Dry Skin & Diet
Dry skin is not considered a serious condition, but may be very uncomfortable, depending the severity. Severe cases of chronic dry skin are called eczema, and occasionally will call for medical intervention. Dietary interventions are not typically part of dry skin treatment, but there are some potential supplements that when taken orally may decrease symptoms.
Dry skin or eczema is caused by a variety of issues, such as weather, exposure to toxins and use of irritating soaps. Dry skin is not known to be caused by dietary factors. No specific vitamins or minerals have proven to cause or prevent dry skin, but a few popular dietary supplements have been tested for the effectiveness in treating dry skin and eczema.
Licorice root was used in traditional Chinese medicine as a dry skin treatment. Today, licorice root is a herb most commonly used is to flavor candies, snacks and beverages. Licorice candy in the United States contains less licorice root than European licorice candies, which can be purchased in the United States. According to four randomized controlled studies, a mixture of herbs than included licorice had greater effectiveness in treating eczema compared to a placebo. More research is currently needed using licorice as the sole ingredient in treatment before it can be clinically recommended.
Published in the British Journal of Dermatology by Dr BM Henz et al in 1999, was a double blind, placebo controlled study that used oil containing gamma linolenic acid as an oral treatment for eczema patients. Compared to the placebo group, the group taking the oil had an improvement of eczema symptoms. Overall, this improvement was not statistically significant, but with more research the benefits of treating dry skin with gamma-linolenic acid may be known in the future. There are no typical food sources for gamma-linolenic acid, but it is found in evening primrose oil, borage oil and black currant oil.
Acidophilus is rumoured to treat dry skin conditions. Acidophilus is found in yogurts containing live lactobacillus acidophilus cultures, kefir and acidophilus milk. However, acidophilus has proven to improve eczema symptoms his infants with a genetic pre disposition to the condition. When fed acidophilus via breast milk, done by providing the mother with a supplement, infants had a decrease of symptoms until up to two years of age. No research was found that tested acidophilus' effect on adults with dry skin.
Dry Skin Diet
While the current research linking dry skin to diet it very limited, it is important to keep a well balanced diet to prevent any nutrient deficiencies. The United States Department of Agriculture has developed the MyPyramid tool, available on their website that provides recommendations for maintaining health and preventing disease.
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