Your dry skin is not too bad.
Your dry skin is not too bad.
Dry skin not only looks parched, it can also make fine lines and wrinkles appear more noticeable - and make skin more vulnerable to fresh lines and wrinkles.
Even worse, however, is that skin is more likely to experience dryness as we age, so just about the time we would see our first wrinkles, dry skin acts like a magnifying glass of sorts, making them more visible than ever.
If you have dry skin, there are plenty of things you can do to fight back.
The Causes of Dry Skin
For some people, dry skin occurs when the humidity of summer departs for the season, taking with it all of the moisture in the air.
Suddenly, outdoor air is icy, indoor air is hot and dry, and both can quickly suck the moisture out of your skin, leaving it feeling painfully tight, flaky or itchy.
While winter weather plays a big role in dry skin – central heating, wood stoves, space heaters and fireplaces leach all of the moisture out of the air, which has a big impact on skin – desert heat can also leave skin feeling parched.
The wrong cleansers can also contribute to dry skin. Choosing harsh products that strip skin of its natural oils can exacerbate the condition, making skin look and feel worse than ever.
How to Heal Dry Skin
If your skin is dry, it’s important to treat it gently.
- Use warm, not hot, water when you bathe, shower or cleanse your skin, and keep showers to a minimum. If you can’t resist a long bath now and then, add oil to the water – jojoba or almond oils are both nutrient-dense choices - to protect your skin.
- You may not want to use the same cleansers as the seasons change. During harsh winter months, use gentle cleansers that moisturize while they cleanse to prevent dryness. Avoid soap, which can also dry skin.
- Skip toners and astringents. Alcohol-based toners will lift away moisture, leaving skin tight and dehydrated.
- Moisturize well, especially at night. A rich moisturizer will allow your skin to take advantage of the healing that happens while we rest, a time when skin cells rejuvenate at a faster rate and skin is more receptive to active ingredients (there is no competition from cosmetics or sunscreens), especially hydration, since more water evaporates from the skin during nighttime hours. Apply moisturizers immediately after you shower or cleanse your skin in order to help seal in moisture.
- Use the right moisturizer. An oil-based cream will be more effective than a water-based lotion, because oil creates a natural barrier on the skin’s surface.
- Look for the right ingredients. Olive oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid and dimethicone (a type of silicone that creates a seal on the skin’s surface, locking in essential moisture) all bring welcome hydration. Skip alcohol, fragrances, retinoids, alpha-hydroxy acid or benzoyl peroxide, all of which can be seriously drying.
- Replace lost moisture in the air. A humidifier can help prevent the dryness associated with winter heating, keeping skin moist and hydrated.