Dry, cracked winter skin got you down?
News UpdateBy Michael Greger MDInstead of treating sensitive skin topically, with lotions and creams, why not treat it from theinside out with diet?About half of the American population says they have sensitive skin, defined loosely astingling, chafing, burning, itching sensations when exposed to various environmental factors. Asimilar high prevalence has been reported throughout Japan and Europe, and it appearsespecially prevalent among women. Often there are no obvious signs, so it was dismissed as a“princess and the pea” phenomenon by the medical community. Now it’s largely recognized asa genuine physiological phenomenon, thought to arise from a breakdown of the skin barrier thatallows potentially irritating substances to penetrate the skin and generate an inflammatoryreaction. So what can we do about it?In 2011, a paper was published entitled “Supplementation of Flaxseed Oil Diminishes SkinSensitivity and Improves Skin Barrier Function and Condition.” In a randomized double-blind12-week study, researchers gave women about a half teaspoon of flaxseed oil a day versussafflower oil as a control. That’s the amount of oil found in about a teaspoon and a half of flaxseeds.To measure skin sensitivity they painted an irritant chemical on their forearms, and after threemonths there was significant decrease in skin reddening in the flax group compared to thesafflower group. Their skin ended up significantly better hydrated, had significantly better barrierfunction, was less rough, less scaly, and was smootherThe best source of flaxseed oil is within the flaxseed itself. Then you get all the nutrition of thewhole food, and it’s cheaper and more stable than the oil. Make sure to grind them up tomaximize nutrient absorption. Unlike flaxseed oil, you can bake flaxseeds without destroying theomega 3s, and you can even store ground flaxseed for a month at room temperature withoutspoilage or oxidation.Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional1 / 2
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