10 Tips for Defeating Dry Skin

The battle with dry skin can feel hopeless, especially in the winter when the cold, dry air works overtime to draw the moisture out of your skin.

Whether you are up against the dry skin of winter or fighting the year-round war with eczema-type conditions, these 10 tips will give you some better tools to even up the battle and give you a better chance of winning.

1. Use real soap, not detergent soaps that dry out your skin.

    Most of the soap found at your local grocery store is not soap at all, but detergent. That is why brands start adding moisturizers back in--to compensate for the drying effects of the detergent properties in their own bars. However, real soap is made from oils, liquid and lye and can be formulated to be gentle on your skin without drying it out. 



    2. Moisturize with plant-based serums or body oils immediately after showering or bathing.

    Applying this type of intense moisture directly after bathing helps to hold in the moisture you got from your shower or bath. This combination of the hydration from your shower and the oils that nourish the skin feels amazing and helps dry skin to feel supple and healthy instead of tight. One favorite method is to apply this plant-based body oil before toweling off. While your body is still wet, apply the oil. Then, as it is absorbed, pat the skin dry with a towel.




    3. Find ways to exfoliate.

    Often it is the layers of dead skin that can cause that dry, itchy feeling. This is especially true when considering areas of the body like the feet and heels, or the knees and elbows. Exfoliating arms, legs and other areas can also be beneficial. There are various options for exfoliation. Dry brushing from the feet and hands toward the heart can be beneficial for exfoliating your skin, in addition to encouraging your lymph to flow better. Another option for exfoliating is to use a sugar scrub in the shower or bath. Often these have oils added to them that can help moisturize the skin while exfoliating.



    4. Nourish your body with what provides moisture for your skin.

    The epidermis, which is your outermost layer of skin, is made of up to 70% water. Drinking enough water helps give the skin what it needs to do its job more efficiently. In addition, the body needs healthy oils, not only for your heart and brain health, but also for the health of your skin. Fish oils or flaxseed oils provide essential fatty acids that work from the inside out to help you keep your skin hydrated. The levels of moisture provided by these oils can affect how the skin responds to the troubles that come with aging. Other oils that are beneficial to skin when consumed include olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil and sesame oil.



    5. Get a humidifier going.

    One other reason that skin can dry out is factors in your environment. Especially in the winter, when houses and workplaces are heated, the air can become dry, which can affect your skin and your wellness in general. Setting up a humidifier and keeping it running is an easy answer to make winter more comfortable.



    6. Choose clothing made of fabrics that allow your skin to breath.

    Natural fibers let your skin breathe more freely. Skin really loves natural fibers such as cotton and silk. Consider this when you are shopping and keep an eye on those labels.



    7. Choose moisturizers with natural ingredients and avoid fragrance.

    All lotions and creams are not created equal. Learn what ingredients will nourish and moisturize your skin. Choose a good moisturizer that doesn’t have added fragrances. Because a fragrance is considered a trade secret, labels are not required to say what is in that fragrance. So it’s hard to know what is in these fragrances and how they may affect your skin, and your body. Make sure you can identify all of the ingredients in the product you are purchasing.



    8. Avoid products with alcohol.

    Alcohol is drying. Avoid toners and other products that contain alcohol, since it works against everything you are doing to keep your skin from drying out.



    9. Use Herbal Salves for spot treatment.

    You know! Those cracked heels and rough elbows may need a more intense moisturizer. Try a body butter or salve to address these issues. The right salve can also be helpful for those annoying dry patches that appear in the crook of your elbow or on the back of your arm. Applying a salve right before bedtime, when you aren’t moving around as much, can be useful since it may be more likely to stay on your skin and soak in the way you want it to. Another trick for feet or hands is to apply the salve and then wear socks or gloves to bed.



    10. Avoid mineral oil.

    The thing about ingredients like mineral oil, which is a by-product of the oil industry, is that the molecules are larger than the pores of your skin. This is an ingredient that does a great job of coating your skin, but not such a good job of soaking in and nourishing your skin. Botanical oils do a much better job of this. One favorite that the skin uses particularly well is jojoba. This oil is the one that is the most like human skin’s own sebum. Because of this likeness, skin knows how to use jojoba particularly well.