Dry skin can be an exceptionally bothersome condition, especially during the winter months. While most people instinctively reach for the lotion bottle to help alleviate dry skin, some lotions can actually do more harm than good due to containing certain ingredients that interfere with the skin’s ability to retain moisture. Recent studies have shown that the various binding agents and emulsifiers found in the average moisturizer actually leave a residue that disrupts the lipid barrier on the surface of your skin, causing moisture to dissipate from your skin at a higher rate than normal. This can create a vicious cycle of having to moisturize your skin to alleviate dryness, which in turn dries out your skin all over again.
So how can you stop this from happening? What are some useful tips to keep your skin from itching, flaking and burning? The search to find the best moisturizer for dry skin can be disheartening if you only consider synthetic products, but nature has given us several wonderful alternatives that can leave your skin feeling soft and supple. Below are some of the most effective tips for alleviating dry skin by way of natural methods.
1. Think oils
Believe it or not, you can find highly effective skin moisturizers in your kitchen cabinet. That’s right–the same oils that you use to cook with are also excellent skin moisturizers. A caveat is in order, however–some oils such as corn and canola may have been derived from crops that have been genetically modified, which means that there’s a good chance they contain traces of harmful residues from pesticides and so forth. Steer clear of those, and move towards oils such as grapeseed, olive and sunflower. Grapeseed oil is famous for brightening the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines. Olive oil has been used by Mediterranean women for centuries as a moisturizer, as it works exceptionally well on extra-dry skin. Sunflower oil absorbs quickly into the skin, and is often used as a massage oil due to its ideal consistency.
2. Moisturizing your skin starts from the inside out.
Make sure you drink plenty of water in order to keep your skin adequately hydrated. Water flushes out toxins and impurities that can wreak havoc on your skin, and it hydrates your skin cells by way of the kidneys. Although there has been some scientific debate as to the degree or extent of water’s effectiveness in hydrating your skin, one fact that is not debatable is that dehydration will be detrimental to the overall health of your organs, and remember–skin is the body’s largest organ.
3. Essential fatty acids are excellent aids for moisturizing your skin
Eat foods that contain high amounts of essential fatty acids, such as walnuts, flaxseed and salmon. One study published by the Institute of Experimental Dermatology (University of Munster, Germany) revealed that women who took borage oil or flaxseed oil supplements (roughly two grams per day) for a twelve-week period experienced a significant reduction in skin dryness, and a noticeable increase in skin moisture. Adding flaxseed or borage oil supplements to your diet will provide additional amounts of alpha and/or gamma linoleic fatty acids, which not only help to moisturize the skin, but they are good for the heart as well.
4. As odd as it may sound, buttermilk is an excellent skin moisturizer
The main reason for this is that it contains rich amounts of lactic acid, a hydroxy acid well-known for its ability to break apart and remove dry skin cells to make way for fresh new ones. Don’t worry, though–you won’t have to drink it, nor take a bath in it. Simply wet a cloth with buttermilk and place it on the dry area for about five minutes, and then rinse gently.
5. Honey is a phenomenal food for a number of reasons
One of which is its amazing ability to keep the skin moist and supple. Honey is a natural humectant, which means that it can literally draw water molecules from the air and pull them towards your skin, helping it stay moisturized and supple. To use honey as a moisturizer for dry skin, simply dilute about two tablespoons of honey in roughly seven tablespoons of water, and then apply to the affected area. Leave it on there for about ten minutes, and then gently rinse.
Although there is a plethora of synthetic products on the market today to aid in alleviating dry skin, most of them are costly and quite a few are essentially ineffective. Using the natural methods mentioned above will not only get the job done, but they will save you lots of money in the process!