The naked Truth about Dry Skin and 4 Simple Cures

There’s a reason dry skin is one of the most common skin concerns: your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it is constantly changing and regenerating, so it is constantly susceptible to attack.  Your skin is your body’s first line of defense when it comes to protecting you from the elements, which is why several external and internal factors are important to turn dull, cracked, itchy skin into a healthy, supple and glowing complexion.

How the skin works

Normal Skin and Dry Skin

Your skin is made up of 2 layers: the outer epidermis, and the inner dermis. Your epidermis is largely responsible for the health and appearance of your skin. The outermost layer of the epidermis is your stratum corneum, shown to directly contribute to maintaining and sustaining healthy skin. Your stratum corneum is also segmented; Dead, keratin-filled cells have been pushed to the surface by the lower basal layer. [NIH]

This surface level of your skin consists of dead skin cells and oils, cemented together to form a protective layer. They cover the living skin cells underneath to protect them from infection, dehydration, chemicals, and other hazards. These dead skin cells also retain water to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.

Cells in the deepest layer of your epidermis are constantly dividing to make new ones. These new cells are pushed towards the surface of your skin, where they rub against and replace surface cells that flake off. This is a constant ongoing process. You have roughly 1.6 trillion skin cells in your body, and 30,000 to 40,000 cells fall off every hour. In a day you will have lost almost 1 million skin cells! This means that our body produces a new epidermis about every 30 days. [Health]

This rejuvenation process reveals why it can take some time from when you first start to implement a skincare regimen to when you start to see results. Dry skin can often improve after 4 weeks, when you have an entirely new, rejuvenated epidermis.

What causes dry skin?

Causes of Dry Skin include age, environment & climate, and nutrition & lifestyle.

Age

As we age, we naturally become more vulnerable to dry skin as well as dullness and a loss of firmness in our skin. The epidermis thins as we age, so water retention decreases and the skin is more vulnerable to dehydration. In addition, the skin’s ability to regenerate lipids that make up the stratum corneum declines, meaning that essential fatty acids are even more important to support soft skin over time.

Climate

Dr. Shilpi Agarwal, Family Medicine and Integrative and Holistic Medicine physician says, “The most common causes of dry skin are cold weather exposure and lifestyle habits that remove moisture from the skin by depleting the natural oils our bodies produce. During the Fall and Winter, the body is suddenly exposed to cool air that often lacks humidity and can create dry and irritated skin.” In addition, sun exposure in the summer along with dry, arid climates can damage cells and limit the skin’s ability to hold onto moisture or repair itself. Mia Belle, Paramedical Aesthetician and CEO of Mia Belle skin, describes the process. “Your body via the organ of the skin will try to keep itself hydrated by absorbing water from its external environment. If you live in a dry environment, it will have to grab more water internally to keep hydrated, eventually creating epidermal water loss.”

Nutrition + Lifestyle

Lifestyle and diet habits can also dehydrate and dry skin. Fat-free diets, for instance, can deprive the skin of Essential Fatty Acids [Dermal Institute.] Registered Dietitian Alex Caspero says, “The skin barrier is made up of many types of lipids, including phospholipids, cholesterol and free fatty acids. When the skin doesn’t have enough of these fats, water can easily escape through the barrier, allowing skin to be dehydrated.”

In addition, alcohol and caffeine are diuretics that dehydrate the skin, while sugary foods break down collagen and elastin, dulling the skin. Belle emphasizes the role that collagen plays in helping to hydrate your skin for a plump, healthy appearance. “Think of a baby. We held more water and had more active collagen in our skin when we were young. The older we get, the more collagen support we need to give our system.”

4 Simple steps to stop dull, dry skin in its tracks

Keep your skin hydrated to prevent dry, dull skin

1. A Hydrating Routine

Daily moisturizing is key to prevent dry skin. Avoid long hot showers that strip your skin of essential oils, and instead take shorter, lukewarm showers with unscented soaps. (Scented soaps with chemicals can inflame skin.)

Dr. Agarwal recommends applying natural oil like coconut or almond immediately after showering. Quickly rinse off and pat dry. This will save you time and your skin will stay moisturized all day.

For people with dry skin, it’s important to not over exfoliate because skin is vulnerable to irritation. However, this does not mean to forego exfoliating all together! After you turn 20, your skin cell turnover slows and dead skin cells can pile up, diffuse light, and make skin look dull. [Allure]

2. Foods that make a difference

Studies suggest consuming vitamin-rich foods including citrus fruits, nuts, whole grains, broccoli, and eggs help hydrate the skin. These foods are high in vitamins B2, B6, B12, C and E that nourish your skin, improve water retention, and repair sun damage. [Health]

According to Belle, balancing your blood sugar level is also key. “Elevated blood sugar causes osmotic diureses, where the sugar exits through your kidneys and carries water out with it, creating dehydration.” In addition to choosing fruits and veggies, you want to avoid refined sugars, processed foods, and simple carbs to keep your blood more alkaline than acidic, which leaches minerals from your body and weakens your adrenals.

Of course, drinking enough water — especially in climates where your skin is prone to dehydration — cannot be overstated. Take this tip from Dr. Agarwal: “As the weather gets cold, try warm water with lemon or a decaf, herbal tea (raspberry tea is one of my favorites). ”

Belle adds that the body can hydrate even more efficiently when we eat our water. “Watermelon, cucumber, apple, and celery slowly hydrate as they make their way through our digestive system,” making them amazing choices for rejuvenating dull, dry skin.

3. The role of healthy fats & vitamins

“Healthy fats provide the framework necessary for well moisturized skin,” Dr. Agarwal notes. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are polyunsaturated fats that help produce the skin’s natural oil barrier, critical to keep the skin hydrated and vibrant. Some studies reveal that EFA’s reduce inflammation linked to acne, and other’s have even found that psoriasis treatment (a skin disease characterized by dry, red, itchy skin) that combined medication with EFA supplementation was more successful than with medication alone. [USAnews]

Dr. Agarwal recommends if you can’t get omega-3s in your daily diet, a supplement is another great option. High-quality fish oil supplements are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that can hydrate your skin from within. When choosing a fish oil, make sure you’re paying attention to the milligrams of EPA and DHA – the actual omega-3 content which is what replenishes dry skin. For a plant-based option, the omegas are listed as ALA, and can be found from oils such as black currant seeds or sunflower seeds. [USAnews]

4. Hydrating Supplementation for Dry skin

Hydrating HUM supplements help support dry skin and dull skin

Caspero says, “If you have a hard time eating enough omega-3 fatty acids, consider adding HUM’s OMG supplement to your routine for healthy, hydrated skin. Vegetarian? No problem, HUM’s Red Carpet is also a winning choice. Also remember that excess fish consumption can lead to heavy metal contamination.”

The OMG Omega the Great fish oil contains 800 mg EPA and 400mg DHA, the proper clinically studied 2:1 ratio. Red Carpet, a vegetarian alternative with omegas derived from Black Currant Oil, is packed with 120mg ALA and 150mg GLA to nourish and hydrate skin cells by providing them with healthy oils.

For skin over 40, Belle recommends Arctic Repair to help improve and strengthen the skin barrier, locking in moisture for a smooth, glowing complexion. Arctic Repair is packed with 657mg omega-3 ALA, as well as 500mg Omega-6 and 207mg Omega-9 from the rejuvenating lingonberry seed. Its unique balance of omegas boost skin hydration and elasticity to achieve a radiant glow as well as smoother, firmer skin.

In addition, advanced antioxidants and phytonutrients protect against cell damage, promote cellular health, and support skin rejuvenation. HUM’s Turn Back Time contains Advanced Antioxidants, Phytonutrient-rich anti-inflammatory Turmeric and Green Tea Polyphenols to help keep skin nourished, firm and glowing.

Meet the Skin Care Experts

HUM Skin Care Expert and paramedical aesthetician Mia BelleHUM Skin Care Expert Nutritionist Alex CasperoHUM Skin Care Expert Doctor Agarwal


Related Content

Radiant Skin in 2 Rejuvenating Fall Recipes

3 Signs your Body is Craving some Collagen Lovin’

23 Surprising Habits Linked to Acne