Winter can leave our skin dry and itchy. Although many things contribute – hot showers, our genes and aging — to name a few, the cure is an inside job. We know fluids prevent dehydration, but it’s actually dietary fats, not more water, that lock in moisture and keep our skin cells plump and young looking.
All human cells are encased in fat. We need a regular supply of beneficial fats to keep these cells walls healthy and elastic.
Several years ago, I went to southern France to learn about cooking with duck fat; I left with silky soft skin. Toulouse women, among the longest-lived in the world, credit their youthful skin (and longevity) to a copious intake of duck fat.
Without fat, we cannot absorb key skin nutrients, notably vitamins A and D. Vitamin D hydrates our skin, boosts elasticity, and helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles, says dermatologist Dennis Gross, M.D.
Vitamin A helps us rebuild skin collagen, keeping skin firm and elastic, while reversing photoaging, explains Ontario Dermatologist, Lisa Kellett, MD, F.R.C.P.
Other skin-nourishing fats include grass fed butter and cheese, ghee, cold-water fish, egg yolks, organ meats, coconut and palm oils and lard. On the other hand, vegetable oils, including canola, safflower, corn and grape seed, weaken cell walls, promoting wrinkles and even skin cancer.
Low fat diets, especially when they contain vegetable oils, can leave your skin looking dry, wrinkled and aged, and at a greater risk of melanoma. Good fats improve our appearance in an even deeper way: they prevent anxiety and depression, two emotions that detract from natural beauty.
To learn other ways fat can benefit your health, email me.