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Feed Your Face: What to Eat to Fight Dry Skin

By Dr Jessica Wu

Do you have dry, itchy patches on your body? Do your legs look lizardy? Now that temperatures are falling, many of us are spending more time in dry indoor heat, which means our skin is suffering. In addition to using body lotion on the outside to soothe your skin, it also helps to eat the right foods. Here’s how to lubricate from within:

Try hemp. Hemp seed oil is pressed from the seeds of nondrug varieties of cannabis, which means it doesn’t contain THC, the hallucinogen found in marijuana. (So, no -- I’m not giving you an excuse to get high.) It's packed, however, with protein and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. Studies have shown that dietary hemp seed oil may improve hydration and reduce itching and dryness. Try it on salads (in place of olive oil) or mixed into hummus and smoothies. Just remember that hemp seed oil must be refrigerated, and it’s not meant to be cooked, so you can’t use it to sauté your veggies.

Go fishing. Oily fish like salmon and trout are rich in a type of omega-3 fatty acid called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which has been shown to help relieve dryness and itching. If you’re a vegetarian, you can substitute an algae oil supplement for the fish.

Drink up. You might not feel as thirsty as you do when the weather’s warm, but it’s just as important to stay hydrated in cool weather. In fact, you can lose more water through your skin in the winter than you do by sweating in the summer. Get your fluids by drinking water, juice, and caffeine-free tea and coffee and by eating soup.

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