Dr. Dawna Ara, DACM

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Natural Ways to Keep Your Skin Hydrated

Suffering from dry skin? How about an itchy dry throat? The recent weather changes in Southern California have been a great conversation starter but have left me (and I’m sure some of you) with dry and irritated skin.

In Chinese Medicine Fall is the time of the metal element which rules the Lung and Large Intestine meridians. To keep things simple, these meridians are in charge of the dispersion of body fluids, or in other words they help to keep the body properly moisturized. During fall dryness dominates, irritating the lungs causing us to have problems with hydration. Our skin, hair, and eyes can becomes dry, the throat can become itchy, and respiratory problems like asthma can emerge. If the large intestine becomes dry we could suffer from constipation.

To better help you I have created a list of 10 things things you can do at home that will protect your body from dryness and allow your body to regain moisture quickly and naturally.

1. First things first. Hydrate hydrate hydrate! Stay hydrated by drinking water. Stop drinking soda, coffee, and alcohol as these will dehydrate you. To all the smokers out there- stop smoking! Smoking not only dehydrates you but it causes a wide range of serious life threatening diseases.

2. Eat foods like avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, honey, pumpkin, kelp, spinach, flax, salmon, berries, and watermelon. These foods are moisturizing and will help your digestive system to stay happy, healthy, and hydrated.

3. Your skin has a natural oil barrier to protect you from the elements and guess what that barrier is made out of? That’s right, Omega 3! So take your omega 3 supplement along with vitamin C, D3, and B vitamins.

4. Don’t exacerbate the problem by taking long hot showers. Hot water can actually wash away the bodies own protective oils leaving your skin dry and tight feeling. To avoid this I recommend taking shorter (5 minutes or less) lukewarm showers.

5. Be sure to use a chemical free moisturizing liquid soap like Jason’s Satin Liquid Soap or Alba’s Shower Gel. Don’t use Dr. Bronner’s. I repeat, If you have dry skin do not use Dr. Bronner’s. Yes its a natural cleanser but it will dry out your skin causing further complications.

6. After showering apply a high fat natural body moisturizer like pure coconut or almond oil while still damp to lock in moisture. Again, make sure your moisturizer is chemical and scent free. For your face good moisturizers include Dr. Hauschka’s Rose Cream, Alba’s Night Time Rejuvenation Oil, and Juice Beauty’s Nutrient Moisturizer.

7. Wear clothes that are made out of natural fibers like cotton or bamboo. These fabrics allow your skin to breathe and are less likely to cause irritation. Avoid wearing itchy fabrics like wool sweaters or polyester pants.

8. Be sure to launder your clothes in chemical & perfume free natural laundry detergent. Good ones include Seventh Generation, ECOS, Tide Free, or All for sensitive skin.

9. Limit your use of air conditioning and heating. Both of these blow dry air around which can dry out and irritate your skin, throat, and lungs.

10. Use a humidifier at night while sleeping. This will help to protect against dry & sore throat, as well as dry skin, and dry mucus membranes. If you are prone to respiratory problems a humidifier will help to ease the symptoms.

As always consult your primary care physician before making any major health decisions.

About Dr. Dawna Ara, DACM
Dr. Dawna Ara is an acupuncturist, herbalist, functional medicine practitioner, a mom, wife, writer, foodie and nature lover. She teaches her patients how to live a healthy lifestyle.