Skin Knowledge 101 with Dr. Millie..


Published: 02/02/2014

by Dr. Millie Lytle, ND, MPH, CNS


Keep your skin beautiful this winter and forever!

The skin is the coat for the mucosal immune system.  It is a living and breathing organ. It protects you via living 2 layers and a top one is dead. The top layer made up of specialized cells called keratinocytes. The skin incorporates water permeable cells, sebum and sweat glands. But the skin also breeds a microbiome of synergistic bacteria that fend off pathogens and prevent infections. Year after year, cold weather month and days of polar vortex winds, the skin takes a beating. 

People tend to care for their skin from the outside-in, by applying stripping cleansers and toners followed by soothing creams, lotions and ointments. But hydration from the inside may be just as important, if not more so to prevent and treat dry and dehydrated skin.  Hydrating skin in the winter is a challenge because of the cold outdoors and the heat indoors, naturally. 

Signs of dryness include chapping, cracking, flaking and roughness.  In these cases there aren’t enough oils to keep the skins’ deeper layers nourished. Signs of dehydration include poor patency, sallow and sagging skin. 

6 Case Studies on Beautifying Skin

Dehydration: To quickly test for dehydration, gently pick up the skin on the back of your opposite hand between index finger and thumb.  If the skin springs back into place, all is well! If a fold remains, you are dehydrated. In this case; drink plenty of water but also includes foods with high water content such as citrus, watermelon, cucumber, apples, grapes, lettuce and celery.

Immune conditions: Fat soluble vitamins A, D and E are essential for healthy skin. Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, meaning UV rays from summer sun converts cholesterol on the skin into vitamin D. The active Vitamin D3, Calcitriol has been used topically to treat skin conditions, such as psoriasis, an autoimmune skin condition defined by an overproduction of keratinocytes.

Skin Cancer: Lipocarotenoids such as vitamin A, Beta Carotene and other carotenoids such as lutein, lycopene and astaxanthin found in lobster, shrimp, squash, pumpkin, orange and red peppers,  sweet potatoes, yams and carrots help protect the cellular damage caused by UV rays, and can even give your skin a tan-free glow.

Complexion: Essential fat Omega 3 fatty acids plump up the skin cells and reduce inflammation. Protective polyunsaturated fats also help to protect the skin's natural oil barrier, crucial in keeping skin hydrated, plump, and glowing.  EFAs need can be sourced daily in a combination of wild cold water fish, raw flax, pomegranate, pumpkin and borage seeds, raw walnuts and avocado. If you’re not eating enough of these then skin is dry, inflamed and acne prone.

Wrinkles: After the age of 25, the proteins that make up the majority of your connective tissue starts to degrade and wrinkles start to form.  Traditional sources of collagen and gelatin found in foods such as osso buco, porc bone soup, southern style chicken feet and cow heel soup help repair hair, nails and skin, filling in wrinkles…or you can supplement with hydrolyzed collagen.

Age spots: Anti-aging comes in the most nutritious berries, herbs and spices as these antioxidant-packed foods should be included in the diet from youth to old age to help preserve the tone of skin, reduce brown spots, freckles and liver spots from the inside out. Supplements such as such as grape seed extract and pine bark extract have been shown in clinical trial to remove age spots nutritionally.



  About the Author:  

 Dr. Millie Lytle, ND, MPH, CNS is a graduate of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine  (2002), a private 4 year post-graduate, accredited medical school, and earned her Masters of Public   Health in Hamburg, Germany. She is a Naturopathic Doctor, certified nutrition specialist and radio host of two weekly shows on AM and internet radio. She is the founder and CEO of Millie says, Inc. providing naturopathic medicine with virtual and in-person anti-aging, nutrition programs. Follow on Google+ or visit her website at for more information. She practices in  Manhattan, Brooklyn and virtually.