How To Cure Dry Skin
Is Your Skin Dry?
Dry skin can come in any season. In summer, sunburn and the heat can dry it out.
In winter, heat from fires or heaters, or just the blast of cold air when you go outside, can leave your skin feeling stretched.
Here are some tips on how to nourish your skin all year round.
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What Causes Dry Skin?
1. Hot Showers
Although there is nothing better than a long, hot shower during the colder winter months, too much hot water can really dry out your skin.
The excess tends to deplete the natural oil barrier we have built up on our skin, that’s the barrier that helps trap in moisture and keeps your skin in peak condition.
2. What You Put On Your Skin
Consider using a soap-free cleanser, something that is fragrance free and maybe even one that contains ceramides.
Ceramides are the fatty molecules that are naturally found in the outer layer of your skin, the stuff that helps hold the moisture in.
Try to lay off toners, peels, astringents containing alcohol and be gentle when you exfoliate.
3. How Shaving Affects Your Skin
When shaving is your preferred method of hair removal you need to consider that you are also scraping away these oh-so-important natural oils.
To avoid causing dry skin in winter, soften the your hair in the bath, use a shaving cream or gel, shave in the direction of the hair and always use a nice, sharp razor.
4. Cover Up
We tend to forget about the harsh summer sun over the winter months, opting to bask in the warmth whenever we can to escape the cold. In reality, our Australian sunshine is doing us damage all year round.
To protect your skin, wear a good quality sunscreen throughout the whole year. And don’t forget about your lips, always use a soothing lip balm that contains SPF 15.
5. Weather And Humidity
The weather is a common cause of dry skin in many people. A lot of the time, you can have perfect skin for most of the year. There are no issues, and you don’t feel any of the telltale dry skin symptoms. Then, things start to change as the temperatures drop.
This is because cold weather is proven to cause dry skin. How? Well, it relates to the temperature and humidity levels. It mentions on Mayo Clinic that low humidity levels – below 30% – can dry out your skin.
Humidity is effectively the level of water vapour in the air. When there’s a lot, it can help nourish your skin by adding some much-needed moisture to it. So, when the levels dip, there’s a lack of moisture in the air, and this leads to dry skin.
Combine this with cold temperatures, and you have a deadly combination. When the air feels cold and dry, it really starts to attack your skin and leave it with a lack of moisture. As such, most people suffer from this problem during the winter months.
Having said that, you can suffer all year round depending on where you live. If there’s always a lack of humidity in your climate, then dry skin will always occur.
To make matters worse, excessive heat and sun exposure will also dry out your skin! This isn’t as common as it only really affects people in areas where you get a lot of constant dry heat. However, it’s worth thinking about when the weather warms up.
The products you use on your skin will also cause dryness – if you’re not careful. Primarily, soap is a major culprit. We all wash our hands multiple times per day, but the type of soap you use might be causing dry skin.
A good sign of this is if the skin on your hands is dry, but you don’t experience the issue anywhere else. The same goes for if you wash your face with a particular product, and it feels tight afterwards, or you notice dry skin.
In general, soaps that cause this issue contain harsh chemicals. The chemicals are in there to remove oil from your hands, which effectively ‘cleans’ them.
The problem is that your skin needs its natural oils! This oil is referred to as sebum, and it explains on Verywellhealth how this oil keeps your skin and hair moisturised. So, by removing your natural moisturiser, you’re only going to end up with one problem.
7. Hot Water
Surprisingly, being exposed to hot water can cause dry skin.
If you regularly shower using hot water, then it basically dries out your skin. You strip all the essential oils from it, which is why you can sometimes feel like your skin is tight or rough after a shower. Things are then made worse if you aggressively dry yourself with a towel as well!
Alongside this, swimming can also be a cause of dry skin conditions. This time, it’s not so much to do with the heat, but more the chlorine in the pool.
Your dry skin could be caused by a medical condition. If you have other skin problems, like eczema or psoriasis, then this can lead to dry skin symptoms.
In cases like this, your dry skin will often be one of the telltale signs that you have one of these other skin conditions.
9. Your Medications
Likewise, the medication you take can cause side effects that give you dry skin. Common culprits include diuretics, cholesterol medication, high blood pressure medication, and even medication for acne.
These medicines affect your skin because they impact the outermost layer – known as the stratum corneum. Basically, the medications cause the water levels in this layer to deplete.
As such, you don’t have the natural hydrating or moisturising effects that you should, leading to dry skin.
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10. The Air We Breathe
There is nothing better than curling up in front of the fire, or turning on the heater and snuggling up on the couch on a cold winters night.
Unfortunately, when we warm our houses we are also removing the moisture from the air around us.
By using a humidifier you’ll be able to replace some of the moisture in the air, your skin will thank you for it.
Is It Something Else?
As we mentioned earlier, skin conditions like eczema can cause dry skin. Unfortunately, you won’t get rid of this problem until you address the primary skin condition.
So, this might mean seeing a doctor to get special lotions or medication, it depends on the condition you have. Once you’ve sorted this out, then your dry skin should follow suit and clear up.
How To Cure Dry Skin
Make it part of your routine, and don’t be tempted to skip this vital step. After washing with the right cleanser pat your skin dry. While you skin is still slightly damp it’s time to moisturise.
Use a nice, thick moisturiser, cream or lotion, and take the time to cover your whole body. If you need something super rich for your dry skin, try the likes of ceramides, glycerine, or shea butter.
2. Go The Vaseline
Petroleum jelly – often sold under the brand name Vaseline – is proven to help combat dry skin in many adults. There’s a medical study that details the healing properties of petroleum jelly, and how it can protect your skin from further damage. To summarise what was found, this jelly covers your skin in a protective barrier. As a result, moisture gets trapped beneath this new layer of protection. From here, it helps restore the natural moisture balance to the afflicted area, stopping it from drying out. By applying some whenever your skin feels particularly dry, you’ll soon see positive results.
3. Avocado Masks
Dry skin facials are a super way to help revive your skin. You can attempt to give yourself one at home by creating an avocado mask. Avocados are rich in fatty acids and moisture, which makes them the perfect natural moisturiser for your skin.
Mash one up and mix it in a bowl with honey until it turns nice and creamy.
Then, smoothe it onto your face and let it sit there for 10-15 minutes. Wash it off, and you’ll instantly feel the difference. It makes your skin feel softer, bouncier, and you get a natural glow as well.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera gel has long been lauded for its skin healing properties.
More often than not, you’re encouraged to use it when you have sunburn. But, it also works a treat for anyone with dry skin.
Applying this gel to your skin will reduce redness and irritation – which often come with dry skin conditions.
By doing this, you allow the skin to heal correctly, and the dryness should subside. As a bonus, some studies say aloe vera can help reduce acne breakouts and slow down your skins natural ageing process.
5. Change What You Wear
When you have dry skin, it can become irritated by certain clothing.
Mainly, woollen clothing is the worst thing to wear. The fibres brush against your dry skin and start to irritate it. The same can be said for other materials that constantly rub up against your body and cause chafing.
Dry skin is already susceptible to rashes or redness, and this will just make things worse.
So, try and avoid wearing clothes that irritate your skin. If you’re always scratching at your dry skin when wearing specific clothing, then take it off and put something better on instead.
Loose-fitted clothes are the best, and stay away from wool.
6. How You Wash
Using a scrub or a brush in a shower can also cause dry skin.
These things will scrape across the surface of your skin and cause further irritation. If you already have dry skin, then wash using your hands instead. It’s less abrasive, meaning your skin won’t end up suffering.
These are wonderful at infusing moisture into facial skin that can be tight and dry.
Very easy to use, they are a cloth infused with collagen that you leave on your face for ten minutes. Ripple uses these in our collagen anti ageing facials.
Dry Skin Home Remedies
- Add a cup of baking soda to a bath and have a 30 min soak. Alternatively add 4 tablespoons to a litre of water for a soothing sponge bath.
- If your moisturiser is not working, try using good old fashioned vegetable oil or olive oil. You might look like a 1980’s coconut oiled bathing beauty but using a plant based oil is a great way to boost your skins natural oils.
- Oats are a great source of vitamin E, add a cup of quick oats (the type you would normally cook in the microwave) to your bath or create a paste with a little water to give your body a rub down.
- For dry, cracked hands or feet – combine 2 cups warm water, 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Soak for 10min then pat dry and moisturise.
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Author Biography – Ali Saoirse – BEc University Sydney, GradDipPsych Bond University, Diploma Remedial Massage, Certificate IV Massage, Level 7 Kahuna Massage, Qualifications in Pregnancy Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Aromatherapy, Reflexology from Gold Coast TAFE.
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