girl with smoothie and berries
photo: iStock and Unsplash
Ever since I was a little girl, I suffered from annoyingly dry skin. “Esto es la genética de tu padre,” my mom would say as she lathered me up in Shea butter or Vitamin E extract. Not even the ridiculous Miami humidity seemed to be on my side. Things got worse in high school when I started playing water polo. Countless afternoons spent in the pool resulted in even drier skin and straw-like hair. 

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In college, I traded my swim cap for a sorority jersey and finally discovered deep conditioners and my beloved hair iron – or plancha, as a true Miami girl would call it. I also started experimenting with creams that made me feel a little better in my own skin like raw cocoa butter. Still, my scalp was often painfully dry and embarrassing dandruff made a little black anything a no-go.
When I finally saw a dermatologist in my twenties, I was diagnosed with a mild case of scalp psoriasis, a noncontagious chronic autoimmune disease that mainly affects the skin and causes a red scaly rash. My dermatologist prescribed a combination of cortisone creams and pills, noting that the flare ups were probably stress related and due in part to my hectic schedule. This was not the answer I was looking for. I continued on my search for a solution, trying a plethora of new lotions and potions along the way.

It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties — at around the same time I started to become more health-conscious after attending my first Wanderlust yoga and music festival — that I thought of a different approach to treating my problem. I decided that I wanted to alleviate my symptoms from the inside out. When I met with a nutritionist and took her advice, things began to change. Besides recommending I add more water to my diet with foods like cucumbers, tomatoes and watermelon, she urged me to take up a new daily ritual to help flush out toxins from my body — drinking a glass of barley grass juice twice a day, no excuses.  

Barley grass is a super food containing Vitamins A, B, C, E and K, as well as chlorophyll, which is said to rejuvenate body tissue and neutralize toxins in the blood. With nothing to lose, I decided to enter a committed relationship with barley grass juice, for better or worse, at least for a few months. 

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Twice a day, I mixed together a heaping spoonful of barley grass juice powder (the one I use is by Deva) and mixed it with a 12 oz. glass of water. I’ll be completely honest: barley juice was definitely  an acquired taste – and by “acquired” I mean I could barely drink this stuff at the beginning. But by sticking with it — and squeezing in a bit of lemon juice to the concoction — I started to notice undeniable changes in my body after just a few weeks: my arms were less ashy, my complexion was glowy and I noticed my energy levels were significantly higher. 
After eight months of my love affair with barley juice — and seeing my nutritionist regularly — I was able to reap benefits beyond my belief. I finally ditched the dandruff shampoo and enjoyed a life of non-prescription skincare — I also lost fifteen pound along the way, which isn’t too shabby. But the way it affected my skin has me swearing by the juice I once dreaded drinking. Needless to say barley juice and I remain in a very serious relationship, and I don’t even mind its bland taste anymore. In fact, it’s almost safe to say it’s grown on me.

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