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article imageGood-bye dry skin: Doctor offers natural tips to keep you glowing Special

By Alexandra Christopoulos     Sep 19, 2011 in Health
Toronto - As summer gives way to fall, there is a certain looking on with anticipation: like the way the sun feels as it changes, the colour of autumn leaves and perhaps even the melancholy of grey Novembers. But the crisp air can also bring on dry skin.
Flaky, patchy and sometimes downright irritating, it isn't always easy replacing skin's moisture when the long, blustery, windy days ahead may zap it out.
Based in Toronto, Dr. Crystal Chanderbahn, who practices naturopathy, shares her expertise, as well as some pointers to help keep your complexion glowing all year round.
First, the doctor reminds that whatever is happening to one's skin is often a reflection of what is taking place inside the body.
"With cooler weather, the humidity decreases and this is what makes our skin feel dry or chapped sometimes. But for some patients, their skin is chronically dry year round and it isn't necessarily as prominent in the summer's heat, when we perspire more often," the doctor says.
To tell whether your skin may be dry as a part of seasonal changes, or if it is the result of a more persisting problem, Chanderbahn advises to keep a close watch, and if the skin is still affected after two months, it is time to make a doctor's appointment.
The same goes for any other skin related problem, such as acne, she says.
At the onset of dry patches, however, Chanderbahn explains this is a sign of dehydration and so, her first tip is to drink up! (Water, that is). She suggests keeping a container nearby as often as possible, even leaving one on top of the desk and filling it up with cucumber or lemon slices, for a refreshing break at work.
Secondly, the doctor notes we should have more sources of essential fatty acids (also known as the good fats) in our diet. And they are not called essential for nothing. EFA's as they are called, are necessary fats that humans cannot proudce on their own, but must be absorbed for maintaining good health. Chanderbahn recommends working in various sources of them at least two times a week, and may include foods such as salmon, mackerel, dark leafy greens, olive or flaxseed oil, walnuts, almonds and eggs. Not only may you notice a difference in your complexion, but EFA's are also known to boost the immune system.
For a fun, at home spa experience, Chanderbahn suggests stocking up on unrefined coconut oil and using it as a moisturizer after the shower. When buying regular, over the counter moisturizers and lotions, the doctor says patients should be careful that they know what is actually contained in them. Some, for instance, may contain traces of mineral oil, which can block pores, while others may contain much more harmful ingredients, such as parabens, which have potentially been linked to cancer. The Environmental Working Group is an excellent source for research on multiple products.
Lastly, dry brushing the skin before taking a shower or bath may also be helpful in preventing dry skin. Found at many health food stories and fairly inexpensive, dry brushing acts a natural buffer and is also well known for targeting the body's lymphatic system, which helps us in releasing harmful toxins. Starting from the feet, Chanderbahn says patients should use small, circular motions and move up to legs and thighs. Then, continue from the fingertips and arms in the same fashion.
More about Skin care, dry skin, Fall, crystal chanderbahn
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