Hair Skin Care Dry Skin

Remember when you were young? Your skin was the epitome of youth: smooth, supple, always perfectly moisturized. But now that you’ve passed the golden age of your teen years, your skin is beginning to show the harsh ravages of daily life. You can no longer romp around in the sandbox for an entire day without frequent visits to your autumn apple-scented bottle of lotion. Sure you would love to swing on the monkey bars without worrying about dry skin, but you just can’t ignore the itchiness and scaly look of your skin.

That’s understandable. Millions of Americans have dry skin-especially during the winter months-and millions more buy the vast number of skin care products to counteract dry skin. But moisturizers aren’t the only solution. With only a few lifestyle changes, you can moisturize your skin with only a little help from people named Ralph, Tommy or Calvin.

Causes of Dry Skin

You can’t cure dry skin if you don’t know what’s causing it.

  • The wonders of winter: And you thought the winter months meant cozy fires and homemade soup. Unfortunately, the winter months mean dry skin for a lot of people. One reason is because the air is colder and drier (not conducive to moisturizing your skin). The other reason is that you spend more times indoors, where it’s warmer, but drier.
  • Your inheritance: You may have inherited mom’s personality and dad’s good looks, but you also got their dry skin.
  • You want fries with that?: A poor diet means more than just a big belly. If you’re lacking in vitamins A and B, you might be lucky enough to get dry skin.
  • The elements: The sun (fire), wind, water and earth all contribute to dry skin. Yes, even water. All those showers remove the natural oils coating your body.
  • Medical complications: Skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema (dermatitis) will also dry out your skin.

Caring for Your Dry Skin

Long hot showers are one of the major causes of dry skin. You may feel clean and refreshed, but in a matter of minutes, your skin will look chapped and parched. The easiest solution to this problem is to not take as many showers. Unless you swim in mud for a living, you don’t need five showers a day. But if you must shower after every meal, then cut down on the duration of each shower. Long showers wash off more of your natural oils. And instead of hot water (which will soften up the oils and make it easier to wash away), use warm water-it’s better for your skin, not to mention your scalp and hair.

While you’re showering, try not to use soap. Soap irritates and dries the skin. If you just can’t shower without soap, use a mild bar soap. Liquid soap, shower gels, glycerin soap and deodorant soap are all very harsh to your skin. And try to use the soap only on parts of the body that really need it: your face, armpits, genitals, and feet.

Once you’re done showering (seems like everything you were doing in the shower was bad for your skin, huh?), pat dry with a towel. Rubbing dry will further irritate the skin. Leave yourself a bit damp. Immediately after, moisturize your skin with bath oil or moisturizing lotion.

Of course there are other ways to moisturize your skin.

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration will not help your skin look its very best.
  • During the winter months, the air is drier-indoors and out. Use a mist vaporizer or humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home.
  • Wash with your hands instead of a washcloth or loofah.

The general rule of thumb when using moisturizers is “the oilier, the better.” Oil-based moisturizers work better than water-based moisturizers because they won’t evaporate and can trap the water better. Furthermore, water-based moisturizers contain alcohol and may dry the skin when used repeatedly.