Dry Skin

Want to Rid Yourself of Dry skin?

If your body is getting everything it needs then you should not have to use moisturiser, except perhaps where you want to protect your skin from the elements.

If you have dry skin then here are a few possible factors to consider:

Are you stressed?

Stress depletes nutrients needed to moisturise the skin from within. The nutrients include vitamin C, E, B vitamins, zinc, selenium and essential fats. If your diet contains few foods rich in magnesium and B vitamins then you are likely to feel more stressed whether or not you are under pressure in life.

Is your digestive system in good shape?

If you have impaired digestion then you will not absorb all the nutrients you need for naturally moisturised, healthy skin. If any of the following apply to you then your digestion is not all it should be: belching, bloating/excess wind, digestive discomfort, constipation, diarrhoea, pale or floating stools, discomfort after fatty meals, gallbladder removed or not chewing your food.

Do you get enough vitamin A?

Vitamin A is found in high concentration in the dermis and epidermis and regulates keratinisation1. Deficiency can lead to dry, scaly skin. If you smoke or have mineral deficiencies this can interfere with your body’s ability to utilise vitamin A no matter how much you are getting. Pro-vitamin A (beta carotene) is found in orange fruits and vegetables while pre-formed vitamin A (retinol) is found in meat (especially liver) and fish.

Do you get enough “essential fats”?

If you are short of essential fats (omega 3 fats and raw omega 6 fats) or if you lack the vitamins and minerals needed to utilise them then you may develop dry or scaly skin or little pimples on the backs of the upper arms. Regular intake of polyunsaturated vegetable oils (unless cold-pressed and raw) blocks essential fat metabolism. So too does excess saturated fat intake. If you have digestive problems or lack some of the nutrients needed for the body to process essential fats then you will have a “functional deficiency” even if you are eating plenty.

Are you getting enough vitamin E?

Vitamin E is needed in the diet in order to stabilise cell membranes. It acts as a natural moisturiser from within for the skin. Raw extra virgin olive oil and raw nuts (especially almonds) and seeds are rich in vitamin E. Not all supplements are beneficial as most do not contain the wide range of components with vitamin E activity found in food. The vitamin E content of skin reduces with UV exposure so if you take the sun its important to have a vitamin E rich diet.

Is your thyroid in tip top shape?

If your thyroid is even slightly under-functioning this affects your skin cells and you may experience skin dryness and flaking as a result. Some factors that can lower thyroid function include bromides (an additive in white flour), fluoride (an additive in our water), and nutrient deficiencies (eg selenium, zinc). Stress will also impair production of active thyroid hormone in your body.

Could you be dehydrated?

Pinch the back of your hand and let go. If the skin doesn’t spring immediately back into its original position then you could be dehydrated, and so could your skin. Have a look at your urine – it should be pale yellow. If your urine is darker than this then you are likely to be dehydrated. We need around 2 litres of naturally non-caffeinated fluids every day. Salty or sugary foods increase the body’s requirement for water. Tea and coffee are duiretics, causing you to lose more water as urine.  If you are getting plenty of water and your urine is still dark you may have poor kidney function or a urinary tract infection and you should consult your GP.

Do you have enough B vitamins?

Did you know that B vitamin deficiency can cause dryness as well as cracked skin (eg around the mouth or on the heels). This is because B vitamins are needed in order to utilise zinc, which is important for the protective barrier function performed by the skin. Stress depletes the body of B vitamins, as does a refined diet or one that is high in stimulants or alcohol.

Do your personal care products help?

Dry skin can in part be caused by chemicals in moisturisers, shampoos and shower gels. Mineral or paraffin based oils are the main ingredient in most moisturising and dry skin creams. These oils dissolve your skins natural lubricating oils, and though they appear initially to make the skin soft and smooth, over the course of several hours they in fact allow moisture to escape. This contributes to dry skin. Similarly, harsh chemicals such as SLS (found in most of the mainstream shampoos and shower gels) also dissolve the protective layer of the skin.

 


[1] Keratinization is the process by which lower layers of the dermis becomes the tough, insoluble, outer layer of the skin. This makes the outer layer of your skin almost completely waterproof, which helps maintain water balance in the body