Dry Skin Solutions

Dry skin is affected by the environment and extremes of heat and cold are a problem. The good news is that there are natural ways of dealing with this type of skin.

Is your skin normal to dry? If you already know the answer to this, please don't feel insulted. And feel free to skip the next couple of paragraphs. I promise not to be offended.:)

But if you're not sure and you'd like to know how to tell whether you have dry or oily skin, read on.

The truth is that most of us have skin that tends towards being dry or oily. There's really no such thing as "perfect" skin. Even those who seem to have normal (that's just another word for perfect, by the way) skin will sometimes suffer from flaky patches or visible pores. OK. End of speech. Time to move on.

So how do you know if your skin type is normal to dry (instead of say, normal to oily)? Here are some tell-tale signs:

- Dull surface appearance

- Flaky or dry white patches

- Peeling, redness, cracks

- Fine lines around the eyes and lips

- Skin feels tight in harsh weather

- Skin feels rough or uneven to the touch

- Stinging, tingling, itching

Dry skin is the commonest skin problem worldwide. It can be triggered by different factors like sudden changes in the environment, low temperatures and low humidity. Add to that normal aging, genetics, psychological stress and exposure to chemicals and you can see why this skin problem is so common.

Click here to find out more about what causes skin to be dry.

If your skin has a tendency to be dry, you will need to make sure it is constantly hydrated. One way to do this is to drink lots of water - at least one and half litres (two and half pints) every day. It's also important to cleanse this type of skin gently, to avoid removing its protective film.

One of the skin's many jobs is to act as a barrier between the body and the outside world. Dry skin is often associated with a weakened barrier function in some skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis.

Moisturizers play an important role in repairing skin that is dry. But not all moisturizers are created equal.

If a moisturizer is greasy or sticky or it has a strong smell, you'll probably not want to use a lot of it or to use it often. Ditto if it stings or burns your skin. To get the best results from a moisturizer, you'll need to use it regularly, so choose your moisturizer wisely.

Why use a moisturizer? Good question. The short answer is...

...because your skin is thirsty.

But I can tell you'd like a longer answer so here's one just for you. A good moisturizer hydrates the skin and also causes changes in the structure and barrier function of the skin. Its effectiveness will depend mainly on the ingredients. For example, aloe vera helps relieve dry, itchy skin.

Moisturizers can be absorbed into the skin, stay on the surface, evaporate, or get rubbed off on other materials that come in contact with the skin. Studies have shown that only half of all moisturizers stay on the surface 8 hours after they have been applied.

The ingredients in some moisturizers can cause stinging, burning, itching and other reactions. Products that contain lactic acid, urea, benzoic acid or sorbic acid, propylene glycol. If you have a reaction after applying a moisturizer, read the label to see if one or more of these ingredients is present.

Click here to read more about dry skin moisturizers.

Here are some top tips for repairing dry skin:

- Wash skin with warm, not hot, water

- Use as little soap as possible. Even better, do not use soap to wash your face. Use a gentle cleanser instead.

- Drink plenty of water.

Here is my recommendation for a rich yet gentle cleansing lotion that leaves skin feeling soft, smooth and supple.

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