Part 1 of Dry Skin
There are So Many Reasons why we might have be a sufferer or develop dry & sensitive skin.
It can be from: Dehydration, Diet, Medications, Weather, Allergies , Water we use, Lymphatic congestion, Aging. Health conditions like hypothyroidism, hormonal- puberty, pregnancy, menopause, cleaning products, gut health, nutrient deficiency I am sure the list can go on and as a Naturopath I have seen them all.
To get all of the information in one place you can download a copy of the lead magnet (*) – the 6 most common reasons why you might not have the skin you want for dry or irritated skin and simple changes to change your life forever Some are easier to manage than and we will cover them over the coming blogs.
Some of the topics crisscross and intertwine so we may go over things a few times but to be honest sometimes more times is better than no times.
Part 1 Dehydration
We are going to focus firstly on the most important and to be honest easiest to fix.
The reverse of dehydration is ‘hydration’ Did you know you can be water dehydrated or essential fatty acid (EFA) dehydrated. These are two of the most vital and essential elements for general health and it all ends up showing through you skin.
Remember: In any form “a plum without hydration is called a prune”.
You probably know that we are made up primarily from water so it is pretty obvious to say that we need fluid to stay hydrated but sometimes we forget to drink fluids, or drink dehydrating fluids, eat foods that do not give much moisture to the body or eat good fats which lead to problems also. Below I will give you some hints about how to get your body back in shape just by a few simple routines.
What is dehydration?
Very simply Dehydration is when the amount of body fluid leaving the cells and body outweighs your fluid intake. This then leads to dehydration. Dehydration can be very serious or mild. Did you know we lose fluid from breath, skin, urine & stool so drinking water or high water content foods is essential to maintain normal bodily functions and keep systems functioning like digestion, lubricating the eye’s, eliminating toxins even bad breath can be a symptom of dehydration.
When we don’t replace the body fluids it affects the whole system not just the skin the skin is just where it shows itself to the world. If we are dehydrated we cannot sweat so we cannot reduce the elimination of toxins from the body, you don’t keep the gut & colon moist, your skin will look and feel dry, flaky, lifeless possibly corrugated in texture (think feel of crape paper), you will look dry around the eyes and lips, generally have a look or feeling of dryness. Just remember after a night out a few drinks and the next day you feel drained, and generally dry.
You might say that you drink a lot but is it hydrating or dehydrating fluids?
Being dehydrated isn’t just about the skin. There are many areas which are affected by dehydration and below are the main areas that are affected by dehydration.
Main things occur from dehydration. (there are many factors but these are to do with fluid hydration and others will be covered in other areas.)
Dry eyes: think of fluid as a lubricant they not only lubricate the cells they also keep our tear ducts full and ready for use. .
Constipation: you might be wondering why you are constipated; your stool is dry, more rabbit droppings than a full stool and having a full bowel movement less frequently. Dehydration is one of the main reasons this can occur. Not having sufficient fluids dries everything up so the colon is dry and cannot keep the stool moist so it gets dry and crumbly. Constipation reduces elimination of toxins from the body as it is more of a goods train and not a high speed train. The slower the transit time the dryer and the more it reabsorbs the toxins into the body which isn’t good for us and it is the skin that tells us.
Reduced urination: you might find going to the toilet a bit more frequently annoying but it is very important for the elimination of toxins to urinate. If you notice that your urine during the day is still quite yellow this urine is concentrated and a sign of inadequate fluid intake. Increasing fluid intake will help dilute these toxins and flush them from the body (better out than in is my motto).
Diarrhea &/or Vomiting . Diarrhea or Vomiting is not a symptom of dehydration but it is a cause of dehydration as it takes all of our fluid with it and leads to dehydration. Did your mum used to give you flat lemonade or a lemonade icy pole when you were sick as a child. The lolly water would keep your energy levels up with fluid intake.
Acne: Did you know that most people think that acne is an oily skin issue but in most cases acne skin is dehydrated skin which exacerbates the oil production
Muscle Cramps: dehydration can be a major cause of muscle cramps. The muscles get hot, from working out, or just daily activities and if you are dehydrated they cannot cool down so if you are prone to getting cramps try drinking a glass of water (magnesium, calcium or sodium deficiency are also other causes of cramps.)
Fatigue: have you had a busy day, running around getting everything done, work is stressful or you have been out exercising and you are starting to feel tired or weary, but the one thing that was missing in the picture was keeping your fluid intake up which can lead to increased fatigue.
Memory: A sign of premature dementia is dehydration. if you are busy and do not drink enough then your memory or mind will get more cloudy so keep up your fluid intake for a clear and alert mind.
Headaches: At our market stall people ask me for herbal teas for their headaches. There are so many things that can trigger a headache or migraine and it is not responsible of me to give a tea when there could be nothing or could be something more sinister causing it so I try to find the main cause. Main things that cause headaches are; neck or back out, need new prescription glasses, hormonal, hit your head, sinus congestion, tension, stress, weekend headache, hunger, lack of sleep, depression, allergens to sulphates & nitrates like red wine and processed meats or can be worse like tumor or embolism but one very common cause is dehydration so increase your fluid intake and see how you go.
Hunger: It is very common to think we are hungry when we are actually thirsty. It is the same signal in our body that triggers the signs. If you don’t drink enough water and feel hungry, have a drink and then see how you are in 10-15 minutes, basically, your brain is confused, and it can mix up what the body needs. Sometimes your body doesn’t need that muffin, it just wants some water. (obviously if you haven’t eaten for a number of hours and have drunk sufficient water then you are probably hungry)
Bad Breath: As Dr Katz mentions the mouth like all of our body has bacteria, If you are not drinking enough fluid your mouth dries out and allows bacteria to multiply and flourish and bad breath is the result,
Humid climates: One you might not think about when you live in a humid environment, With humidity even though it gets unbearable all of that moisture is helping with your hydration levels being absorbed through the skin (as long as you don’t sweat it all out again :} ) during the dryer months you feel your skin drying out so it is so important to keep up our hydration from the inside out not the outside in.
Skin issues: The skin cops the brunt of the above examples. If you do not urinate enough and flush the system you will not remove toxins which will show on the skin. Constipation will also( due to the toxins) show on the skin. Eczema is considered a dry skin condition so keeping the skin hydrated will help when this presents.
Things to help hydrate you;
In all topics there are contention and as a Naturopath we always sprook that you must drink at least 2litres of water a day and then other liquids to top you up. But there is more to it than that.
The best way to determine how much water/fluid we should drink per day is take:
30ml x your weight divide x 16 and that will tell you how much water you should drink every half hour.
Someone who weighs 60-70kg should be looking at about 100ml of water that is just less than a latte glass. That isn’t much really. It is best to drink fluid in smaller quantities more often and that way it absorbs and hydrates the body & cells like it is being captured. When we drink in big quantities you are tending to flush the body not hydrate the body, that is why sometimes you can drink lots and still feel thirsty afterwards.
Suitable fluids or drinks:
*Black tea – limited as it is more dehydrating due to the tannin content
*Mineral or soda water
*Electrolytes – if you are a big sweater or exercise a lot incorporating electrolytes into your routine will be helpful.
*Foods with lots of fluids like soups, (especially broths) stews, salads, fruits, wet foods in general
I put coffee as a once a day treat –(milk free as milk is actually classed as a food not fluid as we digest it)
If you drink alcohol then have a glass of wine etc and next a glass of water
Many people say they forget or don’t get the time to drink.
A few easy ways to help you to remember is;
On rising – is the only time of day that I drink a larger amount of water at once. I get a large glass about 4-500ml ¾ fill it with filtered water then top up the glass with freshly boiled water to give you a warm glass of water and I drink that at once (I leave a ¼ of a glass to then add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and my herbs for the day. It will flush the body of waste from overnight, give the liver a kick, and will hydrate you enough to get you started on your day.
Then during the day
Be it at home or at work find a place to put your water where it is in your face whenever you walk past or look up. If you at home or in an environment where you are not often in the one location, fill a glass of water so that you will walk past and see it. If you walk past you will most likely stop and drink it but YOU MUST FILL it again then and there and put the full glass back where you can see it. It is harder to stop and fill a glass than to drink it and refill it. Try it and you will be amazed.
The nice thing about herbal tea is, you get lovely flavours, health benefits and if you start to drink it hot and you get distracted and you come back and it is cold that’s fine drink it and then just make another. That is why drinking just hot water with or without lemon juice is also great, we sometimes want something to nurture and comfort us so a hot water can give that warmth and then it doesn’t matter if it goes cold. Also remember how the Asians drink their tea. During hot weather it is perfect to drink hot drinks as it balances our thermostat and make us more able to cope with the summer heat.
If at work keep it on your desk, in the staff kitchen or anywhere suitable to see it and drink it on a regular basis, again if you don’t have a water bottle then keep your glass filled.
Are you a soup lover? When you go to a restaurant do you like the Raman, Pho, Laksa or other soups or stews. They are so full of yummy fluids that help to hydrate us. We all like different foods but the perfect foods to assist with hydration is wet foods. Wet food are things like soups, especially if a broth based. A stew filled with lots of goodies and a wet base. Juicy fruit like grapes, watermelon, mandarins, oranges, peaches & berries all in moderation just as you like salads & veggies are all great hydrating foods.
Humidifyer: If you live somewhere that also tends to dry out your skin due to lack of moisture in the air, you can consider a humidifier in your house to keep the air moisture up when we are drying out with heating or lack of moisture. This is great on top of good fluid levels.
This information is for normal signs of dehydration, for extreme signs of dehydration, seek emergency medical attention, if you are outside and in a hot area or after heavy exercise and are suffering from dehydration. Stay in the shade, stop any physical activity, and drink a cold glass of water. But if you start to remember to check in and make adjustments to your fluid levels on a regular basis and your skin will be glowing in no time.