Have you thought twice about how often your skin is dry? It may not be as bad as you think. If you are like me, I take for granted the times when my skin is excellent - and only take notice when my skin hurting - like during the winter when I'm outside in the cold, dry air. Or after a long weekend playing gigs in the mountains and not drinking enough water.
If you have seriously dry skin, you know it - your pores are smaller, retaining less dirt, less oil, and less moisture. You may struggle with dry skin year-round, regardless of the weather conditions. If you often notice and question why those around you have shinier skin on their cheeks and forehead, you may be predisposed to having dry skin.
There is a lot you can do to help balance the moisture in your skin. You may have to make some adjustments to your diet and skin care regimen - but most of these suggestions are fun and healthy.
Do You Have Dry Skin?
I have dry skin - let me tell you about the symptoms. After working in the garden on a hot summer day, hands-in-dirt, my skin can be flaky. I mean white-hand-print on a black-shirt dry. On my stomach, I've felt itchy and sometimes a rash will form at random times in the day. And if I've had a really hot shower, my entire body often needs lotion. The reason for this is that my skin is insufficient in the oil it needs to retain moisture.
Understanding Our Skin
Of all the layers of the skin, dryness is caused by a lack of moisture in the corneous layer. If we think about how a windbreaker helps retain heat - the corneous is the outermost layer of the skin that helps retain moisture.
People with dry skin are more inclined to have cracked skin, wrinkles and other signs of aging. Fortunately, there are ways to improve these conditions.
The Problem With Dry Skin Is..
As if leaving streaks of white after touching something wasn't bad enough, dry skin comes with its' own set of problems. It can make us sensitive to shaving and prone to razor burn. It will allow essential oils in our skin care products to cause irritation and form a rash. It's itchy. And worst of all, it may make us self-conscious.
But that's not all: if we do not take care of our dry skin, it can lead to more complicated problems. For years I have had people approach me concerned about their skin condition. They tried prescription creams and steroids, and anything their doctor recommends. I am not a certified dermatologist, but I know dry skin - it evolves into worse conditions when neglected (eczema, psoriasis).
Mindfulness for Happier Skin
Our body is a temple, and we must maintain the balance. Our outsides need as much attention as our insides. I am talking about our diet and hygiene. But how do we know what balance is and if we are in it? I'll reserve my philosophy on mindfulness for another editorial - but it means to be thoughtful and aware of your body and how it feels. Keeping a journal can help us organize our thoughts and provides a ledger for reflection on our past
Diet for Healthier Skin
Remember when I said it would be fun? Make a list of all the foods you eat. Categorize them in three columns: Healthy, Neutral, and Not Healthy. Include candies, snacks cooking oils, proteins, teas, and coffees. Research may be required. I consider food like "potatoes" to be nutritionally "neutral."
Once finished, make a new box with two columns using the same food items from your first list. Make one column for Fats and one for Sugars. I identify food like fish, butter, and half-&-half to be Fats, whereas chocolate chips, coffee creamer, and Odwalla smoothies would be Sugars.
If you have more sugars than fats on your list, you may have discovered your first problem: diet. We want to eat enough healthy fats and oils for our skin to naturally be more oily. And similarly, too much sugar will disrupt this balance, disrupting our body's PH and making it difficult for our skin to regulate and retain oil.
I will choose a burger (meat or veggie-protein-patty) over an Odwalla protein smoothie any day. Both Naked and Odwalla drinks are loaded with sugar. Being an active individual, I am less worried about eating fats and carbs, and more concerned with my sugar intake.
Water for Hydrated Skin
Drink water. I don't drink enough. Living in Colorado, it is impossible.
Bathing and Hygiene
I believe that people bathe too often. And in bathing, we risk rendering the oil from our skin by taking a shower that is too hot. To avoid this, reduce the length of bath time and don't forget to rinse with cool water to close the pores to help retain the oil in the skin. Adding epsom salts and minerals to your bath water also helps replenish your skin - and it feels great on the muscles.
Use Simple Skin Care Products
If our skin is angry, adding an expensive, high-end skin care product is not going to help. A prescription steroid cream likely won't help, either. Especially avoid products with heavy scents or perfumes
We want to use products with simple ingredients and no chemicals. Depending on the severity of your skin, you may want to avoid essential oils, too. We recommend plain soap, like our Plain Jane coconut oil bar soap, and a thick cream like our coconut oil and beeswax Soul Cream preserved with apple cider vinegar. And you can always moisturize your skin with something as simple as fractionated coconut oil or olive oil.