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Preventing dry skin from the inside

Many skin care products are designed to help retain moisture topically. However, supplementing with certain nutrients can go a long way toward avoiding dry skin in the first place. "Internal nutrition is a like a cake, and topical skin care is the icing," says Benjamin Fuchs, R.Ph., formulator for Sanitas Skincare. Below, Ben shares his knowledge about preventing dry skin from the inside.

First and foremost, essential fatty acids (EFAs) have major benefits for maintaining skin hydration. Omega 3s and 6s reduce inflammation which has been blamed for depriving the skin of nutrients and causing secondary dryness. Both of these essential fatty acids are involved in the production of skin factors such as phospholipids and ceramides, which contribute to overall skin health and moisture.

Secondly, overall skin health is closely connected to vitamin A metabolism. That's why skin manifestations of vitamin A deficiency classically involve dryness. Supplementing with this important nutrient can have a profound effect on skin hydration and the proliferation of excess skin cells that can show up as flakiness or milea.

Vitamin C is also of critical importance to skin softness and moisture levels. Not only is this nutrient involved in protecting the skin from environmental assaults that can disable the skin's moisturizing machinery, but this fundamentally important substance is also involved in the production of skin moisture factors. For example, the production of certain ceramides and sphingosines-important precursors to skin moisture factors-depend on vitamin C.

Of course, without effective digestion and absorption, the intake of nutrients may not result in health benefits. This underscores an often times missed aspect of skin care. Digestive symptoms like discomfort or bloating after meals generally signals a potential concern. If you experience digestive discomfort, consider taking digestive supplement aids like enzymes, probiotics, betaine HCl, pharmaceutical HCl drops or herbal stomach bitters before meals.

Dry skin is inevitable without key nutrients like EFAs, vitamins A and C, and perhaps digestive support. The good news is that dry skin, like many other health conditions, is rapidly responsive to appropriate nutritional supplementation. Within days to weeks of implementing a good nutritional program, the skin's natural health and moisture can begin to be restored.

Contributed by Benjamin Fuchs, formulator for Sanitas Skincare

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