Autumn is here! And as we are quickly heading into winter, and spending more and more time indoors, let’s talk about dry skin. This topic is something that seems to come up in the conversation a lot around this time of the year. Are you using a moisturizer? Do you feel that you have too, or is it just a habit that you have acquired? How do you choose which product to use?
No matter the cost of the moisturizer that you are using, the concept is the same with all of them. And, it’s a pretty basic one. It’s all about trapping water. According to Harvard Health “they supply a little bit of water to the skin and contain a greasy substance that holds it in.”(1)
Did you know that our skin is the largest organ of our body? Part from protecting us, it also has some detox functions, and helps out when the ordinary detox pathways are overloaded.
So if the skin needs water, why not make sure that we are properly hydrated from the inside, rather than trying to add water from the outside. If we are dehydrated, using different types of body lotions and moisturizers just help masking the problem. It would be like trying to add water to dry leaves of a plant instead of feeding the roots the water and nutrients it needs.
Dry air takes away a lot of water from our bodies, because the air needs to be moist before it arrives in our lungs. Less sunlight and darker days often prompts us to drink more coffee and tea, instead of water which can dehydrate us more. When it’s cold we tend to forget about hydrating properly as we are not “feeling thirsty”.
Dry skin is also strongly associated with needing more essential fatty acids in the diet. (2,3,4) There are two components to this part though. Number 1, make sure that the skin has the building blocks it needs by eating a properly prepared whole foods diet, including daily sources of essential fatty acids. Some good examples are flax seed, deep water fish, chia seed, and walnuts. Number 2, work on your digestion so that you can really absorb all the nutrients that you eat. Remember, you are what you absorb, not only what you eat.
When your living space is very dry and you use a lot of heaters, it can be a great idea to use a humidifier. The cheapest version of a humidifier is...hold on to your stand up desk – a bowl of water – just saying – no need to spend big bucks if you don’t want too.
If you find it hard to go without a moisturizer completely, try these tips to make a gradual change. Only use natural, mild soaps, and use them as sparingly as possible. The soap takes away the natural thin layer of oil that is on our skin, and strips it from its natural protection. The more chemicals and fragrances that are in the soap the more irritating it will be for the skin. Same goes for the moisturizer in terms of irritation. Use the the most natural products you can put your hands on.
Are you using a lot of very fragrant soap and lotions because you feel you stink otherwise? Then it’s a good time to pay more attention to what’s happening on the inside of your body.
Also, if you are always using a lot of moisturizer the skin will get lazy and slow down it’s own production. Try to reduce the amount and frequency of creams and lotions, so the body gets prompted to do the work itself. As the largest organ of the body, you don’t want your skin to get lazy. So, instead of thinking that we need more sophisticated and larger amounts of lotions and moisturizers to make our skin feel good, (like all the big companies wants us to believe) let’s be smarter and feed it from the inside with good nutrition and hydration.
Let’s take a crack at it, for better looking and healthier skin from within.
Wishing you a great weekend!
4. Signs and Symptoms Analysis from a Functional Perspective by Dicken Weatherby, N.D.