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Soothing severely dry skin

Soft as a baby’s…well, you know

Q: I’m gearing up for my usual winter battle with horribly dry skin. Lotion only works for a little while, and then the effect fades. What can I do?

Dr. Wright: Since 1973, I’ve worked with at least one person every week who has dry skin, ranging from just a little to a whole lot. But around eight weeks later, the vast majority of these individuals no longer have any dry skin at all. The solution is usually as simple as adding more essential fatty acids to their diet and supplement programs.

Essential-fatty-acid supplementation for adult skin health starts with a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The best single oil for this purpose presently available is flaxseed oil; however, there are many balanced blends of omega-3/omega-6 EFAs also available.

How much should you use? Quantities can vary from 1 to 2 tablespoons (in a very few cases, 3 tablespoons) daily. To figure out whether your dry skin is due to a higher requirement for EFAs, it’s wisest to start by taking 2 tablespoons daily and observing any changes over six to eight weeks. After that time, if your skin is less dry, the quantity can be adjusted accordingly.

Essential-fatty-acid supplements should always be accompanied by vitamin E in the form of mixed tocopherols, 400 to 800 IU daily. In a very few cases, EFAs aren’t nearly as effective without a small quantity (2-5 milligrams daily) of biotin. What is…biotin?

Biotin is a member of the B-complex family of vitamins. It is essential to the breakdown of carbohydrates and fat. Foods high in biotin include nuts and green leafy vegetables.