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!


  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!

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

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


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.


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 Are Probiotics Good For?

[Audio Transcript]
Hello, Dr. Janine Krause here and I am going to talk about what are probiotics good for today? It’s a common question I get from a lot of my patients so I’m in a break it down for you. The big deal with probiotics is that they help us to break down the food that we consume, and in particular they also help us to be able to unlock the nutrients from the food that we consume. All too often, in my office, I see that people are deficient in vitamin B12, and vitamin D, and also a lot of the minerals such as calcium selenium and magnesium, in particular. In fact, magnesium is one of the most deficient minerals in all of the folks that I see and so where do we get it from? Well we’re breaking it down. Those probiotics break down all of our minerals, B vitamins, vitamins A and D and allows us to you utilize those nutrients, and if it we do not have sufficient amounts of beneficial bacteria, we don’t get those nutrients and so we might be eating as healthy as we possibly can but if we are deficient in a sufficient amount of probiotics beneficial bacteria we are not getting any of those good minerals and vitamins from our food, and so we have to supplement. And that’s unfortunate because definitely you’re spending the money on the food you might as well get something out of it. Probiotics also help us to produce something called short-chain fatty acids these are what we use for energy for cellular energy. And what’s quite cool about short chain fatty acids is that they also help with signaling to tell us if were full or for not, and so, you know, if you’re constantly walking around going I’m hungry I’m hungry I just can’t get full. It could be because you’re lacking on the beneficial bacteria that help you to create short chain fatty acids, and so that’s one reason that it’s not necessarily your fault that you’re hungry and this willpower thing could be a fundamental issue that’s happening in your belly and has nothing to do with the primary brain. As I always called the belly the second brain, and so the short chain fatty acids are key component here. Along the same lines with each short-chain fatty acids with the production of energy for our body, we also have this connection between the gut and the brain access. This concept is the connection between the nervous system the endocrine system and Armenian system, and it’s a complicated intertwined system of communication that were only beginning to differentiate and figure out, and at this point it’s quite cool in terms of how our gut really is our second brain, and how a lot of what goes on in terms of what type of of beneficial bacteria you have in your gut have everything to do with your bodies size. With your communication skills. With your ability to think clearly. Why patients come into my office and say I’m so brain fog my brain isn’t working my brain is broken and a lot of times there is nothing wrong appear it’s all in the gut and so often times this is where I tell people it’s really important to do some simple testing. Why? Because that’s gonna tell us what type of bacteria you have in your gut and what we need to work on replacing. The other side of this is looking into, okay, how many different types of environments and toxins are you exposed to during the day? Looking at your job. Looking at all the different homecare products you use and working on getting everything switched over to non-toxic items. The other side of this is how many different medications are you on? Medications will wreak havoc with your gut flora. Also how much stress are you under? Stress has a huge component and its a huge component of causing trouble with what’s going on with the balance in your digestive system flora. We’re taking off a lot of the beneficial soil bacteria. Now granite the other side of this is that our soil is probably quite toxic especially where I live here in Washington state near Tacoma our soil is really toxic. Where I used to live in Colorado our soil was very toxic with all the mining and things of that nature. So you’ve got to be careful of course in terms of the environment in which you growing your foods in. But you know what just bypass it go and take some soil-based bacteria. So you’ve got that. Now the other thing is spore based probiotics. I love those as well. Why? They’re kinda like the babies to the probiotics and they last longer through the digestive system and then they just release and start their chemical see and then they start their neighborhoods and families and so I like to have people rotating through all of those. Then after you get a little bit established with your portfolio there. Then you can start to eat fermented foods, the sauerkraut and all those things because for a lot of people if you just hit that hard and start that out you’re going to have a ton more gas and bloating and digestive upset and so today my big thing that I wanted to express to everybody is that probiotics are absolutely useful to help you break down your food, but also they’re useful for you to be able to get key vitamins in nutrients in your diet and they help with your brain function and who doesn’t want a sharper brain. My goodness I want to be sharp up until hundred and 15 and so if you are looking for all of that then you need to make sure you get on your probiotics. Start slow, ramp up. Watch some of my other videos they give you other tips on how to ramp up the probiotics. Thank you for watching on Dr. Janine Krause.

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