HOW TO FIX ITCHY SKIN

Do you struggle with dry itchy skin and battle cracking skin each winter? According to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 81 million Americans report experiencing dry, itchy or scaly skin during the winter months.

Why is the winter so brutal on our skin?

In the winter humidity drops and with that there’s in increase in water loss from our skin. Healthy skin is compromised of 20-35% water yet in the winter months it can drop to 10%!

That drop in water content leaves our skin dry, itchy and extremely vulnerable as our outer layer of our skin, the stratum corneum, loses some of it’s ability to protect us from viruses, bacteria and skin damage.

Our skin cells are linked together in sheets in a fashion much like tiles and mortar. The cells being the tiles and the mortar being the nutrients that you must have ample amounts of to keep that skin layer intact. The cells of outer layer of skin contain the protein keratin and substances called natural moisturizing factors (NMFs). The keratin and NMFs work together to hold water in the skin, while attracting more water to maintain skin hydration and flexibility. The only problem is that keratin and NMFs are water soluble and can become dehydrated with excess showering, swimming, hot tubbing and hand washing.

The mortar between our “skin tiles” contains nutrients that are key to preserving skin hydration. The most important of those nutrients are ceramides. Ceramides are a combination of fatty acids and cholesterol. Ceramides combine with sweat to create an acid mantle barrier to keep out bacteria and viruses while they prevent water loss from the natural moisturizing factors in the skin cells. Ceramides are responsible for maintaining smooth skin texture. Examples of ceramides are:

  • When the skin is dehydrated and has and fewer fatty acids to lubricate and maintain it’s protective barrier the skin is not able to exfoliate properly.
  • When the skin can’t exfoliate it allows for a build up of dead skin that results in an “ashy”, white hazy, flaky appearance.
  • When the skin is “ashy” it’s vulnerable, prone to infection and will start to age faster as it’s not able to heal itself at this point!

SO WHAT DO YOU DO?

  1. Grab an exfoliant - I like Eminence’s Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant – it’s marketed for the face but works well on the entire body – after all it’s all the same type of skin! Use it daily.
  2. Get a glycerine based, ceramide rich moisturizer or serum. I love HydroPeptide’s Firming Moisturizer – it provides long lasting hydration and works to prevent wrinkles, scars, and skin discoloration that can come with friction induced injuries when the skin is dry. Note: It’s marketed as a slimming cream however, it’s my go to with Le Mieux’s Derma Relief Serum for preventing winter itch!
    http://lemieuxcosmetics.com/derma-relief-serum

I also have used Skin Active’s ELS (Every Lipid Serum) with great success as well. Check it out at:
www.skinactives.com

You’ll want to grab a few bottles as you’ll go through it faster when using it on the entire body.

DIY:

You can make your own exfoliants as well as moisturizing serums.

Rice Flour Exfoliant – Grab some Organic Rice Flour – put a tablespoon in your palm and drop some water into the palm till you make a paste. Massage into the skin in a circular motion.

Moisturizing Aloe Oil:

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons aloe vera juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin
  • 5 teaspoons jojoba oil (carrot seeds oil is great here too)
  • 30 drops lavender oil or other essential oils (optional)
  1. Put all of your ingredients in your blender and blend on low for just a couple of seconds. You can also place the ingredients in a glass jar and give it a good shake.
  2. Place the mixture in a glass jar and store in the fridge. Give the jar a good shake before each application.
    Keeps in the fridge for a few weeks.
    healthyblenderrecipes.com

PROTOCOL:

Daily exfoliation

Twice daily application of the moisturizer, oil or serum of your choice

Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day

Get in good fats into your diet to help with your body’s reserves of fatty acids for the skin cells – I add in 4 tbsp of expeller pressed olive, unrefined coconut or avocado oil daily into dressings, cook with it and drizzle it over veggies from November to March.

Itching and bumps? Add in carrot seed oil to your daily regimen or consider using Say Yes to Carrots Moisturizer in addition to one of the ceramide rich options above.

Consider going low histamine for a while as histamines are proteins that can increase itching in the body. Here’s a list of all the high histamine foods – avoid these for a month or at the least try not to eat more than one of the items on the list in a day and see how the skin responds.

Histamine-Rich Foods (including fermented foods):

  • Alcoholic beverages, especially beer and wine.
  • Anchovies
  • Avocados
  • Cheeses, especially aged or fermented cheese, such as parmesan, blue and Roquefort.
  • Cider and home-made root beer.
  • Dried fruits such as apricots, dates, prunes, figs and raisins (you may be able to eat these fruits - without reaction - if the fruit is thoroughly washed).
  • Eggplant
  • Fermented foods, such as pickled or smoked meats, sauerkraut, etc.
  • Mackerel
  • Mushrooms
  • Processed meats - sausage, hot dogs, salami, etc.
  • Sardines
  • Smoked fish - herring, sardines, etc.
  • Sour cream, sour milk, buttermilk, yogurt - especially if not fresh.
  • Soured breads, such as pumpernickel, coffee cakes and other foods made with large amounts of yeast.
  • Spinach, tomatoes
  • Vinegar or vinegar-containing foods, such as mayonnaise, salad dressing, ketchup, chili sauce, pickles, pickled beets, relishes, olives.
  • Yogurt

Histamine-Releasing Foods:

  • Alcohol
  • Bananas
  • Chocolate
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Papayas
  • Pineapple
  • Shellfish
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

Note: I do not receive any compensation from the companies mentioned in this post. I love their products and want to share the knowledge.

WHAT TO AVOID WHEN YOU THINK YOU HAVE FOOD SENSITIVITIES

Are you gassy, bloated, suffering from stomach aches, brain fog, fatigue, irritability, migraines, itchy skin, hives, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, muscles or joint pain? You suspect it’s a food but not sure where to start? Eliminating the most common food allergens is one place to start to reduce inflammation in your gut.

GO GRAIN FREE

Gluten isn’t the only grain on the block causing trouble. Gluten free grains/seeds can be problematic too – oats, rice, buckwheat, amaranth, millet and quinoa can irritate as well. Gluten containing grains: couscous, tabouli, kamut, spelt, kamut, farro, durum, bulgur, semolina, barley, rye, triticale and non-gluten free oats. Ditch these for a bit to give the gut lining a break.

GO DAIRY FREE

Dairy products from cows are hard for humans to digest and typically it’s either the casein, a milk protein or lactose, a milk sugar that cause trouble. Goat’s milk seems to be an option for some while others may do well with almond, flax, coconut or cashew milk. The alternative milks may be an irritant due to their added stabilizers such as guar gum and carrageenan. It is best to either make your own milks from nuts or seeds or consider coconut milk from non-BPA lined cans

GO NIGHTSHADE FREE

Avoid the common nightshade veggies – tomato, potato (this means sweet potato too), eggplant, peppers (paprika, black pepper, bell pepper, spicy peppers) and goji berries

AVOID LEGUMES

Legumes: lentils, peas, peanuts, soybeans, chick peas, green beans and anything else that carries the bean name behind it. Soybeans aka edamame are legumes and can irritate your digestive system lining as they are one of the most genetically modified foods on the market. Legumes are hard for humans to breakdown and most of us consume portions beyond what we can break down. Let your gut lining heal a bit by avoiding these guys for a while.

GO LOW HISTAMINE

Histamines play a huge factor in food sensitivities. Avoid these high histamine foods and let your belly heal: strawberries, bananas, avocado, nuts, lunch meats, cured meats (sausages/bacon), olives, aged cheese, food that has been sitting out for more than a few hours, left overs past one day, shellfish, anchovies, alcohol, beans, pickled or fermented foods, smoked meat, chocolate, vinegar, papaya, citrus fruits and teas with caffeine.

AVOID PROCESSED FOODS

If you are consuming foods that are not in their natural state that nature intended ie: in boxes, bags or frozen ; you are adding extra preservatives and color additives to your diet that you can be sensitive to.

GO WITH ORGANIC WHEN YOU
CAN

You don’ t have to purchase everything organic but make sure that apples, celery, nectarines, peaches, pears, blueberries, grapes, strawberries, spinach, kale, and collards are all purchased organic as they are heavily treated with pesticides.

EAT SIMPLY

Less is always more in this case. Make meals with 5 ingredients or less so that the body has time to repair and process . Eat proper portions and slow down to focus on your meals. Chew 25 times per bite to not overload your digestive system with huge pieces of food.

www.doctorjkrausend.com

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