Oct 31, 201801:01 PMBlog

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Help, I’ve Got Dry Skin!

Help, I’ve Got Dry Skin!

Q: What do you recommend to help prevent skin from looking dull and dry in the winter?        Claudia, Woodbridge


A:  Healthy skin comes from the inside out as well as the outside in.  As the weather gets colder, the skin may need a tweak in the type of attention you give it.  During the winter, the furnace is on making the air hotter and drier, and there is less sun exposure to give skin that sun-kissed glow.  To manage some of these changes that occur in the winter consider the following:


1.   Eat clean and stay hydrated.   Even though the bounty of colourful vegetables and fruits is diminished during the winter, try and continue to eat the rainbow.   Focus, as always, on eating a whole foods diet that is low in processed foods and sugars, and rich in vegetables, clean protein and healthy fats.  Drinking ample amounts of water is also important to keep skin cells sufficiently hydrated. In the winter, because of the drier weather, consider boosting water intake with some hot drinks like hot lemon water and herbal teas.


2.   Collagen.  Collagen constitutes approximately 70% of skin. It acts as an essential structural protein that helps give skin its resilience, flexibility and elasticity.   Collagen production naturally declines with age, which contributes to looser, less firm skin and wrinkles. Collagen molecules are too large to absorb topically to benefit skin integrity and need to be consumed or produced by the body. There are various ways to support this. Bone broths are a great source of collagen, and are also helpful for immune health during the cold months.  Collagen powders can be easily mixed into cold or hot foods and drinks to boost intake. Silica, a trace mineral, naturally helps boost internal collagen production, as does vitamin C.


3.   GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid).  GLA is part of the group of healthy fats called essential fatty acids and is a major component of skin.  GLA helps maintain skin’s natural barriers to prevent water loss and in turn helps keep skin hydrated and strong.  This healthy fat also helps quell inflammation, which may contribute to the formation of wrinkles. GLA has also been clinically found to help psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and rosacea.  Borage oil and Evening Primrose oil are sources of GLA.


4.   Hyaluronic Acid.  As the body ages, the skin’s ability to preserve moisture decreases, and can result in the loss of firmness, pliability, and plumpness.  Hyaluronic acid is a type of glycosaminoglycan, and naturally exists in the body to help lubricate joints and skin. Its effects on the skin help keep it looking smoother and softer, minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and has a stunning capacity to attract and hold a significant amount of moisture.  In addition to moisture, it may also provide some antioxidant benefits to help manage oxidative damage, which contributes to the aging process of skin. Supplements can be added into the mix to improve hyaluronic acid internally, while it can also be applied topically.

Dr. Michelle Pobega, ND, runs a naturopathic practice near the Annex neighbourhood of Toronto. Stay connected with her at drmichellend.ca, Facebook and Twitter @MPobegaND


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