Thursday, January 16, 2014
Combating Dry Skin
The indoor environment
Most of us are indoors most of the time nowadays, but enclosed environments may be drying out our skin.
Central heating and air conditioning are both dehydrating, but this can be overcome by humidifying the air.
Even bowls of water placed on or near radiators can result in the air becoming more moist and less harmful to the skin. Don't forget the air in your car or recreational vehicle can also get quite dry, so if you spend a lot of time in these places consider getting a car humidifier too.
Some people find wearing synthetic materials can make them itch, so consider natural fabrics like cotton instead. You may also find that including more omega 3 oils in your diet (from oily fish, walnuts, safflower oil)
may help stop dry skin.
Although skin needs moisture, a hot bath or shower can actually work against the absorption of liquid, so it is
better to shower or bathe in warm, rather than hot, water. Afterwards you need to use the right products for
your skin type. Basically you want them to do two things: add moisture and seal it in.
The skin's natural oil is called sebum, produced by sebaceous glands just beneath the surface. If you have
too much your pores may become blocked, leading to acne. But too little sebum means the waterproofing
system for your body is not working properly. This means too much moisture is seeping out, rather than being kept in.
Use a mild cleanser for washing, preferably fragrance free and hypo-allergenic. Helpful ingredients include
ceramides and glycerin, which let the skin absorb more water. Lanolin comes from sheep's wool, and protects the animals from the elements, so will do the same for you. Oil-based moisturizers are best for dry skin because they mimic the natural sebum and retain moisture. Primrose and almond oil are useful, as are
avocado and mineral oils.
Extremes of weather are bound to affect the skin, so make sure you are protected before you venture out.
Sunscreen may be needed in winter as well as summer. Winter sun can be very harmful to those with dry
skin, along with frosty air and a biting wind. Chapped lips are a common problem and there are many lip
salves for this, but hands can also suffer and need a cream that provides intensive moisture. Exfoliating the
skin on the feet, elbows, or wherever you have dry patches, will help the skin absorb and retain more
However, if you take all these precautions and are still suffering, seek help from a qualified dermatologist.