Dry Skin? Get More Moisture!

It may not be news to you that as we age, our bodies tend to get drier. Our hair may become brittle or thinner. Our skin may become wrinkled, saggy, and thinner. Our nails can also become more brittle. Is all of this inevitable? Is there anything we can do?

I'm on a quest to bring more moisture into all my cells.

I've never had a serious problem with dryness. Some people tend to have more natural oils in their skin and hair. But even those folks might begin to dry out when menopause rolls around. (If you are a guy, this might happen during MANopause, as my husband likes to refer to it.)

Hormones like estrogen help our bodies stay moisturized. When estrogen levels drop, we can start to dry out. But certain foods, supplements, and other tweaks can help to restore the moisture to our cells.

First off, how much moisture are you losing each day? We lose water through our skin, through breathing, through urination, through sweating, through elimination. If the weather is hot, if we're exercising, if we spend a lot of time in the sun, if the climate is very dry, we lose extra water. Alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and many prescription drugs also dry us out by causing the body to eliminate water. Low carb diets like Atkins Induction can cause the body to excrete more water than usual. These factors will determine how much water you need to drink. About 10 cups of water per day (80 oz.) is a good place to start.

If you are exercising or sweating for more than one hour daily, you might need to take in electrolytes in addition to plain water. These are minerals, including sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. When you sweat, you lose minerals in addition to water. If you only replace the water, but not the minerals, you could end up feeling sick, dizzy, nauseous, and even need to go to the emergency room for IV treatment. I like to use Salt Sticks--a mineral supplement that will protect you from dehydration when you're exercising in hot weather and sweating profusely.

Additional supplements you might consider for adding moisture to the body include fish oil, flax seed oil, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C. Foods like wild-caught fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, apples, and celery all are excellent for your skin. Make yourself a Waldorf salad!

I'm a big believer in moisturizing the body from the inside out. Just slathering moisturizers on the skin does nothing to change the underlying condition. However, massaging a natural oil like coconut, almond, or olive oil into the skin cannot hurt. Just watch out for products that contain various forms of alcohol. Believe it or not, lip balms often contain a form of alcohol called linalool. This ingredient further dehydrates already dry skin! Thus forcing the consumer to use MORE lip balm in a vicious cycle that ends with peeling lips. (Yes, I know this from personal experience!)

If you find other products that help alleviate your dryness, please share them below! Thanks for putting in your two cents.