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protect your hair & skin this winter

23rd October 2017 by Jess

Before spending your hard earned cash on expensive skin and hair care products, try some of these tips from our nutritionist.

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Before you start getting fake nails and hair extensions, my recommendation would be to explore more of an inside-out approach, and see if we can restore any nutritional or biochemical imbalances. This will have a far-reaching positive impact, and not only address thinning hair, or broken skin, but also help to make you healthier, which could add quality years onto your life.

Jess, graze nutritionist
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The health of your body is influenced by tons of factors like genetic makeup, environment (humidity or dryness, etc), nutrition, beliefs and biochemistry.

Your body communicates via signs and symptoms, so when you have dull hair, thinning nails and broken skin, it’s trying to tell you something.

Your body has a hierarchy of needs, and when you're going through a stressful period, with stress hormones through the roof, energy is given priority to our vital functions such as our heart health, brain and other vital organs.

Non-vital processes such as nail strength, hair, brow, and eyelash lush factor are not deemed as important, so they're put on the back burner and nutrients are channelled away from these processes. The bottom line? Stress has a huge impact on our physical appearance.

So, what does our body need to look and stay healthy?

Great food, nutrients in abundance, hydration, digestion, sex hormone balance, liver, healthy thyroid and kidney function, and stress at low levels.

When our body has all these factors in balance, and nutrition optimised, the body can work as it should and the raw materials are in place for nails, skin and hair to be strong, with a radiant glow.

Here are some common beauty concerns and their nutritional links.

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protect your skin

dry skin

The main culprits for dry skin are not getting enough healthy fats, suffering poor digestion or choosing the wrong skin-care product. With lowering temperatures in the winter, this tends to be more of a common issue.

  • Stay hydrated with herbal teas.
  • Make sure you've got healthy fats in your diet.
  • See your GP if you're having digestion problems.
  • Use face wash and moisturiser appropriate for dry skin.

oily skin and/or oily scalp

Greasy skin or a greasy scalp tends to be a sign that your sex hormones are out of whack. If your skin is particularly greasy leading up to your time of the month, this can be another indicator of out of balance sex hormones.

  • Amp up the greens and the whole food fat in your diet.
  • Looking at reducing sugar.
  • Try deep breathing and calming exercise such as meditation and yoga.
  • Take off all your make up before exercising and at the end of the day.
  • Wash your face with natural exfoliating face wash before bed to get rid of all the grime from the day.
  • Moisturise with a dry oil after washing.

dandruff or flaky scalp

On the other end of the spectrum we can have a dry or flaky scalp. Again, this can happen for a number of reasons. Gut dysbiosis could be one of the reasons. This is when your gut environment is out of balance with some less-than-friendly bacterial species living in your large intestine, often due to high levels of sugar in the diet and not enough fibrous and prebiotic foods (such as green leafy vegetables, leeks, onions, and oats).

Alternatively it could be due to a vitamin A or essential fatty acid deficiency. If you believe that for you it is more likely to be your gut health, trial eating zero refined sugar for four weeks, keeping your carbohydrates from whole food sources such as root vegetables.

Four weeks should be long enough to see a noticeable improvement. Amp up the greens and the whole food fat in your diet as well.

Nutrients for skin: vitamin C, A, riboflavin (B5) and zinc all contribute towards healthy skin.

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protect your hair

Hair loss

It’s normal to lose hair (just not large amounts), but if you’re noticing that you are losing more hair than usual then it will reflect an internal process that needs support.

Some areas worth seeking the guidance of a health professional about are thyroid health, adrenal function, iron and vitamin D status and sex hormone balance.

Dry hair and/or split ends

Split ends are perfectly natural, but are made more common by bleaching or using heating appliances. To protect your ends from splitting, there are a few habits you can adopt:

  1. Use lukewarm water to wash your hair rather than hot.
  2. Don't use more than a coin-sized shampoo dollop.
  3. Only shampoo the roots - it dries out the ends.
  4. Comb in the shower before rinsing out the conditioner.
  5. Pat dry with a towel (rubbing breaks it).
  6. Use coconut or argan oil on the ends whilst damp.
  7. Let it air dry whenever possible.

Thinning eyebrows

If thinning eyebrows is coupled with low energy, anxiety or low mood, this is almost always a sign that the thyroid needs some tlc. Again, seek the help of a health professional.

Nutrients for hair: Zinc, copper and selenium all contribute towards healthy hair.

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Going in with a multi-pronged, holistic strategy when it comes to addressing any concern is recommended. By all means ‘fix’ the concern externally if you can, but it’s also important to address the route cause behind these symptoms as your body uses these symptoms as a way of communicating potential imbalances which if left unaddressed, could lead to other health or beauty concerns.

Jess, graze nutritionist
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By Jess, graze nutritionist.

Our nutritionist extraordinaire, Jess trained at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and is a registered practitioner with the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She's the creator of our health badges, to help you choose the snacks and boxes that are right for you. Check out everything from Jess on our blog, with recipes and tricks to help you keep making better choices, or go to Jess's blog at jessipes.co.uk for even more.

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