Everybody enjoys having youthful and healthy skin. Unfortunately, if you live where winter is typically cold and dry, you know firsthand how skin changes for the worse. But if you follow some important, basic skin care principles, you can soothe thickened, dry and scaly skin.
Your Skin Needs Nutrients
You may remember a time when your skin was at its most beautiful and youthful—smooth, resilient and blemish-free. What made it healthy? It was largely due to the absorption of crucial nutrients. To remain soft, elastic and healthy, your skin requires optimal nutrition.
Optimal nutrition refers to the foods that build healthy tissue and are not inflammatory in nature. Not included in this category, for example, is refined sugar with its adverse effects on skin (noted in scientific literature).
Sugar causes a long list of skin harm:
- Causing premature aging due to a decline in tissue elasticity and function. Essentially, the more sugar you eat, the more elasticity and function you lose. 
- Boosting the uncontrolled growth of Candida albicans yeast infections. 
- Decreasing the amount of growth hormones in the body. 
- Wrinkling the skin by changing the nature of collagen. 
- Playing a causative role in the formation and continuation of acne. 
- Promoting “leaky gut” syndrome and intestinal dysbiosis (disrupted milieu of gut microbiology, including yeast); increased intestinal dysbiosis is associated with the severity of eczema in children. 
The micronutrients needed for healthy skin include: omega 3 fatty acids, lauric acid (in coconut oil), fiber, phytonutrients and the B vitamins as well as vitamins A, C and E.
These nutrients are mostly in whole foods such as nuts, leafy green (and colorful) vegetables, fresh fruits, seeds and legumes. Fish is important, too.
You don’t have to memorize which micronutrients are in which foods. Just remember that whole, fresh foods are all generally high in micronutrients, so make them the primary foods in your meals.
Eliminate processed, refined, chemicalized, fake foods. Avoid white bread, white rice, white sugar, processed meats, processed cheeses, dairy products and juices that are not fresh. Do not eat hydrogenated and trans-fatty foods such as burgers and french fries. Eliminate processed and altered foods that are packaged in boxes, cans or bottles. Beware of crackers, cookies, chips, puddings, sodas, sugary cold cereals, TV dinners, frozen pizzas, etc.
Eliminate Internal Inflammation
Thick, dry, scaly skin characterizes a condition called eczema, which is most prominent in winter. However, eczema is not just from dry and cold air. To me, it is definitely a sign of poor nutrition. It is also a sign of an immune hypersensitivity (allergic) reaction being expressed outwardly.
This low-grade allergic inflammatory process is much like other chronic inflammatory illnesses; the skin displays signs of it. Because inflammation comes from internal processes, there may be a need for internal detoxification. That’s why my patients report their skin to be clearer and smoother than ever after a liquid cleanse.
Consider also how dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) is not even a dry condition, but represents an oily skin condition that is flaky and scaly. Conventional medicine maintains that the cause of this is unknown. Newer wisdom says it is really a sign of an internal allergy or nutrient deficiency. Dandruff clears up after a liquid cleanse followed by nutrient-rich, mostly raw, “cleansing” food nutrition. This combination is the most important path to healthy skin.
Keep Skin Hydrated
Your skin’s moisture level can be compromised by over-cleaning with harsh soaps containing chemicals. These can strip your skin of oils it needs to keep hydrated. Pools and hot tubs can do this, too, because of their chlorine and bromine content.
Lotions, creams and ointments applied topically are always a good way to help reduce the effects of dry, cold air. They contain nutrients that can penetrate directly to where they are needed most.
I use a moisturizing ointment containing the nutritional and anti-inflammatory ingredients calendula, marshmallow root, comfrey, beeswax and olive oil. Always use topical treatments that do not contain allergenic synthetic chemicals. Instead, look for products with hydrating agents such as hyaluronic acid, collagen-building proteins, healing herbs and minerals.
To great skin and feeling good,
Michael Cutler, M.D.
Easy Health Options
 Cerami, A, et al. “Glucose and Aging.” Scientific American. May 1987: 90. Also, Lee, A T. and Cerami, A “The Role of Glycation in Aging.” Annals N Y Acad Sci. 1992; 663:63-67.
 Crook, WJ. The Yeast Connection. (TN: Professional Books, 1984).
 Gardner, L, Reiser, S. “Effects of Dietary Carbohydrate on Fasting Levels of Human Growth Hormone and Cortisol.” Proc Soc Exp Bioi Med. 1982; 169: 36-40.
 Dyer, D. G., et al. “Accumulation of Maillard Reaction Products in Skin Collagen in Diabetes and Aging.” J Clin Invest. 1993; 93(6): 421-422.
 Selva, D.M., et al. “Monosaccharide-induced Lipogenesis Regulates the Human Hepatic Sex Hormone-binding Globulin Gene.” J Clin Invest. 2007;117(12):3979–3987. Found online at: http://www.jci.org/articles/view/32249
 Aleshukina AV. Intestine dysbiosis and atopic dermatitis in young children. Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol. 2012 Sep-Oct;(5):84-9. [Article in Russian]