Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Not only does taking care of it means that you’ll feel and look better — and sometimes, even younger — it’s also your biggest barrier against infections. Therefore, keeping your skin moisturized means you’ll look good, you’ll feel good, and you’ll stay healthy.
That said, sometimes it can feel like doing so is a lot easier said than done. But, with a little bit of guidance and dedication, you’ll get your moisturizing routine down pat — and you’ll have enviable skin, to boot.
What causes dry skin?
There are many things that could cause dry skin – low moisture in the air, living in a dry climate, using drying soaps, harsh laundry detergents, taking hot showers, hard water, dry air, genetics, health conditions, and certain medications. The good news is that you can control some of these factors.
10 Ways to Treat Dry Skin
1. Wash It Gently
Opt for mild cleansers with no fragrance. If you like taking hot showers, be aware that the hotter the water, the more drying it is for your skin, so try to limit your bath time to 10 or 15 minutes. After washing your face or taking a shower, pat your skin dry instead of rubbing a towel all over yourself, and slather on moisturizer immediately after. Also, creams are less irritating than lotions. Look for ones with natural moisturizing ingredients, such as jojoba oil or shea butter.
Not all moisturizers are created equal. Some are specifically designed for people with dry skin, sensitive skin, eczema, or a myriad of other skin conditions. Then there are also those that are face creams, while others are for the entire body. No matter which one you purchase, always choose day moisturizers with sunscreen (for the reasons explained below). If you tend to have itchy skin, choose a hypoallergenic moisturizer. If you have sensitive skin, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to determine whether there are any ingredients that may irritate your skin. Common irritants include sulfates, alcohol, or anything with fragrance.
3. Remember Your Lips
If your lips are dry and flaky, mix brown sugar with coconut oil and use it as a natural exfoliator. Also, look for lip products that contain natural moisturizing ingredients such as shea butter, beeswax, petroleum jelly, jojoba oil, or moringa.
4. Wear Sunscreen
You can always tell who hasn’t prioritized wearing SPF throughout their lives – the obvious signs include a leathery appearance, sun spots, premature aging, deep wrinkles, and dry skin. And, that’s in a best-case scenario. Abusing sun — or tanning beds — exposure significantly increases the risk of skin cancer. If you’re going to be out in the sun for hours at a time, in addition to wearing SPF, wear a wide brim hat and stay in the shade whenever possible.
When choosing a sunscreen, get one with both UVB and UVA protection, with an SPF of 30 or higher. If you’re going to a pool or beach, make sure you buy one that’s also water-resistant.
5. Eat Healthily
What you eat on a regular basis is reflected in how you look and how you feel. Not only does food affect your weight, it also has an impact on the health of your skin. For example, foods that are rich in Omega-3s and healthy fats, such as mackerel and avocados, can help your skin remain moisturized. In addition, foods with isoflavones can help you retain or improve skin elasticity. Foods that contain this compound include chickpeas, peanuts, edamame, pistachios, and soybeans.
Foods that are high in antioxidants can also improve moisture, elasticity, and provide better protection against sun damage. Some of these foods include spinach, blueberries, strawberries, kale, green tea, beans, and dark chocolate.
6. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water — or eating foods with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables — can help maintain your skin’s elasticity. By the same token, becoming dehydrated will cause your skin to look dry and flaky. This is because, just as with any other organ in your body, your skin is made up of cells, and cells need water to be in optimal condition.
7. Wear Additional Layers During Winter
Winter air is dry air, and dry air will suck the moisture out of your skin. If you’re stepping outside, wear gloves, a scarf, and a hat.
8. Install a Humidifier in Your Home
Having some moisture in the air keeps your skin moisturized and makes it easier to breathe — since it also keeps your nasal passages moist.
9. Choose Clothes Made Out of Natural Fabrics
Clothes made out of cotton, flax, bamboo, linen, and silk allow your skin to breathe. On the other hand, synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, rayon, and nylon contain chemicals that can be irritating. By the same token, opt for laundry detergents without dyes and artificial fragrances, since these also contain irritating chemicals. A good rule of thumb is to choose detergents that include the label free and clear, or are EPA Safer Choice certified.
10. Quit Smoking
From the risk of cancer, to emphysema, heart disease, stroke, vision loss, and tuberculosis, smoking is the cause of many problems. It can also dry out your skin and impact a variety of other physical characteristics. Quitting is the best way to retain moisture.
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