This picture is not of me but of a person with good, healthy skin. It may be photoshopped but there is no reason why all of us can’t have that nice glow and complexion.
Many people, especially during the cold winter season, suffer from dry skin and sometimes eczema. This is part due to genetics and the rest to blame on the environment around us. Since I was very young, I suffered from having sensitive skin, but since then, I have made enough changes to my routine that I no longer experience anymore symptoms. I will first explain the mechanism behind eczema/dry skin and then help you treat it in three steps. Eczema and dry skin are somewhat due to your genetics but they are also caused by our immediate surroundings. We, sensitive skin sufferers, have a mutated gene that make it difficult to repair damage to the skin barrier. This isn’t a dangerous condition, but rather unsightly and irritating. Once you realize you are prone to this condition, you’ll understand that your skin can be affected by heat, environmental allergens and many other things. Now I will show you how to keep your skin in check in three steps: 1. Elimination, 2. Moisturizing, and 3. Supplementation. The stricter you follow these steps, the better your results will be.
During this first part of treatment, we are going to eliminate things that irritate our skin. In the winter time, the hot air indoors and hot water in the shower sucks all the moisture out of our skin and cause lots of irritation. Especially during the winter, we have to turn the water to luke warm and not scolding hot even though it is tempting. Just by doing this, your symptoms will be reduced greatly. Avoid heating your house too high – hot hair can have the same moisture-stripping effects. The chlorine in the shower water is also an irritant. It turns into gas when the water is hot and is absorbed through the skin. It then produces another eczema immune system response. I recommend a simple shower filter like this. It is extremely simple to install and it uses Vitamin C to dechlorinate the water! We also need to reduce the frequency of the showers to reduce the inflammation caused by them.
Next, we eliminate detergents. Most of our conventional household products contain industrial detergents that are very bad for your skin. This, again, directly affects the immune system and our skin shows the damage done. I wrote a multi-part series on this topic, beginning here. Follow my advice there closely; these are irritants that are constantly around us. Our new contributor, Sarah, also just posted a blog on how to make YOUR OWN cleaning solutions!!! Read it here.
Now we focus on our diet. You can always spot an unhealthy eater by the complexion and look of their skin. By not providing your body the right nutrients, we deprive it of its ability to fight eczema and other skin issues. I recommend a Paleo diet because it aims to minimize inflammation. A healthy omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is good; more inflammation could result from a bad balance. More on the diet here and for importance of omega 3, click here.
Also a factor: humidity. People living in areas of low humidity usually suffer from eczema and dry skin more.
As soon as you get out of the shower, the race is on to trap the moisture in your skin and avoid drying it out during cold months. You should always moisturize to protect the skin barrier. This will also allow for less irritants to penetrate the skin. I recommend Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil. There are many different brands to choose from as long as it is organic, cold pressed and unrefined. Coconut oil has a ton of health benefits beyond simple moisturizing, but that’s for another post! Apply coconut oil as generously as you want, it will quickly absorb into your skin. One of the best things I have ever discovered years ago. Others may prefer to use something over the counter, like Eucerine or such, but I personally don’t prefer. They are OK as long as there are no perfumes, scents or other chemicals. After getting out of the shower, thoroughly moisturize your body.
Begin with supplementing the SUN! Ultraviolet light in moderation is very beneficial for eczema. Also, there are a couple supplements that help. Essential fatty acids that can be found in krill and fish oil are great. Omega 3 acids reduce inflammation. This effect can always be seen on your skin. Turmeric and garlic are also widely known for benefiting eczema sufferers.
That is just a brief overview, but this attack on eczema and dry skin can be very effective. Stick to this plan and you will always have smooth beautiful skin!