Winter skincare that's metabolism-friendly

Winter can be awful when it comes to your skin, hair, and nails. But before you reach for the lotion, think about some natural skin-care alternatives.

Good skin starts from within

A healthy, nutrient-rich diet is the basis for glowing skin, strong nails, and silky hair. Most of my clients comment on how great their skin looks while doing the Fast Metabolism Diet. Acne can clear, and dandruff can disappear. Brittle nails become hard again. The healthy fats on Phase 3 help improve dry hair too.

But if your winter skin needs some extra help, you can nourish your body's largest organ in other ways.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

During the winter, we tend to drink less water overall. But that's a bad recipe when it comes to your skin. Your body needs just as much water in winter as in summer. Aim to drink half of your body weight -- in ounces -- per day of plain spring water. Add slices of lemon or lime for a little variety. More than anything else, drinking enough water will keep your skin moist, plump and elastic.

Try dry brushing

It's hard to overemphasize how wonderful this simple process can be. Dry brushing your body -- which is just what it sounds like -- activates your lymphatic system, helping to release toxins from the body. I particularly recommend it on Phase 3. But dry brushing is also a wonderful and gentle exfoliator for the skin. All you need is one of my dry skin brushes. Here's more on dry brushing and how exactly you do it.

Take a baking soda bath

I often recommend drinking a teaspoon or two of baking soda dissolved in water as a great way to help alkalize the body, especially helpful on Phase 2 when you're eating lots of animal protein, which creates an acidic environment in the body. But baking soda can also help detoxify and alkalize your body topically. Dissolve about 1/4 cup baking soda in a hot bath and soak. A baking soda bath also soothes itchy, irritated or inflamed skin. It's also great for those dealing with candida or yeast problems. And the baking soda won't leave a scummy residue in your tub.

Go tropical with coconut oil

I love coconut oil for cooking, but it's also wonderful topically, on any phase of the diet. Warm a bit of coconut oil in your hand and smooth it all over your skin after a bath or shower. Coconut oil absorbs quickly and isn't sticky. It's wonderful as an all-over skin moisturizer, and a tiny amount goes a long way. You won't need more than a teaspoonful for your whole body. And 100% raw coconut oil has no chemical additives, fragrances or other skin irritants.

Choose products with care

Just as you're now reading labels on foods you buy, read the labels on your skincare products. Items that contain lots of long chemical ingredients are typically not what you want to absorb into your skin. Avoid sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. These detergent ingredients create the foamy lather in soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste, but they are also terrible skin irritants that actually strip away the healthy oils in your skin.

And as with foods, avoid artificial fragrances and colors. Look for real ingredients you recognize, including essential oils and botanical ingredients. Remember, what you apply to your skin is absorbed into it, and into your body's cells.