Restoring Soft, Youthful Skin
My skin has always been dry, especially in winter. Around age 10, I developed deep painful cracks in my calloused heels. My pediatrician used a scalpel to pare off the rough hard surface, leaving softer skin for a short time. Dryness and cracking resumed control.
My legs were also scaly, my hands rough, and lips chapped. Thick creams and salves only helped me manage the dryness.
Ironically, studying nutrition in college lead to a worsening of my skin issues. Upon learning of the alleged health horrors of dietary fat, I cut out this edible emollient. I cut the butter, nuts, avocado, sauces, and salad dressings. Instead, grains, baked chicken breasts, non-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables became my staples.
The cracks in my heels grew deeper; my legs became itchy and even more scaly. My cheeks looked ruddy and chapped and my hands appeared like those of a lifelong dishwasher. Even my smooth hair became frizzy and brittle.
On top of that, I gained unwanted weight, my blood pressure went up and I started feeling anxious.
I began to wonder about the ubiquitous advice to cut fat. Could the government and medical institutions be wrong? I began taking flax oil. My heels started to heal. Emboldened by seeing other skin improvements, and no weight gain, I started adding a generous pour of olive oil plus avocado and nuts, to salads.
My complexion lost the ruddiness. Sill no weight gain! I added back butter, bacon and plenty of egg yolks. My legs lost their alligator texture and my hair began to shine. My sugar cravings were greatly diminished and my blood pressure normalized. I even lost some belly fat!
What I once thought to be a dietary villain turned out to be my heroine! Now, years later, I routinely get compliments on my skin. It is smooth, youthful and soft. I owe much of this to a high fat diet. I have other skin tricks too.
The following are my top 6 tips for transforming dry, wrinkling, aged skin to more youthful, soft healthy skin (especially in winter).
1. Eat more beneficial fats, especially in winter. Add a full tablespoon of butter to your oatmeal, plus nuts. Cook with generous amounts of ghee, coconut oil, unrefined lard. Be generous with extra virgin olive oil. Use more bacon drippings and duck fat (Women living in the duck fat eating capital Toulouse France are said to have the most beautiful skin in the world). “Healthy” fats include saturated. In fact in one study with 700 Japanese women, those who consumed the most saturated fat had the least wrinkles! Think coconut and palm oils and grass fed beef.
2. Eat more healthy fat-rich foods: avocado, egg YOLKS (no fat in the whites), nuts and seeds, nut butters, wild salmon, grass fed beef, liver pate and mousse, foie and duck. Don’t grab for lean meats, and if you do add back in your own beneficial fats.
3. Try Homeopathic Petroleum. If your skin is dry and you develop cracking in your hands, heels or elsewhere, and it is especially bad in winter, try the homeopathic remedy petroleum 200, one dose every other day until you see relief. (THIS IS NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE GREASY GEL THAT SHOULD NEVER TOUCH YOUR SKIN CALLED PETROLEUM JELLY. In fact, if you have relied on Vaseline-like products at any point in your life, it is even more likely you will benefit from this homeopathic remedy.)
4. Stay hydrated with plenty of hot soups and stews, hot teas, and room temperature water. Staying hydrated keeps your skin cells hydrated and plump. Think of hydration as keeping your skin cells looking more like grapes than raisins.
5. Sip bone broth. Sipping long slow simmered bone broth is the latest anti-aging strategy for reducing wrinkles and restoring youthful skin. Broth from slow cooked pork, poultry or beef bones (and especially feet) delivers collagen and key amino acids that can turn back the clock on your skin as well as restore damaged gut tissue, AND rebuild worn and painful joints. Few things are as delicious and satisfying as a mug of warm bone broth on a cold night.
6. Add aloe vera. One study found a small amount of aloe vera gel taken internally “….significantly improves wrinkle and elasticity in phtotoaged human skin.” Try a morning cocktail with aloe vera liquid, vitamin C powder (another collagen-builder), water and a few ounces of your favorite probiotic drink.
If you are female and your skin still appears aged and dry, check with a doctor knowledgeable about bio-identical hormone creams. Your hormones may need some help. While use of natural hormones is not 100% natural, it can bring anti-aging benefits to your skin and other organs without harmful effects.