating a medium orange provides vitamin C and citric acid, both of which can stimulate collagen production. Citric acid can also help dry oily skin to prevent and treat acne.