DRY SKIN - PREVENTION, CAUSES & TIPS
Moisturizers keep your skin hydrated, create a barrier between your pores and pollution; most creams nowadays contain an SPF protecting your skin from harmful and aging sun rays.
If you are reading this thinking I don’t wear a moisturizer because it makes my skin greasy or shiny, makes me get spots/ makes my skin dry etc, etc, then you are using the wrong moisturizer. I hope these few tips will convert you to the other side and your skin will thank you for it with a soft radiant glow!
Dry skin tends to happen to us all at different times of the year. Most people will be feeling dryness creeping back with long cold nights causing us to constantly be around heating at home. The best way to know if your skin is dry or dehydrated is to look at your skin after a shower and see if it is tight or flaky.
When shopping for cleansing products choose creamy cleansers and toners containing no alcohol as this can also cause dryness, look for toners with calming ingredients if your dry skin tends to be itchy or sensitive. When choosing a moisturizer go for a cream with a mid to heavy to texture, try a bit on your hand see how long it takes to be absorbed and you will know the consistency you are comfortable with. Below is a few of our favorite moisturizers and serums, all excellent for dry skin.
Learn how to prevent dry skin and how to make some quick and super-effective remedies for curing it if you’ve already succumbed.
1. Avoid caffeine, smoking and alcohol. They act as diuretics and are guaranteed to suck you dry!
2. Increase your water level. Drink up! Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of pure water a day to keep your skin and body properly hydrated. Drink more if you’re super active.
3. Add oil to your bath. Add a tablespoon or so of almond, jojoba, olive or hazelnut oil to your bath water after you’ve soaked for about 5 minutes. By soaking first, your skin gets plumped up by the water, then by adding the oil, it will seal in the absorbed moisture.
4. Protect your skin from the elements. Wind, sun, heat, cold, and dry office and airplane air can quickly cause or exacerbate the condition of dry skin. Apply a moisturizer before exposing your skin to these moisture-sapping conditions. A lavender, rose, or German chamomile aromatic hydrosol sprayed onto your face, neck, chest, and hands helps to keep your skin wonderfully refreshed and hydrated.
5. Limit hot water contact. Avoid long, hot showers and baths, especially during cold weather, as they dehydrate the skin. Warm showers and baths for a short duration, though, are beneficial to dry skin. Also, limit bathing or washing you face to once a day, usually right before you retire. When you arise, apply a bit of herbal facial splash or toner, or spritz your face (and body, if it needs treatment as well) with an aromatic hydrosol and you’re ready to go.
6. Increase EFAs in your diet. Chow down on cold-water fish, walnuts, and flax seeds, all rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help replace moisture in dry hair and skin. Also consider adding evening primrose oil to your diet. Flax seed oil is also beneficial — 1 tablespoon is the standard recommended dosage.
7. Use humidifiers. They work wonders in restoring healthful humidity to your dry home or office environment.
8. Use only gentle cleansers. Avoid cleansers such as deodorant soaps and harsh abrasives as they dry out your skin! Use a moisturizing soap, soap-free product, or a gentle, grain-based cleanser.
1. Try a non-petroleum jelly product available in health food stores.
2. Perform these treatments as often as 3 times per week:
Exfoliate. This should always be the first step toward healing dry skin. Dead skin cells can, over time, build up and become unresponsive to lotions and creams. In order for your moisturizer to do its job, you must first get rid of this dead barrier.
Moisturize. After you’ve exfoliated, you’re ready for moisture. Apply your favorite moisturizer to your face and body, or try good old vegetable shortening. (Shortening is typically made from 100 percent soybean oil and it soaks in rapidly — if you don’t apply too much, that is!)
Finally, here's a few causes you may not about. Remember, if in doubt speak to your doctor or dermatologist!
You might have diabetes
One of the earliest symptoms of diabetes is dryness in the skin. If you are experiencing dryness particularly in your hands and feet without any reason, it is a good idea to get yourself tested for diabetes. High blood sugar levels leads to poor circulation, and frequent urination further dehydrates the body. Detecting type 2 diabetes at an early stage can help you bring it under control with diet improvement and medication.
Your skin is sun-damaged
If your skin is exposed to the sun too much then the harmful UV rays can cause skin damage, leaving it dry and scaly. This is because the UV rays penetrate below the top layer of the skin and affect the collagen which is responsible for the upkeep of the skin. This leads to wrinkles, sagging and also dryness. Always apply a good sunscreen before stepping out in the sun and wear a hat or carry an umbrella with you to protect your skin from the harmful rays.
You swim for a long time
Swimming is good for your health but not so much for your skin and hair. The chlorine present in the water isn’t the main culprit if it is added according to the set norm but over-chlorinated pools can cause harm. Long hours in the pool remove the oily layer of your skin which locks in moisture. It is important to apply a good moisturizing lotion or cream before and after you swim.
Your skin is aging
Women nearing 40 will often find their skin getting drier than usual. This is because the skin starts losing its elasticity, in other words, it starts to mature. You can also find the appearance of other aging signs – fine lines, wrinkles etc. Even women with oily skin will feel their skin getting dry. In order to control this, opt for hydrating creams/lotions. Start using anti-ageing serums and pick products that are water-based as it will ensure that your skin remains hydrated.
You are on medication
If you suffer from an illness and are on strong medications, you could feel your skin getting itchy and dry. This is due to the strong dose of your medicine. In order to cure this kind of dryness, you need to improve your diet. Eat raw fruits and salads, drinks lots of water and avoid junk food. You also need to moisture your skin well in order to stop the itchiness.
You suffer from a skin condition
Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema occur more often in people who have dry skin. If your skin is too itchy and sore and you see patchy red spots, you could be suffering from a milder form of psoriasis. Eczema is a term broadly used for various skin conditions with symptoms like flaky, dry, blistered skin. Go to a dermatologist if you have dry skin and rashes too often to understand your skin condition.
You suffer from hypothyroidism
You could be suffering from hypothyroidism which can cause your skin to become dry. In this condition, the thyroid glands produce less thyroid hormones which lessen the activity of the oil and sweat glands which leads to dry skin. Moisturizing the skin with creams or oils is essential to avoid this.
There is less humidity
When the weather gets too cold or too hot with low or no humidity, it causes the skin to become dry. The condition is aggravated when there are radiators and heaters indoors. The moisture is completely lost and the constant hot and cold blow irritates the skin even further. The solution is to moisturise the skin as often as possible. Keeping a bowl filled with water near the radiator to make the room more humid is also a good idea.
Our best tip? Pat your skin dry for less than 20 seconds and Apply a moisturizer immediately after washing as oils and creams work by trapping existing moisture in your skin.
Photo: Courtesy Google Images.