Cooler temperatures are such a welcomed change after having endured a summer season laden with dry, hellish weather. Autumn is the time to stow away the bikinis and pull out the cute sweaters and stylish boots you snagged last year at the end-of-the-season clearance sale. But if you are one of the many women (or men, if you’re rocking the latest fall collection this year) those sweaters will serve a dual purpose: Yeah, you’ll be styling, but more importantly, your long sleeves will cover up your dry skin. Fall weather is a great trade-off, but with it we also lose the humidity that helped keep our skin silky soft.
Dry skin is a seasonal menace that afflicts countless numbers of people–especially those in colder climates. The first signs of dry skin tend to materialize the minute there is a dip in the temperature. Dry skin can be painful, itchy, irritating and unsightly. Some people have severely dry skin which can flake, crack and even bleed. As mentioned, dry skin is due in part to the drop in humidity outside and the need for dry heat inside. There combination is not good if you have the propensity for dry skin.
Not All Dry Skin Is Created Equal
There are many reasons one may experience dry skin. Certain types of dry skin can be hereditary. Others can manifest as we age, and the oils found in our skin begin to diminish over time. Other forms of dry skin can result from such medical conditions as asthma and thyroid problems. Harsh cleansers, repetitive hand washing and hand sanitizers containing alcohol can cause or worsen dry skin. Most instances of dry skin are not due to internal problems but because of various external issues such as the ones mentioned above; therefore, most people will achieve satisfactory results by using simple skin care products such as moisturizers. In fact, a few tweaks to your daily skin care regiment may turn dry skin into skin that is well-hydrated, soft and supple.
Treating Dry Skin
If dry skin is not properly treated it can lead to a more severe skin condition called dermatitis in which the skin becomes inflamed. In order to avoid having your present dry skin condition morph into something worse, try following the tips listed below when taking a bath or shower:
• Avoid taking long hot showers as the hot water temperature tends to strip essential oils from the skin more quickly than warm water does. Instead, try taking a 5-10 minute warm shower each day.
• Soap can be drying to the skin so choose cleansers that are soap-free and contain moisturizers.
• Apply moisturizer to skin three to five minutes after getting out of the shower to lock in moisture.
Not All Moisturizers Are Created Equal
Believe it or not, some moisturizers can actually dry out the skin causing more harm than good. Look for the following ingredients in your moisturizer:
• Ceramides: The inclusion of ceramides in a moisturizer formulation is very important as it will lock in moisture and quench dry skin. Even man-made ceramides will do an effective job in keeping the skin well hydrated.
• Hyaluronic acid: Another ingredient that will help lock in moisture.
• Lanolin, mineral oil, and petroleum jelly: These ingredients cause the skin to retain water that is lost during a bath or shower.
• Dimethicone and glycerine: Two components that form a barrier to keep moisture locked in the skin.
Sunscreen should always be included in your daily skin care ritual not only to protect the skin from the sun’s powerful UV rays but also to prevent loss of moisture from the skin. For optimal protection, choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
Say Goodbye To Dry Flaky Skin…For Good
The following tips can help you to keep your skin looking younger and feeling softer.
• Using a humidifier during the cold winter months is a great way to keep moisture in the air while you are exposed to dry indoor heat.
• Make sure that the clothing worn closest to the skin is made from cotton or other natural fibers as wools can scratch the skin and cause further inflammation and irritation.
• Stay hydrated. Shoot for 8-10 8-ounce glasses of H20 each day. Not only will this help to keep your skin hydrated, but water is essential for the optimal functioning of other bodily organs.
• Choose foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids: The benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids are many. One such benefit is the ability of these acids to strengthen existing barriers. Foods containing Omega-3 include flax, walnuts, safflower oil, and such fish as salmon and halibut.
If your experience any itching of the affected area, apply hydrocortisone cream. If itching persists, talk to your general practitioner or dermatologist