How to treat and prevent dry skin
Dry skin has a parched look caused by its inability to retain moisture. This usually affects face, hands, arms and legs. We usually apply some type of moisturizer or skin cream after taking a bath for a temporary relief from skin tightness. Symptoms of dry skin are:
- cracking and chapping of the affected area
- skin becomes “tight” and uncomfortable, and
- scaling and flaking
Before I mention the tips in preventing dry skin, let’s take a look first at the causes.
Causes of Dry Skin
- Poor diet
- Environmental factors such as exposure to the sun, wind, heat, cold and winter
- Oil glands that do not supply enough lubrication making skin dull and dehydrated
- Drugs such as antihistamines, antispasmodics, and diuretics
- Genetic skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, and seborrhea
- Skin complications in diabetics
- Kidney disease
- Chemical poisoning
- Chemicals, excessive bathing with harsh soap, or cosmetics
- Alcohol, caffeine, smoking
- Age. As people get older production of sebaceous glands decreases and skin looses its elasticity thus making it dry.
Simple tips in preventing dry skin
- Use gentle cleansers. Avoid harsh abrasives and deodorant soaps. Use soap-free product, moisturizing soap or gentle, grain-based cleanser.
- Use humidifiers. They restore healthful humidity to your home and office environment.
- Protect your skin from environmental elements. Wind, sun, cold, and heat exacerbate the condition of dry skin. Before exposing yourself to these elements, apply a moisturizer. To feel wonderfully refreshed and hydrated – use aromatic oils such as rose, lavender, or German chamomile oils and spray onto your face, hands, neck and chest.
- Increase water intake. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day to keep your skin and body hydrated. If you are super-active, drink more.
- Use mineral water to freshen your face. Avoid using tap water when cleansing because the deposits are too drying on the skin.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine. They act as diuretics and surely can make your skin dry.
- Drink fresh juice. Avoid soft drinks, or eat junk foods, chocolates and other sugary foods.
- Eat a balanced-diet which includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and seeds.
- Add oil to your bath. Soak in the water for at least 5 minutes. Then, add a tablespoon of jojoba, olive, hazelnut or almond oil to your bath. Oil will seal in the absorbed moisture.
- Limit hot water baths and showers. Avoid long hot baths and showers because they dehydrate the skin.
- Include in your diet foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Sources of omega 3s are: oily fish like herring, salmon, sardines, black cod, mackerel and bluefish; hemp, flax and walnuts. You can also take omega 3 fatty acids supplements daily.
- Avoid fried foods, heat-processed vegetable oils and animal fats. Heating oils leads to production of free radicals, which cause dry skin.
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Treatment for dry skin
- Exfoliate. Over time, dead skin cells build up and may become unresponsive to moisturizers and creams. In order for the skin to be responsive to moisturizers, get rid of dead skin cells by exfoliating. Exfoliating is the first step before going the next treatment. Great exfoliating formulas, facial and body scrubs are widely available.
- Moisturize. After you have done exfoliating, you’re now ready for moisturizing. Apply your favorite and effective moisturizer to your face and body.
Do this regimen as often as three times a week. Try a non-petroleum jelly which is available in any drugstore.
If dry skin persists, consult your doctor—you may have some serious health problems.