Keeping the skin moist is a crucial part to healthy, attractive skin. The body naturally secretes oil from the sebaceous glands. The oil provides a protective layer that prevents excessive evaporation of the moisture from the skin's top layer. Moisture is brought by the blood stream and supplied to the skin cells. It is the water contained in the skin cells that keeps them pumped up, healthy and youthful-looking. Dry skin has a tendency to look dull and readily develops wrinkles and fine lines. The parts of the body that are usually exposed are most commonly dry, especially in the winter months, like the face, hands and neck.

Poor nutrition can contribute to dry skin, along with environmental factors, such as exposure to sun, wind, cold, chemicals, smoke, some cosmetics and excessive bathing, especially with harsh soaps, can also make the skin dry.

Some helpful supplements are:

Vitamin A- helps strengthen the skin.

Primrose oil - for essential fatty acids.

Zinc -an antioxidant will stop free radical damage.

Vitamin B is an anti stress and anti aging vitamin.

Kelp - a good source of minerals needed for good skin tone.

Aloe Vera has excellent soothing, healing and moisturizing properties.

Calendula and comfrey are great for softening the skin and can be used in a facial sauna.

Another great sauna is made with chamomile, lavender and peppermint. In a glass pot simmer 2 to 4 tablespoons of dried or fresh herbs, when the water is steaming, place pot on table and place your face a comfortable distance from the steam. Allow the steam to hit your face for about 15 minutes. You can use a towel to help trap the steam. After steaming, be sure to close your pores with cool water or an herbal mist and moisturize.

It is recommend to exfoliate dead skin once a week, eat a healthy diet and for a more smooth and youthful appearance eat foods high in sulfur, like garlic, onions and asparagus. Drink plenty of water and moisturize the skin after cleansing.

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© Melt Magazine 2003