How To Keep Your Skin Soft And Moisturized In The Harmattan Season


Published: November 4, 2014

Don’t allow the harsh, hot, dusty winds to sweep the radiance from your delicate complexion this Harmattan season. Keep your skin in tip-top shape – supple and glowing – through the all-natural magic of moisture.

The best way to armor up your skin’s natural defenses is to pay careful attention to what you are eating and drinking. Some of the most powerful weapons against the severe dry conditions of this season are edible – and delicious, too!

Mother Nature’s glow-getters

Let’s start with the all-important “essential” fats. These are the nourishing oils found in avocados, olives, oily fish, nuts and seeds that keep the skin cells lubricated. Try to include frequent helpings of these glow-getters in your diet this season. Have oily fish two or three times a week, toss a handful of olives in your salads, sprinkle seeds on your yoghurt and try snacking on nuts with avocados. These fats will not make you fat – what they will do is keep your inner fat-burning mechanisms well-oiled and chugging away happily and healthily.

Proteins also play a vital role in the health of our skin. When skin is damaged, the amino acids found in protein dash to the rescue, repairing damaged cells and creating sprightly news ones. So be sure to include a source of protein in every meal and snack. Foods that belong to the protein clan include fish, meat, poultry, eggs, yoghurt, nuts, seeds and pulses. A palm-sized portion is an ideal, personalized amount of protein for each meal, and a snack-sized portion might consist of a small handful of nuts (such as six walnuts) or two tablespoons of live yoghurt.


Water is a girl’s best friend

When it comes to keeping skin well-hydrated, how can we ignore our number one ally: water! Aim to drink 2.5–3 liters of pure water daily to guarantee your skin gets a shower of liquid refreshment. Remember, your skin is your outermost organ, and is therefore the last area that water reaches, so a plentiful supply is necessary, especially in the moisture-sapping conditions of this harsh season.

One of the most efficient ways to hydrate your skin is to eat foods that are moisture-rich, such as fresh vegetables and fruits. Multi-task as you munch, and go for fresh foods that pack an added punch of radiance-enhancing flavonoids and antioxidants to combat the seasonal skin-bashing of Harmattan. It is easy to spot these nutritious treasures, as they are the most vibrant on the food spectrum. The bright purples, reds, yellows and greens of the vegetable and fruit families are the colors to choose this season – think pineapples, carrots, green leaves and dark berries.

And avoid large amounts of alcohol, as it strips your skin of moisture. Limit alcohol consumption to a healthy minimum, and alternate each glass of tipple with a taller glass of water with fresh lemon slices to keep the skin cells replenished and the colon invigorated.

At-home skin care solutions

Of course, what you put on your skin is important, too. Avoid harsh chemicals such as parabens, sulfates and synthetic colors, as well as skin products that contain alcohol, as all of these can deliver a drying dose of damage just when you need it the least.

You may have some of the best skin care solutions right in your own home:

  • Apply pure coconut oil to your parched skin as a multitasking super-balm to moisturize and melt away blemishes and lines, as well as to help erase any Harmattan-related damage to your cheeks.
  • Remember that your lips are an extension of your skin, and there is no richer lip treatment than coconut oil. Dab it on gently to banish any flaking or chapping.
  • Harness the power of your kitchen! Try a lavish honey mask for a deep-conditioning, pure pore pick-me-up. Honey also has antibacterial properties that help it to deep clean and aid against blemishes.
  • Mix mashed avocado with chopped fresh garlic for another winning mask. The avocado drenches your dermis with essential oils to replenish and rejuvenate, and the garlic bestows a splash of oily goodness to plump and firm the cells and purify the pores.

By keeping the above tips in mind, you’ll stay skin-savvy all season long!

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About Rachel Henderson

Rachel Henderson is a certified nutritionist, published health writer and magazine columnist. She is co-founder of Food Fairy Nutrition and lives in London, England. Follow her on Twitter @Nutripearls

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