Caring For Dry Skin

On Saturday, April 9th, 2011

People with dry skin know keeping it hydrated is a monumental challenge, and results in a never-ending quest for moisture. Lotions and moisturisers are necessary but only half of the equation. Not only is it important to care for your skin on the outside, but skincare from the inside can also make a big difference, especially for people with dry skin.

Sure, spend the cash on creams and sunscreen, but there are also some lifestyle considerations. Taking note of these simple guidelines will help minimize dry skin from the inside out.

To keep your skin hydrated be sure to drink plenty of water. Avoid diuretics such as caffeine and alcohol. Eat a diet rich in omega fatty acids, such as tuna, salmon, nuts, avocados and flax seed. Also avoid wheat products that have had the wheat germ removed as they can be very drying.

Foods rich in zinc, vitamin E and sulphur are also important for minimizing dry skin and boosting collagen production. Foods high in zinc include oysters, crab, white kidney beans, beef, eggs, garlic and onions.

Antioxidant fruits such as blueberries, tomatoes and oranges are high in vitamin C, which is also vital for collagen production which helps to plump up the skin. Foods high in beta-carotene, the orange foods such as carrots and pumpkins are also important for supple skin. One of the best things you can do for your skin is to eat a diet high in olive oil, which is also high in beta-carotene and vitamin E.

There are some basic lifestyle guidelines for battling dry skin from the outside too. In the winter, be sure to keep the humidity as high as possible in your home. If you do not have a humidifier on your heater, keep some portable humidifiers running all winter. It’s not very environmentally friendly, but running the shower on hot and steaming up the air in your living space can also be effective, especially before retiring for the evening.

Be sure not to take showers or baths that are too long or hot and avoid use of harsh, petroleum-based soaps and cleansers, as this will strip natural oils out of the skin. Choose olive oil or goat-milk based soaps instead. Add lavender or olive oil to your bath, pat rather than rub your skin dry, and use a moisturiser while your skin is still damp to lock in extra moisture.

Finding the right skincare products for your skin can be a daunting task and requires many months of experimentation. Usually, it will be quite apparent within a week whether a product is right for you. If you skin is getting dryer or you are developing comedones (lumps or blackheads) stop using that product and try something else. Once you have found a few moisturising products that work for your skin, be sure to change products regularly as the skin can get tired if you use the same product month after month.

Dry skin tends to accumulate dead surface cells and can become dull and flaky if not properly exfoliated. Exfoliate weekly after cleansing to keep the skin’s healthy cells at the surface and remove any build up of dead cells. This will also prepare the skin to better accept a moisturiser. Don’t use soap. Cream cleansers are gentler on dry skin than soap. Also be sure to use an alcohol-free toner, as nothing is more drying to the skin than alcohol.

When choosing a moisturiser, look for products that lock in moisture but still allow the skin to breathe, such as glycerine, which helps bind moisture to the skin, and lanolin, which creates a barrier that prevents moisture from escaping. It may take a while to find the perfect product, but it will be well worth investing the time to find out which products work best with your own unique skin chemistry.

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