Health Matters | Winter Dry Skin

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Winter Dry Skin

Winter is here, and conditions are perfect for uncomfortable, dry, itchy skin. As soon as the temperature drops and the house thermostat is set a little higher, your skin starts to dry. While slathering on moisturizers may temporarily soothe your skin, it may be time to add another supplemental method.

The general rule of thumb is to drink eight glasses of water per day. Some days, eight glasses of water may seem like a daunting task. But, you do not have to drink all that water – eat your water! According to the Mayo Clinic, on average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake. Help ensure you are reaching your water intake needs by incorporating these six hydrating foods into your diet:

Broccoli
Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse containing fiber, calcium and antioxidants such as vitamin C and E with only a few calories. It also contains sulforaphane, a potent compound that boosts your body’s protective enzymes and shields your skin from harmful UV rays. Even though broccoli is packed with nutrients, it still is made up of 90% water, making it a great food to work into your diet for extra hydration.

Radishes
The spicy-sweet flavor of radishes makes them the perfect addition to salads and slaws. Radishes are another vegetable with high water content – 95%. Radishes also contain large amounts of skin-saving antioxidants and minerals including catechin, silicon, and sulfur.

Yogurt
While the water content of yogurt varies by manufacturer, flavoring, and type of yogurt, the average regular plain yogurt is made up of about 85% water. Not only is yogurt a water-rich food, many are a great source of probiotics, which are good bacteria proven to have powerful skin and health benefits. When ingested, probiotics line the gut and create a healthy and sealed barrier, which helps fight against damage and inflammation ranging from irritable bowel to acne.

When selecting a yogurt, check the label for “live” or “active” cultures to ensure it includes the good-for-you bacteria. Yogurt also contains a substantial amount of potassium and sodium, which can help replace the electrolytes you lose when dehydrated and re-energize your body.

Cucumber
This crisp summer vegetable has the highest water content of any solid food! In fact, a cup of cucumber slices is nearly as thirst-quenching as a glass of water. Made up of 96.7% water, cucumbers are a great source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese. The vitamin C and caffeic acid in cucumbers soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling, which is why cucumbers are often used to help swollen eyes and sunburn.

Celery
Celery contains just six calories per stalk, but is packed with fiber, folate and vitamins A, C, and K. At 96% water, celery provides a combination of mineral salts, amino acids and vitamins that research shows may hydrate your body twice as effectively as a glass of water. Celery is also known to neutralize stomach acid and is often recommended as a natural remedy for heartburn and acid reflux.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a very versatile fruit that can be sliced, diced, and pureed for inclusion in pretty much any meal. Tomatoes are not reserved just for meals, though. Sweet cherry and grape varieties also make an excellent hydrating snack. At 95% water, tomatoes pack enough sweetness and moisture to offset or replace higher-calorie condiments on your sandwich.

  • Tips to Stay Hydrated This Winter
    Scarf. Gloves. Snow boots. Water bottle. One of these things is not like the others, but it is just as important. When the sun is shining on a hot summer day, packing a bottle of water is part of the routine. But in winter, it is sometimes forgotten. The truth is you need just as much water in winter as you do during the steamy summer months.

    You may miss the warning signs of dehydration in winter because your body does not sweat as much during this time of year. Nearly 70% of your body is made up of water. If you don’t keep it replenished, you could suffer exhaustion, muscle fatigue, cramps, loss of coordination or even stroke.

    Do you want the flu to bring you down this time of year? Of course not. So drink plenty of water, because dehydration makes you an easy target for colds and flu.

    Bundling up this time of year can also make us sweat more than usual when it’s time to get active. Since we dress in layers with turtlenecks and sweaters, our bodies work harder (by sweating) to cool us down. Shoveling snow, skiing, ice-skating, sledding or even building a snowman can be just as strenuous as summer activities. We work up a healthy sweat, and all of that lost water must be replaced.

    Don’t think that you lose as much water during the winter? Take a look at your breath when you walk outside on a cold day. All of that steam is water vapor escaping your body with each breath.

    How much water do you need to drink every day during the winter? The bottom line is that we are all different and have different activity levels during the winter, so only you know how much water you need every day.

    How can you tell if you getting enough liquids? If you feel thirsty your body is already partially dehydrated. Another sign can be found in the bathroom. Yes, we went there. If your urine is clear or light-colored, you are doing fine. If it is yellow, then it’s time for more water.

    Here are some tips to keep you hydrated this winter:
    • Drink before, during, and after exercise. You may not sweat as much or feel as thirsty as you do during the summer, but keep drinking.
    • Drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces every day. A 120 pound woman should drink 60 ounces of water per day.
    • Balance diuretics with water. Diuretics (like alcohol and caffeine) cause more water loss through urine.
    • Eat more water-based foods like soup, fruits, and vegetables. They are a great source of hydration and nutrients.
    • Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet.

    If you need one more reason to stay hydrated this time of year, here you go: Too little water makes it tougher to keep off extra pounds. Since we all tend to eat more during the winter, a well hydrated body can help control your appetite and break down fat for energy more efficiently. You’ll be happy you hydrated when swimsuit season rolls around!
  • Winter Storm Safety Tips
    The Mid-Atlantic is bracing for a major winter storm that could drop a lot of snow across the region this weekend. This storm could create potentially dangerous conditions. It is important to keep some basic winter safety tips in mind during and after the storm:

    Shoveling Snow
    A necessary evil after a snow storm, shoveling snow can pose a health risk for many people. Snow shoveling is a strenuous activity. It can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Individuals with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure or strokes should not shovel snow.

    If you must shovel snow, shovel as early as possible. Snow is heavier after it has been on the ground for a few days - often melting and re-freezing, creating a solid chunk of snow rather than powdery, just-fallen snow. Also, make sure that you are properly hydrated and prepare your body for shoveling by warming up. Jog in place or do ten jumping jacks before you begin to shovel, as this will get your blood flowing before you begin. Also, be sure to take your time and move slowly when shoveling snow. Shoveling too fast can increase your blood pressure and put you at greater risk for spraining or pulling a muscle.

    Walking on Ice
    Icy patches can be difficult to see. The slips and falls caused by ice can be serious. If you come across an area that you believe may be icy, tap the edge of the area with your foot to be sure. Wear shoes with gripping soles to provide traction. Also, keep your hands out of your pockets when walking in order to keep your balance on a slippery surface. Don’t carry heavy items like shopping bags with you when walking on slippery surfaces. This can change your center of balance, making you more likely to slip and fall.

    When getting out of your vehicle, check to make sure there are no icy spots near your vehicle. If you are parked on a slick spot, move the vehicle to a different area if you can. Also, when entering and exiting your car while on ice, use the vehicle for balance and support.

    Frostbite
    Frostbite occurs when skin and its underlying tissue are exposed to very cold temperatures and freezing conditions. Skin that appears waxy or hard and has a gray tone may have frostbite. The damaged skin may also itch or burn and may turn red in color as the affected area thaws.

    The first step to treating frostbite is to get out of the cold. Get inside to a warm place as soon as possible. Once inside, remove any wet clothing. If you cannot get out of the cold, place your hands under your arms to warm them. Also, cover areas that can be most affected by frostbite (nose and ears) with a scarf and try not to walk if your feet may have frostbite, as this will make the condition worse.

    Frostbite is generally treated by gradually warming the skin. Remember to seek the treatment of a medical professional as soon as possible if you think you may have frostbite.

  • Stay Safe During and After the Winter Storm
    Snow is quickly accumulating in Richmond and Hampton Roads, Virginia this morning, creating potentially dangerous conditions. It is important to keep some basic winter safety tips in mind during and after the storm:

    Shoveling Snow
    A necessary evil after a snow storm, shoveling snow can pose a health risk for many people. Snow shoveling is a strenuous activity. It can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Individuals with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure or strokes should not shovel snow.

    If you must shovel snow, shovel as early as possible. Snow is heavier after it has been on the ground for a few days - often melting and re-freezing, creating a solid chunk of snow rather than powdery, just-fallen snow. Also, make sure that you are properly hydrated and prepare your body for shoveling by warming up. Jog in place or do ten jumping jacks before you begin to shovel, as this will get your blood flowing before you begin. Also, be sure to take your time and move slowly when shoveling snow. Shoveling too fast can increase your blood pressure and put you at greater risk for spraining or pulling a muscle.

    Walking on Ice
    Icy patches can be difficult to see. The slips and falls caused by ice can be serious. If you come across an area that you believe may be icy, tap the edge of the area with your foot to be sure. Wear shoes with gripping soles to provide traction. Also, keep your hands out of your pockets when walking in order to keep your balance on a slippery surface. Don’t carry heavy items like shopping bags with you when walking on slippery surfaces. This can change your center of balance, making you more likely to slip and fall.

    When getting out of your vehicle, check to make sure there are no icy spots near your vehicle. If you are parked on a slick spot, move the vehicle to a different area if you can. Also, when entering and exiting your car while on ice, use the vehicle for balance and support.

    Frostbite
    Frostbite occurs when skin and its underlying tissue are exposed to very cold temperatures and freezing conditions. Skin that appears waxy or hard and has a gray tone may have frostbite. The damaged skin may also itch or burn and may turn red in color as the affected area thaws.

    The first step to treating frostbite is to get out of the cold. Get inside to a warm place as soon as possible. Once inside, remove any wet clothing. If you cannot get out of the cold, place your hands under your arms to warm them. Also, cover areas that can be most affected by frostbite (nose and ears) with a scarf and try not to walk if your feet may have frostbite, as this will make the condition worse.

    Frostbite is generally treated by gradually warming the skin. Remember to seek the treatment of a medical professional as soon as possible if you think you may have frostbite.
  • Save Your Skin this Memorial Day
    Memorial Day Weekend is upon us. As you head to the beach or relax outside at home, it’s important you know how to protect your family against the sun’s rays. The Friday before Memorial Day, May 27, 2016, has been declared “Don’t Fry Day” by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention to encourage sun safety awareness over the long holiday weekend.

    Sunburn is a common summer problem. Skin that is red, painful, and often hot to the touch, is often sunburned. This condition can appear a few hours after sun exposure and can take several days to fade away.

    Enjoy the sun, but do so safely. The following tips can help:
    • Always use sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SPF, even when it’s cloudy, and reapply at least every two hours.
    • Wear sun-protective clothing. Hats are fine, but they don’t always protect your ears and neck. Use sunscreen on these sensitive areas.
    • Avoid uninterrupted sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. whenever possible.

    To learn more about Don't Fry Day, please visit the National Council Skin Cancer Prevention website.
  • Five Tips for Safe Fun in the Sun
    It is summer and time for some fun in the sun. The sun’s warmth and brightness can relax us and boost our spirits. The benefits are wonderful, but overexposure can lead to some dangerous health issues. Each year more than three and a half million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States. So whether you’re planning a trip to the beach, hitting the golf course, or enjoying a backyard cookout, remember to protect yourself from the sun.

    These five simple rules can help you enjoy the sunshine without risking your health:

    1. Wear Proper Clothing
    Your clothes can be an effective form of protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Some outdoor clothing now carries an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. The UPF rating lets you know how well the fabric shields your skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays. All fabrics block UV rays to some degree, but the most effective have a UPF rating from 15 (good) to more than 50 (excellent). For example, a white cotton t-shirt has a UPF of five. Blue jeans have a UPF of 1,700. In other words, densely woven and bright or dark colored fabrics offer the best defense from the sun’s rays. Light-weight, loose-fitting long sleeves and pants also help. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses to protect your head and eyes and put sunscreen on exposed skin.

    2. Use Sunscreen
    Apply sunscreen generously and reapply it regularly. The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) measures how long unprotected skin can be theoretically exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays before causing damage. UVA rays can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots. UVB rays can burn your skin. Too much exposure to either can cause skin cancer.

    Keep in mind that sunscreen is often not applied thoroughly or evenly, and it might wash off while you swim or sweat. That means sunscreen might be less effective than the SPF number might lead you to believe. Dermatologists suggest that along with the sunscreen’s SPF, you should choose a “broad spectrum” sunscreen that offers protection from UVA and UVB rays. It is important to reapply sunscreen frequently.

    3. Seek The Shade
    The sun’s rays are usually strongest between 10 o’clock in the morning and 4 o’clock in the afternoon. If you are outside, find shade from a structure, a leafy tree, or a sun umbrella for protection. Also, try to arrange your schedule so that you can take advantage of the early morning and late afternoon for your outdoor activities.

    4. Avoid Tanning
    A lot of people like to tan on the beach or in a tanning salon, but tanning is never safe. A tan happens because your body is trying to protect itself and prevent further skin damage. Your skin darkens because it creates a wall of darker pigment called melanin which acts like a sunscreen to protect from the sun’s harmful rays. Ultraviolet rays can damage the DNA of unprotected skin and lead to mutations which can cause cancer. Even sunbeds or tanning booths almost triple your chances of developing melanoma, a sometimes fatal skin cancer. The best way to decrease your risk of developing skin cancer is to avoid tanning.

    5. Examine Yourself - Head to Toe
    The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests that you give yourself a full body examination every month. Look for any changes to your skin. These changes can be an early warning sign of cancer. Changes include any skin growths, moles, beauty marks, or brown spots that appear suspicious. See a doctor if you have any doubts or questions about your skin.

    Remember that newborns and children are especially sensitive to the sun. Protecting their skin is crucial. Follow these good sun habits so that you can enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities without risking your health.


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