Excerpt: Dr. Jessica Wu's 'The Feed Your Face Philosophy'

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The Feed Your Face Philosophy

Your Hair and Nails Are Part of the Skin

You may not have realized it, but your hair and nails are part of the skin, so problems ranging from dandruff to hair loss to ingrown nails should be treated by a dermatologist. More often than not, women will seek the advice of a stylist when they notice thinning hair (and end up spending a fortune on products like Kérastase, an uber-expensive professional-grade product line). Or, when they notice thickened or splitting nails, they'll head directly to a nail salon. (A manicurist might be great with acrylics, but could unknowingly fi le down the fungus and spread it to other clients. Gross.)

Just as your diet can affect the appearance and health of the skin, what you eat can aff ect the health of your hair and the look of your manicure. There's more: If your body is deprived of certain nutrients (as a result of, say, crash dieting), it bypasses "nonessential" functions such as making hair and nails and directs what nutrients it does receive to more important organs, like your heart and brain. That is why it's so important to feed your body the right kinds of foods— unless, of course, you want to look like Mr. Clean. (Get it? He's bald!)

Your Skin Is a Reflection of Yourself

Perhaps the most important function of the skin is also the easiest to understand. I mean, hell-o! The skin is your body's largest organ. It's what your man touches when he caresses your leg or kisses your neck. It's the first (and sometimes only) thing we see when we look in the mirror. Waking up with clear, smooth skin is like having a good hair day: It can make you feel confident and sexy. But wrinkles, blemishes, and sun spots can have the opposite effect: They can sabotage your self-esteem. That's why my role as a dermatologist is not unlike being a therapist. Many of my patients come in down on themselves, depressed about how they look. Whether it's the teenager with acne who is slumped and slouched and has her hair in her eyes or the woman with sun damage who is too embarrassed to wear a strapless dress because of the blotches on her chest, my message has always been the same: You don't have to live with skin you don't like.

The Feed Your Face Philosophy

FROM THE FILES OF Dr. Wu

Patient: Anna Liza

Skin Concern: Mild to severe acne

Food Sensitivity: Dairy

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