Itchy, scaly skin is common in winter, especially at the tail end of February. Low humidity and high thermostats are just a couple of reasons why skin starts to “flake out”.
“Natural oils, without chemical additives, are nurturing for the skin and contrary to what might be assumed, they are non-greasy and are quickly absorbed,” says Helen Sherrard, president of the Canadian Health Food Association. She says the CHFA advocates for continued access to safe and effective natural health products (NHPs) that promote a healthy lifestyle for Canadians.
Skin is made up of three layers: epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue and is the largest organ of the body. Hydration is important for healthy skin because it plumps it up and serves as a protective barrier against microorganisms and toxins.
The Canadian Health Food Association suggests consideration of these top three natural oils to soothe this season’s skin issues:
Pure Virgin Coconut Oil contains mostly fats, so it acts as an emollient, providing a softening and soothing effect. Its melting point is less than body temperature so it melts quickly into skin. Its medium chain fatty acids such as lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, have been shown to possess antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.
Grapeseed oil is very light with a fine texture. It contains vitamins, minerals, protein, GLA (an omega-6 fatty acid that is found mostly in plant-based oils), and vitamin E—all nutrients your skin will benefit from.
Argan oil is sourced from Morroco, North Africa, and is naturally rich in antioxidants, essential fatty acids, carotenoids, ferulic acid, sterols, polyphenols, vitamin E and squalene. These nutrients work together to help to heal skin, reduce inflammation and fend off free radicals.
Protecting the skin by moisturizing it is essential, Sherrard points out, adding that the organic and cold pressed versions of these oils and others are even better as they retain more of their natural properties due to less processing.
“If you want to find a wide variety of plant-based oils,” she continued, “and if you want to learn more about the benefits of natural, organic and cold pressed oils to protect, heal and nourish the skin, a natural health food store can give you useful information about their natural properties and how they may work best for you.”