Having a dry skin is a major concern among many women today as it requires extra care and attention. If you are one of the many women who have dry skin, then you are aware that lotions and moisturizers are helpful. But were you conscious of the fact that by making certain dietary choices, you can combat dry, itchy and scaly skin?
Dermatologist Amy Newburger who is an attending physician in the Dermatology Department at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Medical Center states that ‘The most significant part of the skin barrier are lipids. These are inclusive of phospholipids, free fatty acids, cholesterol, and ceramides.’ She further educates that a skin without sufficient fat has a tendency to be protein predominant and thus is a mess made out of twigs without any glue between them. Water can easily escape through this barrier without the presence of lipids thus allowing your skin to get dehydrated and dry.
The essential component that is required for the production of intercellular lipids are the polyunsaturated fatty acids. They act as the glue between the twigs in the stratum corneum on the surface of the skin. This is also responsible for having an anti-inflammatory effect on the irritated skin. There are two main kinds of fatty acids namely Omega 3s and Omega 6s.
Food that is a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids is fatty fish like salmon, flaxseed oil, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, grass-fed beef, herring, eggs, etc. Foods that are a rich source of Omega 6s are evening primrose oil and borage seed oil as this help to enhance the hydration levels of the skin and refrains the water from escaping. If you are not fond of fish or if you are pregnant and are not able to eat fish than you may consume Omega-3 supplements. As per recent market research, it is found that most Americans get their Omega-6s through their diet as they cooked in corn and safflower oil.
Research has still to confirm with proof towards the anecdotal success of fatty acids with regards to that are responsible for alleviating dry skin. However, there are several studies which have shown significant benefits. A study which was conducted in 2006 shows that about 50 patients had atopic dermatitis and 96% of them were prescribed with evening primrose oil for a time span of 5 months. These showed an effective notable reduction in the intensity, itching, and dryness of the skin. Another study which involved 29 elderly patients were made to take borage seed oil supplements, and this helped to reduce water loss from their skin by almost 10.8%. In a meta-analysis which was conducted in 2006 inclusive of 22 studies had done a test of essential fatty acid supplementation which found that no significant benefits were derived from the people with atopic dermatitis either by a plant of fish oil supplements. Therefore, researchers are working on more studies before a final conclusion can be reached.