Body Sense

WINTER | 2019

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Page 11 of 16—your resource for all things bodywork 11 Chapped lips, itchy skin, redness, and peeling are all common dry-skin symptoms as winter's brutal cold and sharp winds settle in for the season. And, while many assume these issues are related to dry skin, it may be more perennial dehydrated skin. DRY SKIN VS. DEHYDRATED SKIN As a general definition, dehydration means your body is taking in less water than it's losing. Therefore, dehydrated skin lacks water—compared to dry skin, which typically lacks natural oil. More simply put, dry skin is a skin type, while dehydrated skin is a condition usually related to other lifestyle factors. Dehydrated skin can affect anyone, regardless of skin type, pore size, or genetics. Unlike other factors that may contribute to dry skin, like psoriasis or eczema, these conditions don't cause dehydrated skin. Dehydrated skin can also cause dullness, darker under-eye circles, increased appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and shadows around the eyes. LIFESTYLE FACTORS The usual suspects of prematurely aged skin also play a role in dehydrated skin: smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and too much sun exposure. As both alcohol and caffeine are considered diuretics, reducing (or eliminating) these will benefit both skin appearance and hydration status. A diet of high-sodium, processed foods and low-water plant-based foods is more likely to Dry skin is a skin type, while dehydrated skin is a condition usually related to other lifestyle factors. result in dehydrated skin, as the body receives hydration not just from liquids but from vitamin-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. HOW TO TREAT DEHYDRATED SKIN Because dehydrated skin is a condition, it's fairly easy to treat with lifestyle changes. It's a no-brainer that the first recommendation is adequate hydration. Start with the old rule of eight glasses of water per day, but know that this number isn't based on research but more on best practices. Heavier and more active individuals will need more. A visual urine test is a simple way to ensure you are getting enough water—pale is good, dark isn't. Eating a more plant-based diet will also help you replenish water and essential antioxidants. This time of year, that means loading up on citrus fruits, apples, pears, beans, avocados, and carrots—and swapping heavy cream-based soups for broth-based low-sodium ones. And did we say water? Alex Caspero is a St. Louis-based registered dietitian, specializing in plant-based diets, weight management, and sports nutrition. Her blog, Delish Knowledge, focuses on simple, healthy recipes. Caspero is also the author of Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation (Page Street Publishing, 2016). Test the Waters Is Your Skin Dry, or Dehydrated? By Alex Caspero

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