Dry skin affects more than 100 million people each year. Skin that is dry, feels ‘tight’ and can sometimes become sensitive or uncomfortable until a moisturizer is applied. Dry skin is caused by a low level of sebum (oil) in the skin which naturally lubricates the skin. Without this naturally occurring process, the dead skin cells start to curl up and flake. The parched, tight look of dry skin is the skin’s inability to retain moisture.
Chapping and cracking are signs of extremely dry, dehydrated skin. Dry skin is most prevalent in the cold winter months and can be exacerbated by wind and extreme temperature changes such as heat and air-conditioning, all of which cause the skin to flake, chap and feel tight. This type of skin is tightly drawn over bones – it looks dull, especially on the cheeks and around the eyes.
Apart from external factors, such as the weather, dry skin is often inherited, but it can also develop as part of the aging process, when the production of sebum begins to decline. Dry skin could also be as sign of an underactive thyroid, it can be present in people with diabetes, or it can be due to certain medications.
Caring for Dry Skin
When the skin becomes dry, it may not be that it lacks water (a common misconception) rather, it may be that the skin lacks the ability to prevent the loss of water to keep the cells plump and hydrated. The main goal of caring for dry skin it to try to maintain the skin healthy at the cellular level – that means:
- Avoid using hot water – shower or bathe in warm water and keep baths or showers short
- Use as little soap as possible. Try using mild cleansers like Aveeno or Cetaphil or mild soaps like Neutrogena or Dove, or body gels that contain added moisturizers.
- Avoid harsh, drying, products with alcohol that irritate and dry the skin cells.
- Avoid rubbing the skin after showering – this damages the skin cells and causes further drying.
- Use nourishing creams and moisturizers – apply these to damp skin after your shower or bath to lock in the moisture from the water.
- At night, use a very creamy cleanser or oil to clean the face. After cleansing, apply a night cream at least a half-hour before retiring.
DID YOU KNOW?
If you lie down immediately after applying a night cream to your face, it will “puff-up” the delicate tissues around the eyes. After applying night cream, wait at least 30 minutes before lying down.
Exfoliate! If you do not exfoliate and remove the dead skin cells, the skin will not be able to absorb the lotions and creams you apply to moisturize and heal the dry skin. Unless you exfoliate, these products cannot work because they cannot reach the cells they are designed to benefit. Once a week, use a facial mask and a body scrub to remove dull, dry, surface skin cells. See our recipes for natural scrubs and masks you can make at home without the side effects of harsh, drying chemicals.
Drink more water and increase your consumption of essential fatty acids.
CHAPPED LIPS? TRY THIS…
Mix a few drop of rose water and lime juice into a little milk cream at night. Massage into lips.
Or, apply a paste of honey and Vaseline on the lips and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Remove by using a cotton ball dipped in warm water, then apply your lipstick or gloss.
- Delicious Solutions for Dry Skin this Fall (healthyskinsolutions.com)