If you have dry skin, you have probably struggled enough with trying to make it smooth and soft. Today, we will discuss what causes the skin to be dry and how it can be fixed with natural remedies.
It is that time of year again where we crank up the central heating, add more wood to the fire and layer up on clothes during these cold winter months. Whilst we feel warm and cozy, we are causing havoc with our dry skin with this artificial heat.
What causes dry skin?
Normal skin has a thin layer of fatty substances, called lipids. These lipids retain the moisture and ensure the skin stays soft and limber. We experience dry skin from one of two ways, either from the environment (central heating) or from something we do to our skin (over-exfoliating for example).
Both of these ways are removing that layer of fatty substance, which leaves our skin unprotected against the elements.
The most common areas of the body to experience dry skin are on the arms, hands, lower legs, and abdomen and of course the face.
During winter, the air is a lot dryer both naturally and down to our central heating systems. This dry air draws the moisture out of the skin and many refer to dry skin during winter as the winter itch. We tend to enjoy a hot bath or shower for longer during the winter months and this will also dry out your already sensitive skin.
Many of the popular brands of soap, shower gels, and shampoos on the market today contain harsh chemicals that are designed to remove oil from the skin. Those of us who suffer from oily facial skin, are always looking for products that will remove the oily glow.
These products will strip the moisture from your skin as well as of course the oil. This leaves the skin open to the elements that will dry it further.
If you are a regular swimmer, you may notice your skin is always dry. Especially if you take a break and then go back to it, you might feel it particularly tight after that first swim. This is because of the chlorine used in swimming pools.
What are the symptoms of dry skin?
You will be pleased to hear that most dry skin only occurs in winter and clears up as we approach spring. However, there are some symptoms to look out for:
- Tight skin after a shower, bath or a swim
- Increased and incessant need to itch
- Either slight or severe flaking or peeling of the skin on the problem areas
- Skin feeling rough
- A grey/ash tone of your skin
- Skin becoming red and sore
Below are some well-tested home remedies:
1. Bypass the hot shower
I know, am I mad? It’s January and particularly chilly here in Europe, but a piping hot shower will further dry out and irritate your dry skin. Turn the temperature down so it’s a lukewarm shower and switch to a natural, more gentle soap to wash with and avoid anything heavily scented.
2. Use a natural exfoliate (in moderation)
It’s important to exfoliate even if you suffer from dry skin, but it’s important to not do it too often. You should only need to exfoliate between 1-3 times a week. We are becoming more aware of how bad the beads that some brands use are for the environment.
At the same time, the natural ones on the market can be very expensive, so below is a quick homemade recipe for a gentle, natural exfoliate.
Coconut body scrub
- 113g coconut oil
- 113g brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix the ingredients together and store in a dry jar. Rub onto the skin in the skin when wet, massage and then rinse.
3. Moisturise the skin whilst it’s damp
Whatever your routine is for moisturizing your skin, try and adapt it so you do it right after a shower or bath whilst the skin is damp, not wet. By doing so you are locking in the moisture from the cream with the warm, damp skin.
4. Soothe itchy skin with milk
If you are having a flare-up of itchy skin go the fridge and grab some milk…not to drink but to apply to the skin. Cold milk is soothing on the skin and the lactic acid is great for your skin, as it contains anti-inflammatory properties.
5. Cover yourself with honey and olive oil…avoiding any feathers!
Both honey and olive oil are fantastic for the skin, so why not combine the two and slather yourself in them. Apply to the dry areas and leave for at least twenty minutes and then wipe off.
6. Try an overnight oil treatment
Using either coconut or olive oil, take your usual nightly bath or shower, ensuring you don’t stay for so long that your skin doesn’t wrinkle. Once you are out, cover yourself with either coconut or olive oil, put some old pajamas on and put yourself to bed. You will feel incredibly and soft in the morning.
Give one or all of these methods a go and see if it improves how your skin feels.