by Jon Moma, ND
Healthy, happy, and hydrated! That is my sincere desire for all of my patients, most of whom will, at some point during the course of working together, complain about something skin related. In fact, in 2014, skin related issues were among the top 5 reasons patients saw their doctor. The health marketplace for skin care is among the most prolific and wide-ranging across all age groups and genders. Our skin is undoubtedly important to us, both as a representation of our identity and a sign of our health and vitality.
Keeping the skin looking healthy, feeling hydrated, and functioning well can be a challenge, especially in between seasons as the humidity and temperatures change and the body often struggles to adjust. In addition to changes in the climate, the natural aging process will contribute somewhat to the breakdown of vital proteins found in the dermis, such as collagen and elastin, both responsible for the skin’s youthful appearance, supple texture, and preventing dehydration.
The health of your skin, much like the rest of your body, is greatly affected by what you eat. To start, I recommend a diet low in sugar with an emphasis on nutrients such as vitamin A, or its food-derived cousin beta-carotene (found in kale, spinach, sweet potato, carrots and other colorful vegetables), vitamin C (found in oranges, red pepper, kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli), and anti-oxidants (found in blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries). Increasing your intake of these nutrients helps ensure integrity of the different skin layers, increasing their capacity to maintain moisture, and preventing the progression of the aging process.
In addition to diet, targeted supplementation with Type 1 and Type 3 collagen proteins, along with omega-3 fatty acids, will help ensure the body has the proper building blocks necessary for the formation of healthy and hydrated skin. Work with your doctor to ensure you are receiving the correct therapeutic dosages of these nutrients.
Topically, I tend to recommend moisturizers that contain hemp seed oil. I have had great success with patients of all skin types having improvement in skin moisture with hemp oil as it contains a great complement of omega 3 fatty acid, vital proteins, and nutrients. In addition to daily moisturizing lotion, I counsel patients to exfoliate the skin with a salt scrub once a week to release the dead skin of the
epidermis, encouraging growth of new skin cells.
Possibly the most important and yet often overlooked step to take for healthy and hydrated skin is ensuring adequate clean water intake. The average adult will require a minimum of 80 ounces per day. For every caffeinated beverage, juice or other high sugar item, add an equal amount of water on top of that.
To address the aging process and constant environmental adversities the skin encounters, it is vital to have strategies in place that are multifaceted and comprehensive in their approach. Nourishing the skin from both the inside and out will ensure your skin can thrive amid all the challenges it must face.
Jon Moma, ND, is a licensed physician at Federal Way Naturopathy. He specializes in cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders and men’s health. For more information visit fwnmedical.com or call