Your normally smooth, supple skin sometimes gets dry. It happens. But don’t you just hate it when it happens, though? And what about having naturally dry skin? While there are different ways of handling this, a dry skin cream would also work wonders.
It can be so embarrassing having to wear sleeves and pants on all day round the year just to protect your skin. And having to choose the right dry skin cream can be so tedious, especially with the varieties available.
But how does a normally supple skin become dry? Any number of reasons can cause dry skin.
When the skin does not have all it needs for a healthy and glowing, it becomes dry. Again, winter is usually the harshest season on the skin. The natural cold and your body’s natural warmth would meet to cause dryness.
A survey revealed that nearly half the population don’t do anything about moisturizing their skin during winter months.
Almost 70 percent of people experience dry skin at one point or another in their lives. But for some people, it comes naturally.
Some signs that your skin is dry are itching, scaling and cracking.
The effects of the dryness of the skin can be seen on any part of the outer body. It’s fairly common to find some dryness on the legs, arms, hands and some parts of the face.
Causes of Dry Skin
There are several known causes of dryness of the skin. Let’s look at a few:
Lack of Vitamin A
Low levels of vitamin A are fairly common with most people. When a person lacks sufficient vitamin A, it makes the skin increase the shedding of its cells. This is part of what results in dry skin.
This is a condition where a person has low thyroid functions. Low thyroid leads to poor circulation and this results in dry skin.
This is more distinct in cold weather because blood is shifted from the skin to more inner parts to preserve body heat, in order to protect the body from shock.
Excessive Exfoliation of the Skin
Regular exfoliating comes highly recommended by top cosmetologists across the world. This is because the process of exfoliation removes old skin on the surface, leaving fresh and healthy-looking skin.
However, when exfoliating is done more often than necessary, it can dry out the skin. This leaves it looking flaky and parched. It is an unpleasant and unhealthy condition of the skin.
Harsh Active Ingredients
Ingredients such as retinol, though good for every skin, can dry it out when used too often. Switching to equally effective but not so harsh alternatives can help control the occurrence of dry skin.
Skin creams which have vitamin C as part of the major active ingredients could lead to skin dryness. Depending on the percentage of vitamin C and the body’s need, the excessive use is likely to cause dryness. This is especially true when the body already has sufficient vitamin C.
Long Hot or Cold Baths and Showers
Water feels nice but having it on the skin for too long leads to dry skin. As water rolls over the skin, it washes off its natural oils which trap moisture in.
Take quick baths and showers with lukewarm water and keep the strength of your shower spray mild.
Applying Cream on Dried-Out Skin
Don’t let your skin completely dry before you apply your moisturizer. This is so that you can trap some of the water into your skin. Remember that there’s hardly any moisture in the air (especially during winter).
So consciously feed your skin with as much water as possible. Drinking lots of water is good but that is not all of it. Moisture outside is needed just as much as water inside the body.
The older a person gets, the more the tendency to have dry skin. This is because as you grow older, your body produces fewer chemicals needed to stay young and fresh. Chemicals like moisture retention oils are naturally lost and this leads to dryness.
Dry skin tends to be common during seasons where humidity levels are low. It’s easy to keep skin naturally moisturized during summer months, but winter will leave your skin dry if you aren’t careful.
Dry Skin Cream: What to Look Out For
Every dry skin cream that will effectively treat dry skin must have the following:
These are ingredients commonly found in moisturizing creams that work to hydrate the outer parts of the skin. Such ingredients include hyaluronic acid, panthenol and glycerin.
Occlusives are ingredients that lock moisture into the skin by creating barriers to stop it from evaporating. Examples of such ingredients are mineral oil, petrolatum, waxes and lanolin.
Fill up spaces in the skin’s pores with emollients, thereby making it smooth and soft. Such ingredients that contain emollients include glyceryl stearate, jojoba oil and silicones. They are loaded with emollients which the skin needs every day.
The skin produces certain chemicals naturally that keep it healthy. They do this by creating protective barriers for your skin and stopping irritation to the surface.
Cholesterol and ceramides are produced by the body for repairing the skin. But you can equally get them from a dry skin cream.
This is especially necessary if you have sensitive skin. Fragrances often cause irritation to the skin. Any skincare product that is dye- and fragrance-free is recommended.
Some ingredients in creams need certain pH balance in order to work effectively. Any cream that is too alkaline or acidic will tilt the body’s natural pH balance. This could lead to any skin condition including dry skin and early signs of aging.
You may end up creating the problem you wanted to avoid. So, a lot of caution is necessary in choosing your cream. Pay particular attention to the pH level or observe the effect on your skin with use.
Must Feel Good
A good cream should feel silky, light and not greasy. Creams for really dry skin may not be so light because they have more moisturizers, but they will still feel light when applied. No good cream should leave your skin feeling sticky. If it does, that is a sign that it’s bad quality.
Tube or Pump
A tube or pump container is preferred so you don’t have to stick your fingers in it. Putting fingers in your jar of cream is an easy way to transfer bacteria.
In addition, any jar where you need to unscrew the top off will allow air and light into it. This may affect its quality in the long run.
Experts say that any good dry skin cream should be good as a head-to-toe cream. Therefore, it shouldn’t cost too much. Any cream that has the ingredients mentioned above is just as effective against dryness as any expensive cream on the shelf.
Things to Keep In Mind When Choosing a Dry Skin Cream
Is Your Skin Very Dry?
If it is not, then a regular body cream is your basic need. Make sure you apply it on a daily basis. On the other hand, if your skin feels really dry, look for a cream that has extra petrolatum base.
Is Your Dry Skin Seasonal?
Do you notice your skin feels especially dry during the winter and fall months? The major thing to do is switch to a thicker, more moisture-based cream during those months. Use your regular cream when your skin feels (and looks) supple and replenished.
Seasonal dry skin occurs under the feet, elbows, knees and in the palms. Creams with occlusives are perfect for dry weather seasons.
Does Your Skin Feel Bumpy and Flaky?
This does not indicate you have dry skin. Normal exfoliating routine will get rid of flakiness due to dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. Dehydration, lack of essential vitamins or over exposure to harsh conditions may cause this to happen. Or it may be extreme cold and dry weather conditions.
Are There Cracks On Your Skin?
Sometimes, skin conditions cause the skin to develop cracks. And when cream is applied, it can sting or burn. This shouldn’t stop you from using your cream because it helps bring relief and facilitate healing.
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Best Ingredients for Dry Skin
A good dry skin cream that will reverse the effects of dryness should have the following:
Hydrating and Moisturizing Ingredients
Some dry skin creams have special hydrating and moisturizing ingredients such as aloe. They make the skin look supple and feel beautiful the whole day.
Honey and Other Herbs
Dry skin will not resist a touch of honey and special herbs such as ashwaganda which protect the skin against dryness and effects of the harsh environment.
While such ingredients moisturize the skin, they also remove unwanted dead cells and add a protective screen against sunburn and the likes.
Ingredients such as Olive oil, vitamin E and Sunflower Oil make your skin healthy by nourishing and hydrating the skin. You are left with really healthy, soft and pleasant-looking skin.
Minerals That Hydrate
Hydrating creams have extra minerals in them to reverse the effect of really dry skin. These creams will have words like ‘aqua hydrating’ on them.
Any one of these essential oils will be effective against dry skin: rosewater oil, almond oil, carrot seed oil. They help keep the skin very smooth and prevent lines and patches, thereby keeping you youthful for longer.
Milk has been known for generations to be an effective method to keep dry skin, lines and wrinkles at bay. Its protective layer will keep your skin moisturized for longer hours.
Shea butter works 24 hours to give and lock-in moisture in the skin. Look for a brand that’s 100% shea butter for more effectiveness.
Tips to Maximize Your Dry Skin Cream
It is not just about reversing the effects of dry skin. It is also about doing what you can to ensure dryness does not reoccur. Here are some tips you should keep in mind:
i. Limit bath time to a maximum of ten minutes.
ii. Use lukewarm water. Hot or Cold water is too harsh on the skin
iii. Blot dry. Don’t rub.
iv. Apply moisturizer while skin still has some water on it. This is in order to lock in some moisture.
v. Creams are more effective than lotions. They have a better concentration of ingredients.
vi. Avoid any product that contain retinols, alcohol or fragrance. These strong actives tend to be harsh on the skin and cause dryness.
vii. Use gloves when going outdoors in harsh weather in order to protect your hands.
viii. Use hypoallergenic detergents for laundry. The ingredients used for most detergents dry the skin when we come in contact with them.
ix. Stay warm but avoid being close to open fires as they tend to dry the skin, too. Stay some distance away from the direct effects of the flames.
x. Use a humidifier. This moisturizes the air. Dry air draws moisture from the skin, making it dryer.
xi. Drink water. This feeds the skin with the moisture it needs.
xii. Don’t scratch flaky or itchy skin. It will make it worse and cause wounds.