Winter’s dry, cold air can cause itchy and painful conditions such as eczema and severe dry skin. If you are suffering from dry skin this winter, you will know that there is only so much that excessive moisturizing can do.
Patrick Holford’s 30 years of clinical researching and work in the field of nutrition has taught him what really works for the most common health problems in the world- thus giving us healthy, lifestyle and nutrition based solutions to problems like dry skin.
His latest book, Good Medicine, is a complete guide to the most effective, safest and natural ways to help prevent and also reverse many of the diseases plaguing our society. Patrick will be touring South Africa this October presenting 16 in-depth health seminars and interactive workshops in the cities of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Cape Town. The talks, based on his bestselling book Burn Fat Fast and Good Medicine, will take place between 10 and 19 October. Dont miss it!
The Good Medicine solutions to dry skin problems:
- Stay Hydrated.
An adequate fluid intake helps the skins cells to stay plumped up and healthy by drawing water out of the blood stream – the first step to improving dry skin. Drinking frequently throughout the day, especially in winter, can be a challenge. To make this easier Patrick suggests drinking at specific times of the day- for example, drink a glass of water first thing in the morning, one 30 minutes after lunch, when you get home from work and another after dinner and a small glass before you go to bed. Routine helps.
- Encourage sebum production.
Normally, the sebaceous glands, which are present in the deeper layers of the skin, produce sebum to lubricate the skin surface and form a barrier preventing the evaporation of moisture from the top layers of the skin. When the skin does not produce enough sebum, it becomes susceptible to dryness. It is particularly important in winter to not use harsh cleansers on the skin because they will strip the subum from the top layers of skin – leaving it squeaky clean, but also dry. Sebum production is under the control of androgens – a type of hormone. Your diet effects hormone production – and in this case, Low GL food options naturally balance your blood sugar levels, thereby reducing stress hormone release which promotes subum, bringing the added benefit of reducing the inflammatory processes that underlie chronic dry skin conditions. Eat cold-water fish such as sardines and mackerel as well as flax or chia seeds and their cold pressed oils to help provide the omega 3 essential fats- needed for normal sebum production.
- Moisturise with antioxidants and nutrients
Antioxidants minimize free radical damage in skin cells and help to recycle each other, prolonging antioxidant capabilities. Vitamin E is one of the most well-known skin nutrients, offering both moisturizing and protective actions. Avocado, almonds, walnuts, olives and wheat germ are all excellent food sources of vitamin E. Vitamin A, beta carotene and carotenoids- abundant in carrots, apricots, sweet potatoes and broccoli are other fat soluble antioxidants that help to keep the skin cells moisturized. Without them, the skin becomes rough and dry. This is because vitamin A regulates the rate of skin-cells replication and process of keratinization – which ensures that moisture stays locked in. It is worth both supplementing vitamin A and using creams that contain it. Vitamin C helps improve circulation and the transport of nutrients to and waste from the skin’s cells.
- Take Vitamin B complex for total skin support
Deficiencies in a single B vitamin can have negative effects on the skin; for example, being low in vitamin B2 can result in dull skin and dry patches. As a group, the B vitamins support skin health in a variety of ways. To maximize your intake, start by including brown rice and pasta and eggs into your diet and take a high strength multivitamin or B complex.
– Oily fish
– Flax seeds and chia seeds
– Olive oil
– Fried foods
– Refined foods