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Now browsing: Hometown News > Columnist Archives > Counseling - Margot Bennett

Natural help for dry skin
Rating: 3.04 / 5 (233 votes)  
Posted: 2008 Feb 22 - 02:55

Do you have dry, chapped lips? Is the skin on your heels cracking? Do you slather moisturizers all over your body? If so, your dry skin may need help from the inside out.

Dry lips may be self-inflicted. Licking your lips dries them out because saliva contains salt and enzymes. According to dermatologists, lips are "psychologically sensitive;" just thinking about them makes them feel dry.

Please explain to her that we don't circulate rumors. Unless she can substantiate this, I'm cutting it.You can find natural lip balms that contain healing moisturizers such as lanolin, bees' wax, cocoa butter and vitamin E, with no addictive properties. Dry lips are sometimes caused by sensitivity to ingredients in candy, chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwash or lipstick. Dry, scaling of the lips may be a lack of B vitamins.

If you have cracked heels, it could mean a lack of essential fatty acids, the "good" fats that your body cannot make. These fats must be supplied by your diet and are found in oily fish (sardines, salmon, herring) and fish oil supplements, flaxseeds, avocadoes, walnuts and evening primrose oil. Every cell in your body needs these oils, which are known to enhance skin tone.

If you no longer have your gall bladder, fats and oils may be difficult for you to digest and absorb. To avoid the burping, belching and repeating problems associated with ordinary fish oil supplements, use a product that contains the fat-digesting enzyme

lipase. These capsules are enteric-coated to bypass the stomach and dissolve in the intestine, so there is no fishy after-taste.

Incidentally, when you eat a salad, be sure to include some of the good fats. You won't be able to absorb the fat-soluble anti-oxidants in those nutritious veggies if you eat a salad "dry" or with only fat-free dressing.

Dehydration is the leading cause of overall dryness of the skin. Even your tongue and eyes may feel dry when you body is dehydrated.

Coffee, tea and sodas rob water from the body and along with sugar deplete the important B complex vitamins. Health experts recommend drinking a lot of water. You may be flushing most of it away.

Underlying causes of dehydration include prescription drugs and diuretics, hormonal imbalances and thyroid problems. Over-consumption of citrus fruits contributes to dryness in some people, especially those with psoriasis.

A serious medical condition, Sjogren's syndrome, is characterized by excessive dryness of the eyes and mouth and joint inflammation. Your doctor can test for this disorder, but often, dentists are the first to recognize its effect on teeth gums and salivary glands.

Concerning skin care, "keep it simple," advises dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, author of five best-selling books on anti-aging. Use mild cleansers, not detergent soaps, apply anti-oxidant- rich moisturizers that have healing power, avoid heavily fragranced products, drying toners, alcohol, fruit acids, peels, drying masks and chemical sunscreen, he advises.

To help skin cells repair themselves, Dr. Perricone advises eating protein at each meal.

"The best way to get water into the skin is by soaking in it," says Hilliard Pearlstein of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

He recommends a 15-minute soak in lukewarm water, not hot water, which removes the skin's natural protective oils. Moisturizer should be applied after bathing and while the skin is still damp to seal in some of the moisture. Dr. Pearlstein avoids strong soaps, such as Dial and Ivory, and says to reach for super-fatted soaps that contain cold cream, cocoa butter or lanolin.

"There is nothing therapeutic about soap... we in America are the great over-washed, over- deodorized society and we as dermatologists see more problems from the overuse of soap than we ever do from the lack of it," Dr. Pearlstein writes.

His advice: "If it's not dirty, don't wash it."

The information in this article is for educational purposes. Consult your physician if you have a medical condition.

Margot Bennett is a licensed nutritionist at Mother Nature's Pantry, located in the Garden Square Shoppes, 4513 PGA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens. Call her at (561) 626-4461.

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