Help for Dry Skin

Dry skin can be unsightly and uncomfortable.  More than that, it can be downright unhealthy.  Dry skin can cause cracking, peeling, and bleeding, which may lead to infections or scarring.  There are lots of ways that you can manage dry skin at home, and even some medical treatments if you have a more serious issue.  Below, you’ll find some interesting facts about dry skin, and some ways you can help your skin stay fresh and healthy.

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I love taking hot showers, but I heard this is bad for my skin.


You heard correctly. While hot showers can be indulgent, using hot water and harsh soap each day or even multiple times per day for some people is drying and damaging to the skin. It strips the skin of important oils and changes the acidity of the surface of the skin, making it unable to hold on to moisture. Try showers that are a little less hot, and cool showers if you can. Even turning water to cool at the end of your shower will help to close pores and keep essential moisture in.


How can I keep my skin from being so dry in the winter?


In the winter, the air is drier, so it saps the moisture right out of your skin. In addition to moisturizing daily, there are a few things you can do. Use a humidifier in your bedroom at night, so the air has more moisture in it. This can also help with winter sinus problems! Wear a scarf over your nose and mouth when outside in the cold, and stick to natural fibers like cotton, linen, silk, wool, hemp, or bamboo, which are gentle on the skin and allow it to breathe.


How should I moisturize my skin?


The best way to use moisturizer is right after a shower or right after washing your face. This is because your pores are still open and your skin is softer, so it can absorb the nutrients in your moisturizer more effectively.

Aim for a moisturizer that has natural ingredients, but NOT oil-free. Natural oils are more compatible with your skin's chemistry and can mimic the oils that your skin should produce, so a moisturizer with a good blend of oils can keep your skin in better condition.


Are there any foods that help with dry skin?


In this case, fats are your friend. Eating enough of the right kinds of fat can make a dramatic difference in skin health. Coconut and avocado oil are clean fats that you can cook with, and even make dressings out of. Butter is also a good choice because it has vitamins that can help your skin glow. Salmon, avocados, walnuts, and flax are high in Omega-3 oils that can be very beneficial to the skin.


Shouldn't I use the strongest skin cleanser to remove dirt and oil?


Many people will choose to use strong, harsh detergent-based cleansers with powerful oil-dissolving abilities, thinking that oil has to be removed often and thoroughly. The oils that your skin produce are what help to protect it and keep it moist. Removing these oils can lead to dry skin and premature aging of the skin. Instead, choose cleansers that are made from natural ingredients, and choose the most gentle formulation. It will still remove all the dirt and grime from the day while leaving your skin's health intact.


What can I do for dry, red, and itchy skin?


Making great decisions about your skin can make a huge difference, but sometimes you might have a more severe case than a salmon fillet, or two can handle. For really itchy, red, dry skin, you might want to talk to your dermatologist. You can be prescribed an anti-inflammatory cream and even antibacterial ointments.

There are also over the counter treatments, such as creams that contain hydrocortisone, aloe, or sulfur, for various types of skin inflammation.

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