Most people experience dry skin problems at some point in their lives. Dry skin is usually caused by environmental conditions, genetics or excessive bathing and can occur anywhere on the body. If you suffer from dry skin, don’t worry — there are many things you can do to hydrate your skin and prevent it from drying out again.
Moisturizing from the Outside
Moisturize frequently and consistently. The need to moisturize your skin when it’s dry may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important that you know how to moisturize effectively. For instance, piling on an inch-thick layer of moisturizer once a week isn’t going to do your skin much good. You need to be moisturizing frequently and consistently in order to effectively combat dry skin.
Keep a facial moisturizer beside your bed. This will make it easier to remember to moisturize every night before you go to sleep. Make it a part of your nightly routine.
If you suffer from dry hands, keep a small tube of hand cream in your hand bag or beside your sink. Use every time you wash your hands.
Moisturize when your skin is damp. Moisturizing when your skin is still slightly wet helps to seal in more hydration. After you wash your face, pat off the excess moisture with a towel before applying your moisturizer. For your body, do the same thing. Pat your skin with a towel until it’s just slightly damp, then apply a good moisturizer. Allow your skin to dry naturally so it can absorb all the moisture.
If you’re skin still feels dry, apply a second layer of moisturizer once the first layer has soaked in.
Change your products. You may need to change the products you use, according to changes in your skin or the time of year. In colder months, you may to switch to a richer moisturizer. In summer, you should use one with an SPF. If you have combination skin, it may be necessary to use a lighter moisturizer on the parts of your skin that gets oily (like your t-zone) and a heavier one where your skin gets dry.
Choose the right cleansers. Be careful when choosing a facial or body cleanser, as some cleansers can strip moisture from the skin. Opt for a gentle cream or milk cleanser that will moisturize the skin as it cleanses. Also try to stay away from heavily-fragranced cleansers as the chemicals behind scents can be drying.
Exfoliate gently. Exfoliating can be great for sloughing off dead skin cells and for smoothing the skin. However, many facial scrubs can also strip the skin of moisture and irritate dry skin. This is why it is important to exfoliate gently, using the right products and techniques.
The ingredients in many facial scrubs can strip the skin of essential moisture. Instead of a facial scrub, use a damp baby’s washcloth to massage your face in small, circular motions in order to gently, yet effectively exfoliate.
Get rid of gritty, abrasive body scrubs and try using a loofah, exfoliating gloves or a dry skin brush to gently exfoliate the skin.
Always moisturize your skin directly after exfoliating.
Limit the use of “treatment” products. A lot of times, dry skin is a side effect of using certain treatments, like ones for acne and wrinkles. If you are trying to clear your skin or fight off aging, this doesn’t mean you have to stop using those treatments completely. It simply means you should use them less frequently because certain active ingredients in such treatments can exacerbate dry skin, especially in the winter.
Relieve itchy skin. Dry skin often leads to itchy skin, but scratching can make dry skin worse, and even damage the skin. Sometimes moisturizing alone will help to ease any dry-skin related itchiness, but if you need some extra relief, try a hydrocortisone cream or over-the-counter anti-itch lotion.
Hydrating from the Inside
Drink lots of water. Water flushes toxins from your system and carries nutrients to your cells. This helps to prevent dry skin by keeping your skin nourished and hydrated. You should aim to drink at least two liters of water per day.
Eat fresh fruit and vegetables. A healthy and balanced diet will help your skin by providing the vitamins and nutrients that the body needs to stay healthy and hydrated. Try to eat at least 2 portions of green, leafy vegetables and 2 portions of seasonal fruits daily. Fruit and veg with a high-water content, such as watermelon, broccoli and tomatoes, are especially good for hydration.
Eat healthy fats. Eating foods containing the good types of fat contributes to the body’s overall health – increasing blood flow and the delivery of nutrients to all the body’s cells, including skin. Try to eat more foods containing monounsaturated fat, such as avocados, olives and peanut butter, and more foods containing polyunsaturated fats, such as salmon, walnuts and tofu.
Take supplements. Taking supplements is an easy and effective way to increase your intake of key nutrients and vitamins, which help to promote healthy and hydrated skin. Try taking a fish oil supplement, which is great for dry skin and eyes, or increase your intake of vitamin E, an antioxidant which repairs and protects skin.
Cut back on salty and fried foods. Salty and fried foods will dehydrate the body, exacerbating dry skin problems. Limit your intake of these foods as much as possible to avoid dehydration and benefit your overall health.
Don’t smoke. The negative side effects of smoking are well-documented, but you may not know that smoking is also bad for the skin. The tar contained in cigarettes clogs the pores, leading to blackheads and breakouts. Smoking hampers your breathing ability which inhibits circulation and deprives the skin cells of oxygen. Smoking also depletes the tissues of vitamin C, which is essential for healthy-looking skin.
Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol dehydrates the body, thus dehydrating the skin. It decreases the body’s ability to absorb fluids, leading to a loss of water, electrolytes and minerals. This causes dry, red, easily irritated skin. Try to drink alcohol in moderation, and when you are drinking, have a glass of water between drinks.
Preventing Dry Skin
Avoid excessive bathing. Do not shower or wash your face too much, as this will dry out your skin. In order to avoid dryness, you should limit your bathing to just one bath or shower a day. You should also avoid steaming your skin and washing with water that is too hot.
Use warm or lukewarm water so hydration isn’t stripped from your skin. Water that’s too hot tends to wash away your skin’s protective lipid barrier.
For the same reason, you should also avoid taking long showers or baths.
Moisturize all year round. This may be obvious to some people, but not so much to others. By moisturizing all year round, your skin will be prepared for whatever the seasons throw at it, whether it’s biting winter winds or scorching summer heat.
People with sensitive skin should avoid creams containing fragrances or lanolin as these can cause the skin to react negatively.
Try to get your hands on products that contain either glycerin or hyaluronic acid, as both of these substances are fantastically hydrating for the skin.
Wear sunscreen. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, it’s imperative that you protect your face with a cream or moisturizer that contains an SPF of 15 or higher. This will protect the sensitive skin on your face from damaging sun rays, which cause burns, sun spots and even wrinkles. Remember that you can burn your skin all year round, so sunscreen isn’t just for summer!
Use a humidifier. If the air in your house is very dry, your skin could be drying out as you sleep, leaving it feeling rough and flaky come morning. To counteract this effect, try putting a humidifier in your bedroom which you can turn on while you sleep.
Putting a bowl or pot of water next to the radiator in your bedroom is a low-cost, DIY alternative to using a humidifier.
Alternatively, try using a natural plant humidifier, such as a Boston palm, a bamboo fern, or a Ficus alii. These plants raise the level of water vapor in the air through transpiration – so try putting one in your bedroom, it’ll help your skin while giving your bedroom a tropical feel!
Cover up. Protect your skin from the elements by covering up as much as possible. In winter, protect your skin from drying winds by wearing hats, scarves and gloves. Wear a protective chapstick to shield your lips. In summer, wear a baseball cap or sunhat to protect your face from harsh rays of sun, and wear loose, light, long-sleeved shirts and pants to prevent skin from burning.
Use petroleum jelly. The hydrating properties of petroleum jelly cannot be understated. Petroleum jelly is very emollient and actually forms a barrier that prevents moisture from evaporating from the surface of the skin. It is also a cheap and cheerful option for treating dry skin on a budget. As petroleum jelly can be thick and sticky, it may be best to apply it at night. Try dampening your skin, putting on a layer of your regular moisturizer, then a applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly to seal everything in.
You can also use petroleum jelly for dry hands and feet. Coat your hands and feet with a layer of petroleum jelly before bed. Cover them with cotton gloves and socks to promote absorption and prevent the jelly from rubbing off on your sheets. Your skin will be supple and moist in the morning.
Use avocado. Mash up one half of a fresh, ripe avocado, then add in a quarter cup of organic honey. Include a teaspoon of milk or yogurt, if desired. Smear this creamy skincare recipe on your face and neck. Finally, wash it off with cool water after 10 minutes for super-nourished skin. 
Use banana. Banana can rejuvenate dry skin, making it soft and supple. Mash up half of a banana in a bowl and spread it onto your face and neck. After 5 to 10 minutes, you may rinse it off with lukewarm water. To increase the effectiveness of this facial mask, you can add a teaspoon of honey to the banana.
Use milk. Milk has been used as a hydrating beauty balm for a very long time – in fact, Queen Cleopatra used to bathe in it! If this seems a little extreme, try washing your face with milk to hydrate the skin and reduce blemishes. The best way to do this is by pouring a little whole fat milk into a cup, dipping a soft washcloth into it, then massaging the milk into your skin. The lactic acid gently cleanses the skin, while the high fat content is good for moisturization.
Use mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is considered excellent for dry skin. Apply a mixture of two tablespoons of mayonnaise, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and half a teaspoon of honey directly to your face and leave for about ten minutes. For best results, use this mayonnaise mask once a week.
Make a sugar scrub. You can make your own sugar scrub for exfoliating and hydrating dry skin using just half a cup of brown or white sugar and a splash of olive oil. If you like, you can also add a drop or two of a fragrant essential oil such as mint or vanilla extract, or a teaspoon of softening honey.
Use aloe vera. Aloe helps to rehydrate the skin and also naturally reduces redness and inflammation. To use, break off a leaf from an aloe vera plant and rub the clear, sticky sap all over your face. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse off. For best results, apply an aloe mask once or twice a week. You can easily get an aloe vera plant at a nursery or home improvement store.
Use oils. Natural oils such as olive oil, almond oil and coconut oil are all fantastic home remedies for dry and flaking skin. Simply apply a thin layer of the oil of your choice onto your skin, morning and night, for softer, smoother skin.
Use an ice cube. Try rubbing an ice cube all over your face, this makes your blood circulate round your face more, and brings moisture to the surface. Great for getting rid of dry skin and having a glowing face!
Use glycerine. Take few drops of glycerine and apply it all around your face and neck. Leave it on your face for 20 minutes, then wash it off with lukewarm water. You’ll get a glowing and supple face.
Don’t rub your dry skin as it might leave a bright red mark and irritation, no-one wants that!!
Don’t use sugar scrub. The sugar is actually quite sharp when looked at through a microscope. It will scrape your skin leaving it red and damaged. The dry skin may even stay.
If you don’t get favorable results with the above steps, consult a cosmetologist/dermatologist.
Get eczema moisturizer and soap from your local GP and use it every day as part of your daily routine. Creams like Dermol and Diprobase are recommended.
Also dryness of skin can increase the skin’s output of oil as it tries to moisturize itself – this can cause breakouts.
Dryness of skin leads to its premature aging, so don’t neglect it!
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Sources and Citations
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