Dr. Perricone's Pick: Omega 3 Supplements
Dr. Perricone Discusses

Dry Winter Skin

Understanding the causes of dry, winter skin is the first step in effectively preventing and treating it. What may surprise people is that the visible dryness they’re seeing on their skin is the manifestation of chronic, sub-clinical (invisible to the eye) inflammation. While its true that low temperatures, high wind chill and drying, indoor heating systems impact skin, there is almost always underlying inflammation. This means that to successfully treat dry skin, we need to reduce inflammation, through diet, targeted supplements and topicals.

Tier 1 - Treatment from the Inside Out
For optimum resolution and the fastest results, I recommend a 3- tiered anti-inflammatory program. You can counter the causes of dry, flakey skin internally by following the anti-inflammatory diet and ensuring you have adequate intake of healthy fats such as those found in fish, fish oil, extra virgin olive oil, etc. While topicals can do wonders, it is of critical important to remember the dietary component, which can both cause and worsen the condition of your skin.

Tier 2 - Get Glowing with Supplements
Taking nourishing, antioxidant-rich supplements that contain Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) and Omega 3’s, both of which yield gratifying and visible results in the skin. I highly recommend a supplement regimen that includes ALA because it works synergistically with other antioxidants in the skin to reduce the damaging inflammatory effects of ultraviolet radiation. Its antioxidant properties act as natural anti-inflammatories to counter dry, flaky skin.

Another supplement I advise patients not to be without is a high quality Omega-3 supplement. I’ve seen some of the most dramatic results in terms of skin transformation with those who have chronically dry skin who begin an Omega 3 supplement regimen. They’ll quickly feel the difference in their skin and notice diminished dryness and increase in suppleness and radiance.

Tier 3 - Topical Nourishment
The right topical can work wonders to relieve dry skin. One of the most effective ways to nourish dry skin is to ensure that the proper nutrients are being supplied. This is one of the main reasons I developed the Cold Plasma delivery system. At its very core, it is a carrier system capable of delivering vital nutrients that are needed for optimum cellular function. Cold Plasma, thanks to its sophisticated delivery system, is the ideal medium to introduce glycosaminoglycans (precursors to collagen) in a topical formula to help supply the skin with what it needs for optimal health.

Glycosaminoglycans are needed by the skin to produce the matrix of collagen and elastin absolutely necessary for youthful skin. Higher levels of glycosaminoglycans show evidence of new collagen production in the skin. It has long been a goal of scientists working in dermatology to find methods of increasing levels of the glycosaminoglycans in the skin, to give a more youthful appearance by building the underlying matrix. In fact, it is the impairment of glycosaminoglycans synthesis that results in much of the functional alterations (i.e. damage and destruction) of aged skin.

As always, and especially with dry skin, avoid harsh, granular exfoliators. These "scrubs" may make skin feel smooth immediately, but typically cause more damage over time due to abrasion, which leads to thin, papery skin. Instead, use a gentle, non-acidic exfoliator that removes only the dead skin.

Finally, it is imperative that you protect skin from harsh weather conditions (wind, cold, sun) with a non-chemical, broad spectrum sunscreen. You may not be able to see the sun, but the rays are still reaching you. This is particularly important around reflective surfaces, such as snow.

With these small alterations in your skincare routine and diet, you'll have skin that glows all year long.

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