By: Dr. Loretta Lanphier, ND, CN, HHP, CH
Dry skin tends to be sensitive and bothersome without the frequent use of a moisturizer. It has a low level of sebum (skin oil), and can appear rough and/or chalky due to the lack of hydration. Dry skin also feels taut, itchy, and can be quite uncomfortable. Chafing and cracking are also symptoms of dry skin. Extreme hot or cold conditions make dry skin worse. In the winter, dry indoor heat can aggravate it, and in the summer, high temperatures and air conditioning are hard on dry skin as well. One clue that may tip you off to dry skin is a characteristic dullness in the areas of the eyes and cheeks.
What Causes Dry Skin?
Dry skin can be brought on or worsened by a number of factors. Sometimes people inherit dry skin. The inability to produce enough sebum seems to run in families. Environmental conditions also contribute to dry skin. Besides weather, pollutants and toxic chemicals in many skin care products will irritate dry skin as well. Diet plays a role too. If you don’t get enough proper water and nutrition, especially the A and B vitamins, dry skin may result. Certain medical conditions (and/or medications used to treat them) may cause dry skin too. Examples include diabetes, hypothyroidism, dermatitis, and eczema. Certain medications are also known to dry out the skin, including diuretics, antihistamines, and antispasmodics.
Caring For Dry Skin
Dry skin requires proper care and attention. Below are some effective techniques for cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting dry skin.
As with all skin types, your dry skin needs regular cleansing. However, you must be particularly careful regarding your choice of products and techniques when cleansing dry skin. It is best to use a mild, organic cleanser, such as Hydra-Tone™, that is specially formulated for dry skin. Use your fingers to carefully massage the cleanser into your skin, then splash off with lukewarm water. Never use hot or cold water. Don’t use a washcloth, and be sure when drying to lightly dab your face with a soft, clean, organic cotton towel.
There are pros and cons to cleansing your face. It’s great to remove all the dirt, grime, and other debris, but it also tends to eliminate most of your natural skin oils as well. That’s where a moisturizer comes in. A quality organic moisturizing product will help your skin to lock in its own natural moisture. Purely Ageless™ is excellent for moisturizing dry skin. It should be applied liberally, especially just after bathing or washing your face. Massage it in using a circular motion. On your face, be sure to use plenty of moisturizer on the neck and around the eyes, as these two areas tend to easily develop wrinkles and crow’s feet.
As we have learned, dry skin is especially vulnerable to environmental conditions. Daily use of a natural sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 goes a long way toward protecting your skin from the damaging rays of the sun. It is also recommended to wear loose fitting, comfortable cotton clothing, allowing your skin to breathe and reducing irritation. A wide-brimmed hat is also helpful to protect your fragile facial skin from the sun.
Tips For Dry Skin Care
If your skin is dry, your lips likely are too. Use an organic lip moisturizer and apply several times throughout the day and before bed. This will keep your lips moist and protected.
Using a humidifier can add moisture to your home or work environment, especially in the cold winter months.
Use an organic facial mask specifically formulated for dry skin. This should be done weekly to purge your face of dull, dry surface cells.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of purified water, as it will go far toward keeping your skin nourished and moisturized from the inside out.
Herbs For Dry Skin Care
Aloe vera will soothe, restore, and hydrate your dry skin. It also assists in the removal of dead skin cells. Apply aloe vera topically on your skin’s problem areas. A product such as AloeCalm™ is highly recommended for dry skin.
Calendula and comfrey are natural skin softeners. They can be utilized in a facial sauna, or used to make herbal or floral waters. Comfrey also reduces redness and irritation.
Lavender oil is an excellent skin softener and moisturizer. Try adding a few drops to your bath.
Tea tree oil will help to improve the overall condition of your skin. Adding a drop or two to your moisturizer will provide additional softening and nourishment.
About the Author
Loretta Lanphier, ND, CN, HHP, CH is a Doctor of Naturopath, Clinical Nutritionist, Holistic Health Practitioner and Clinical Herbalist in Houston, TX and Founder / CEO of Oasis Advanced Wellness. Under her leadership, Oasis Advanced Wellness is known and respected as one of the leading companies in providing safe and clean hi-tech natural health and wellness solutions. Because of the need for high-end natural and organic skin care products, Dr. Lanphier has developed Lanique Organics, an all-natural skin-care line which promotes natural health for the skin.