Written by NYANP member Dr. Patricia Pimentel Selassie.  While moisturizer use has its place, dry skin is a signal from the body that some things are imbalanced and need our attention.  We can actually prevent dry skin in the first place with these three easy, healthful steps!

Step 1: Nutrition is always my number one suggestion when it comes to having a healthy body.  Nourishing skin — the largest organ of the body — from the inside out has a more profound effect than putting lotion on top.  The number one nutrient for skin is omega-3 fatty acids, like those from fish.  Our diet used to have plenty of omega-3 fatty acids from vegetables and grains, but modern industrial agriculture has bred these fats out of our food supply to increase shelf life and profit.  Now, we can get omega-3s either naturopathas supplements or from eating wild caught fish like salmon and sardines.  These omega-3s neutralize inflammation in the skin, keeping it young and clear.  The fats also make up the cell membranes of the skin, helping to keep the water in and the toxins out, leading to softer, supple, wrinkle-free skin.

Step 2: Drinking water is a great way to hydrate dry skin, but in order to do it right, we must quantify and track how much we drink.  To quantify, figure that we should drink about half our weight in ounces.  If you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water.  Tracking is also important to really determine if we are getting in enough water.  I always start my day with drinking 16 to 20 ounces of water within the first 15 minutes of waking up.  Once I began tracking water intake, I noticed that I would have anywhere from an 8- to 16-ounce difference in intake from day to day.  That loss of one cup could be the amount needed to reach your skin.  Skin is the furthest out from our vital organs and is often the first to suffer when we are even a bit dehydrated. When dehydrated, you will lose microcirculation, and with it, nutrients and color from the surface of your skin.  Hydration is key to skin as well as many other bodily functions, so it pays to drink like it’s your job!

Step 3: Bathe or shower in tepid water with only a little soap.  We just experienced one of the coldest days ever recorded in the history of New York State.  On days like these, it might be tempting to take a very hot shower to warm yourself up.  However, a hot shower will actually dilate your arteries and will cause you to lose water – and warmth – as it evaporates from your skin.  The best water to bathe in is tepid water.  People think that hot water kills bacteria, but the truth is that we have friendly bacteria on our skin, as well, that contribute to our overall health.  A little soap in strategic areas (hands, face, underarms, groin and feet) and tepid water is all you need to remove dirt and grime.

naturopathic doctor NYCFor more information on this article or the author, please visit Dr. Selassie’s website by clicking HERE.

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