How To Fight Dry Skin And Win
There are so many factors that cause dryness; age, weather, and stress, just to name a few. Luckily, with a couple of minor changes and a few tips, you can finally enter the battlefield armed and dangerous with everything it takes to win the war against dry skin.
Without proper exfoliation, dry, dead skin cells just keep piling on top of each other on your skin. Not only does this keep you from having a healthy radiant glow, it also prevents everything you are applying to your skin from penetrating properly. Try using a facial cleanser that has exfoliating beads; be sure to choose products with soft, round beads since rough products like apricot can wind up doing more harm than good.
Gently exfoliate your face one or two times per week. For the rest of your body, you have the option of a loofah, a sugar scrub, or even just a simple washcloth. Any of these helps to rid your skin of dead skin cells and buff you to a shine.
Seal Hydration In
Applying lotion is pointless if you aren't using one that has the right ingredients. Always check the ingredient label; even though you may have no idea what they are, there are a few to look out for. Dimethicone and plant oils like coconut are the best at sealing in hydration. They form a sort of invisible barrier on the skin which prevents moisture from escaping and can also help to replace the skin's own missing natural oils.
Shower. Lotion. Repeat.
Okay, you don't have to repeat right away, but applying your lotion immediately after a shower is the best time. Leave your skin slightly damp when applying; this allows your moisturizer to double as a sealant and push the leftover water into your skin.
Boost Ceramide Levels
Vitamin B-3 helps to boost the moisture levels in your skin from the inside out. This vitamin is found in many forms and is often listed in the ingredients as Niacin or Niacinamide. Both of these work to strengthen ceramide (individual cell coating lipids) levels within the skin and help them preserve moisture.
Though we often find ourselves complaining about humidity and the slimy wet feeling it often gives us, the truth is that humidity can do wonders for dry skin. When the air is dry, it begins to absorb moisture from wherever it can manage to find it; starting with your skin. A humidifier placed near your bed while you sleep helps keep you hydrated as well as helps you avoid that tightness you often feel in your skin when you wake up.
Shorten Shower Time
It's true that there is nothing that compares to a long, hot shower at the end of a long, hard day. Unfortunately, it's also true that those very same showers end up washing away our skin's natural lipids. What then happens is the water evaporates off the skin and draws the moisture contained deep in the skin with it. You are then left feeling very relaxed, but extremely dry.
Rubber gloves, as unattractive as they may be, are crucial in protecting the skin on your hands. Ugly yellow rubber gloves should be the main part of dishwashing, toilet scrubbing, and other chores. The harsh chemicals in cleaners can strip your hands of their natural oils. Not only does this leave them feeling dry, but over time it begins to have a permanent effect on your skin.
It's been said that if we all judged each other by how our hands looked, we would think the world to be much older than it really is. Our hands begin to show signs of aging before any other part of our body, so it's important to protect them rather than worry about trying to hide them later.
You can give yourself a hand treatment while doing your chores if you slather on hand cream before putting on your gloves. The rubber or cotton will help the cream to penetrate deeper and give you a baby-soft handshake.
Ditch the Soap
This does not mean you should stop bathing; please don't. The problem lies within the high pH levels in soaps that disturb the skin's natural proteins. When this happens, the skin's natural defensive barrier is compromised and moisture is allowed to escape.
So forget the solid bars and consider a creamy cleanser that is soap free; this goes for your body as well as your face. More good news for your dry skin; these types of cleansers often have moisturizers in them as well so you're removing dirt and locking in moisture all at the same time.
Updated October 24, 2011