Dry skin can be caused by many things, mostly external. The human skin is normally coated with a fine layer of lipids or fatty substances (oil). The first defense I recommend for dry skin is natural soap . Any “soap” that contains a surfactant such as sodium isethionate is, in fact, a detergent. “Detergents are surfactants that help remove organic compounds from a substance by making them dissolve more readily in the water in which the substance is washed”. Those lipids that protect your skin are organic compounds and commercial soaps strip them from your skin. No matter how much moisturizer the bar of soap has in it, that moisturizer is not a complete replacement for those natural lipids.
Hot showers or baths also dissolve those lipids. Short tepid showers are preferable to hot showers or baths for those with dry skin. The less time your skin is bombarded or soaked in water, the more natural lipids are left on the skin.
Most adults do not get dirty enough to warrant a full body soaping. Usually hands, face, underarms, groin and feet are all that need to be washed with soap unless you’re a construction worker or some other profession who gets really dirty during the course of the day.
Don’t rub your body dry. Pat it dry and apply moisturizer immediately. Applying moisturizer to dry skin doesn’t do much good. If you pat yourself dry you’re leaving behind some moisture for the moisturizer to seal in. Unless you have major dry skin problems that leave the skin cracked and bleeding I’d suggest using plain coconut oil for a moisturizer. Your skin will completely absorb it without leaving any greasy feeling. Of course if you have areas that are raw or severely irritated you will need a thick moisturizer that will coat and seal those areas.
Our nice airtight, energy efficient homes are another culprit in the dry skin problem They produce dry heat and remove all humidity from the air. Reducing the heat in your home and/or running a humidifier can help.
Now lets look at the internal causes. What we eat and drink usually changes drastically during cold weather. We want comfort foods. What most people consider comfort foods consist of simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates raise the blood sugar level. Elevated blood sugar levels can lead to dehydration. Our drink of choice may contain caffeine, and we may find ourselves drinking more of this drink of choice. Caffeine causes dehydration in addition to over stimulating the adrenal glands. When the adrenal glands are overstimulated they continually produce hormones intended to help respond to the fight or flight instinct. When they continually produce these hormones, we may experience cravings for caffeine, sugar, and salt. This overstimulation can also lead to fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, depression and many other symptoms.
So now you not only have dry skin, you have a lot of other symptoms that you may just chalk up to winter blues, but in reality are a result of your diet.
Try to cut back on any drink that has caffeine in it. Drinking water is distasteful or even repugnant to some people, but it is a necessity. Try drinking just 4 oz of water every 30 minutes to an hour during the day between 8 am and 6 pm. These are the hours your digestive system is most active and can readily process the water and send it to the cells to keep them hydrated.
If you still have problem dry skin after using the tips here consult your health care professional as dry skin can be a symptom of more severe problems.
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