Dry skin can feel uncomfortably tight. The drier it is the rougher and/or flakier it becomes. Dry skin is lacking natural skin oil (sebum), which makes it more susceptible to premature aging.
You may naturally have dry skin, however, it can become drier and dehydrated further due to any of the following factors: An unhealthy diet low in essential fatty acids, insufficient water intake, ill health, stress, incorrect product use, long hot baths or showers, central heating, air conditioning, extreme weather conditions or harsh use of face cloths. Shower filters can reduce chemicals added into water at the treatment plant which may dry and irritate sensitive skin.
Be gentle with your skin
Use gentle products, with skin friendly ingredients.
Be gentle when applying and removing products from the skin. Do not tug, rub or scrub the skin.
Use soft cloths and pillowcases such as those made from bamboo.
Cleanse and moisturise twice a day
Very dry skin may need moisturiser applied several times a day to keep skin soft and supple.
Always cleanse and moisturise your skin before bed, even if you are not wearing make-up. Pollution, grime, bacteria can build up during the day. Cleanse and moisturise in the morning, your skin will need replenishment and protection from the environment. Regular gentle cleansing and moisturising with antioxidant rich moisturisers and or serums will help to fight free radicals and reduce damage.
Choose skincare products formulated with ingredients to nourish and protect
Plant oils are very efficient cleansers and moisturisers, nutrient rich, cold pressed unrefined plant oils also feed the skin.
EFA`s, antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E are particularity important in skincare.
Dry skin will benefit from a blend of nutrient, vitamin, anti-oxidant and EFA rich oils to nourish, help replenish and reduce water loss from the skin, alpha linolenic (Omega 3) rich oils, are of particular importance to dry skin prone to irritation and inflammation.
Rich textured oils and butters, rich in saturated fatty acids and very long chain fatty acids added to a blend of polyunsaturated rich oils will help to protect dry skin from dehydration.
Certain essential oils can help add properties to skincare to benefit skin health, however this is a huge subject which I will cover in another article.
Think holistically, healthy skin does not just happen with a good skincare regime
Think about absorption - what goes on the skin.
Cosmetics and toiletries, even products such as nail varnish, which never touches the skin can cause reactions.
Cleaning and household products, laundry detergent and conditioner.
There are many natural alternatives available.
Use laundry soap that is as natural as possible, free from harsh artificial chemicals that can irritate your skin.
Choose cleaning products that are preferably organically certified, though small brands cannot always afford to certify their products with organic certification bodies, so check their ingredients are organically certified. Or better still make your own, there are plenty of recipes using kitchen cupboard staples. Wash balls are great for lightly soiled articles, if your fabric is stained, use neat white distilled vinegar on the stain. Add 1/2 cup of white, distilled vinegar to the last rinse cycle of a load to act as a natural fabric softener.
Clean your make-up bag, brushes and applicators regularly.
I use castile soap and water.
Always wash clothes, towels, cloths and bed linen before use. Bamboo requires no harsh toxic pesticides and fertilisers to grow, it is soft and naturally anti-bacterial, making it ideal to use for sensitive skin. I use face cloths and pillow cases made from bamboo. Think about bleached and dyed fabric, what processes it has gone through and how this will affect your skin (and the planet, other eco fabrics include hemp and flax (linen).
Stress can affect our health and therefor our skin. Stress management may also be helpful, there will be a different article on how to help reduce stress and improve sleep.
Diet has a huge impact on your skin and the rest of your body
As well as using truly natural and organic beauty products, and household cleaning products, try to have a healthy, balanced, varied diet.
Your skin and body will thank you for essential fatty acid, nutrient rich and anti-oxidant rich foods and skincare. Zinc helps to make new cells and healing wounds. It is found in: Meat, shellfish, dairy, whole grain cereals, wheat germ, pumpkin, sesame, squash seeds, pomegranates, avocados, raspberries, loganberries, dates, soybeans, lima beans, green beans, brussel sprouts, asparagus, potatoes, pumpkin, and swiss chard, spinach, mushrooms, cashew nuts, pine nuts, pecan nuts, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and dark chocolate.
Omega 3 and 6 are called essential fatty acids
Omega 3 and 6 are essential for health and should be consumed in the correct ratio, most western diets are severely lacking in omega 3. There are three types of omega 3 fatty acids: Alpha linolenic acid, are found in plants, such as chia, flax and hemp, sacha inchi seeds, walnuts and green leafy vegetables. Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid are found in fish. Marine algae and phytoplankton are thought to contain omega-3 fatty acids, which could be is good news for vegetarian and vegans, as all 3 types of omega 3 fatty acids should be consumed.
Try and eat plenty of fresh, organic vegetables, and a few fruits (remember sugar content).
Avoid processed foods.
You may find it helpful to reduce dairy, sugar and refined grains such as white flour and rice, white bread, pasta and rice, for a month or so and see if you notice a difference in the condition of your skin. If you are concerned about your calcium intake while reducing your dairy intake, good sources of calcium includes: Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and okra, nuts, fish where you eat the bones such as sardines and pilchards.
Hydrate with filtered water or herbal tea (not fruit teas).
Try adding fruit to your water, cucumber water is delicious and nutritious! Freshly squeezed lemon in room temperature filtered water every morning helps in many ways.
Consider a probiotic
(Ask about probiotics at an independent health food shop you trust and has nutritional knowledge)
The condition of your skin may be a symptom of the disruption of flora in the intestinal tract.
Live natural organic cows, ewes or goats milk yoghurt, (if you are not vegan or dairy intolerant) can also help build up your good bacteria.