Woman applying moisturizer on face

How to Relieve and Improve Dry Skin

Dry skin is skin that does not have enough moisture, making it rough, red and itchy. 

What causes dry skin? 

Usually, environmental factors lead to dry skin, but it can also be caused by everything from genetics to aging. Whatever the cause of your dry skin may be, you are likely looking for ways in which you can relieve and improve this…

Here are some tips and techniques to try: 

Use the Right Moisturizer

Does your moisturizer just not seem to cut it? 

Ideally, your moisturizer should nourish and soften your dry skin, making it feel fresh, plump and hydrated. 

However, not any moisturizer will do…

You need one that contains the right ingredients! 

You are probably wondering what the right ingredients actually are…

Here are some that have been proven to be extremely beneficial in relieving dry skin: 

  • Hyaluronic Acid – this natural ingredient is a humectant, meaning that it draws in moisture from the air and sends that into the skin. There are many humectants out there, but hyaluronic acid is one of the most powerful, able to hold up to 1000 times its weight in water 
  • Plant Butters and Oils – everything from shea butter to sweet almond oil are intensely nourishing. They are also packed with a wide range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, giving them the ability to feed and nourish the skin 
  • Ceramides ceramides are key when it comes to strengthening the skin’s natural protective barrier. This then enables the skin to better retain moisture, which helps to counter the dryness
  • Urea – this is another humectant, making it very hydrating, but it also helps to loosen any dry skin cells from the surface of the skin 
  • Aloe Vera – gentle yet extremely hydrating, aloe vera contains more than 75 bioactive compounds that will help to heal your skin. It is also great for eliminating the redness and irritation that is commonly associated with dry skin

The Black Onyx Cream, for example, features many of these ingredients, including hyaluronic acid and olive oil, which work together to lock in moisture and promote that dewy, fresh look.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BwKcKcUocNo/

In addition to checking out the ingredients, you should also make sure that the texture of your moisturizer is right for your skin. 

Dry skin needs a rich, ,thick and greasy moisturizer, especially at night. Don’t go for something too thin and runny, as this simply won’t give your skin the nourishment and protection it needs. 

Avoid Harsh Ingredients

It is important to make sure that your moisturizer contains certain ingredients, but it is also just as important to ensure that it does not contain any harsh or damaging ingredients. 

Dry skin is already quite fragile, and this is the reason why it is unable to properly hold on to moisture. Harsh ingredients will only dry your skin out even more, while stripping it of its natural, protective oils. Since dry skin already usually has less oil than other skin types, you definitely don’t want to be losing even more of these. 

Wondering which ingredients you need to be avoiding? 

Most foaming agents, such as sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, are best avoided. These are added into products, such as cleansers, to allow them to create a lather. However, those same ingredients also strip the skin of its natural oils. 

Many alcohol-based ingredients are also too harsh for dry skin, as are many preservatives. 

Fragrances are something else to be avoided as much as possible…

Yes, they may make a product smell absolutely gorgeous, but the term “fragrance” is actually a blanket term that can cover hundreds of different chemicals. This means that you will never know exactly what is in a product if it contains an added fragrance. 

Two other ingredients that you should be aware of are willow bark and salicylic acid. These ingredients aren’t bad – in fact, they’re fantastic for oily skin because of the way in which they clear away excess oil from the skin while preventing the oil glands from producing too much sebum. 

However, as mentioned earlier, oils are something that dry skin really needs. 

Make sure that the products you are using have been designed for dry skin. This makes them more likely to contain the ingredients that you need, without containing any ingredients that are better suited for other skin types. For example, products designed for oily skin are likely to not contain any added oils, but dry skin requires this.

Of course, these may still be formulated with harsh preservatives and fillers, so don’t forget to always have a read through the ingredients list. 

If you’re ever in any doubt about an ingredient…

A quick search on the internet should give you all the answers you need! 

Moisturize While Damp

You already know that it is important to keep dry skin moisturized, but do you know why this actually is? 

Well, one of the roles of a moisturizer is to form a protective film over the surface of your skin. 

Why? 

Because this not only gives your skin some extra protection from the environment around it, but it also prevents moisture from evaporating. 

When your skin is damp, it contains extra moisture. Applying your moisturizer over the top of this will cause all of that extra moisture to end up trapped beneath your moisturizer, meaning that the only place it can go is into your skin. Without your moisturizer locking it in, that moisture would have simply evaporated into the air, leaving your skin parched.

Smiling young woman applying moisturizer on face

What’s the best way to dampen your skin if you haven’t just had a shower? 

Try a facial mist or a toner. These will give your skin an added dose of nutrients, along with the moisturizer, which your moisturizer can then lock in. 

Use a Hydrating Cream

Do you use a serum? 

If not, this is something you definitely need to start doing. 

Now, you might be thinking…

Why do I need a serum if I already use a moisturizer? 

Well, although serums do also moisturize the skin, they don’t contain any of the heavy ingredients that a moisturizer does. This means that a serum is able to penetrate into the skin at a much deeper level than a moisturizer, bringing hydration to the layers of your skin that really need it. 

Need another reason to convince you that a serum is a good idea? 

Serums usually contain active ingredients in a much higher concentration than a moisturizer. 

Although they may look lightweight and clear, a quality serum will be packed with potent ingredients, making it so powerful and beneficial for your skin. 

Avoid Hot Showers

Are you guilty of whiling your time away underneath a hot shower? 

This can often be so comforting, especially at the end of a long day. 

Unfortunately, if this is something that you do, it really needs to stop. 

Why? 

Remember how it was mentioned earlier that certain harsh ingredients strip the skin of its natural, protective oils? 

Well, hot water does the same thing.

How hot is hot? 

Try not to let your shower water go too far above room temperature. Ideally, keep your water as cool as you can handle. 

Don’t forget to apply moisturizer once you’re done, while your skin is still damp! 

Invest in a Humidifier

Do you own a humidifier? 

If not, this is something you may want to consider investing in, as it could really help to relieve and improve your dry skin. 

How? 

Well, when the air around you is dry, the moisture in your skin ends up evaporating into the air because there is more moisture in your skin than in the environment around you. This then leaves your skin drier than ever. 

A humidifier adds moisture back into the air, which then cuts down on the amount of moisture that evaporates out of your skin. 

Humidifier on the window sill

If you use indoor heating or air conditioning, then a humidifier becomes even more necessary. Both heating and air conditioning dry out the air indoors, which will only worsen your dry skin. 

However, if you keep your humidifier set at 60%, this will help to offset the additional dryness. 

Adjust Your Diet

The saying “you are what you eat” couldn’t be more true…

The food that you put into your body will have a direct effect on the health and appearance of your skin.

If you’re a junk food fan, then this is probably not something you want to hear! However, it does mean that by adjusting your diet, you will likely be able to bring about some significant improvements in your skin. 

What should you be eating? 

Well, in general, everybody should be eating a diet that contains plenty of whole, fresh foods, and a minimal amount of preservatives and unnecessary ingredients. 

In addition to doing that, you should also make sure that your diet contains plenty of omega fatty acids, along with antioxidants. 

How do these help dry skin? 

Omega fatty acids can make a huge difference…

These are what build your skin’s protective barrier, helping to keep your skin soft, supple and flexible. This is something that dry skin is usually lacking in, meaning that you can counter this by adding more omegas into your diet. 

Which foods contain omega fatty acids? 

Give some of these a try: 

  • Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring 
  • Oysters 
  • Flaxseeds 
  • Chia seeds 
  • Walnuts 
  • Soy beans 
  • Hemp seeds

What about antioxidants? 

These are found most in fresh fruits and vegetables, which you should, hopefully, already be eating plenty of. 

However, some fruits and vegetables are higher in skin-boosting antioxidants than others, so try to eat more of the following: 

  • Blueberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Peas 
  • Lentils

Try to eat your fruit and veg raw as much as possible. Cooking degrades the antioxidant quality in fresh foods, whereas eating them raw means that your skin will be able to experience maximum benefits. 

Always Wear SPF

You probably already know how dangerous sun damage can be. After all, this is one of the main causes of skin cancer! 

However, did you also know that sun exposure will make your dry skin even worse? 

To begin with, the sun simply sucks the moisture out of your skin, leaving it dry and dehydrated. 

It also damages so many of the proteins and cells within your skin, from keratin to collagen to elastin. All of these proteins are responsible for keeping your skin youthful, smooth and hydrated, meaning that they will really struggle to do their job properly once they have been under attack from the sun. 

Of course, you don’t want the sunscreen to make your dry skin worse either, so you do need to be careful when choosing one. 

How should you choose a sunscreen? 

There are two main types; physical and chemical. 

Physical sunscreens contain chemicals that reflect the sun’s UV rays away from the skin, whereas chemical sunscreens contain chemicals that absorb the sun’s UV rays and convert them into heat, before then emitting them from the skin. 

Physical vs chemical sunscreen infographic

You are likely to be far better off with a physical sunscreen than a chemical. The heat that is created in the skin with a chemical sunscreen can really irritate and exacerbate dryness. 

How do you know if a sunscreen is a physical one? 

It will contain zinc oxide, and maybe also titanium dioxide too. 

Make sure that your sunscreen is a broad-spectrum formula, as this means that it will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. It should also contain an SPF of at least 30 in order to provide your skin with sufficient protection. 

Ideally, your sunscreen should also contain plenty of other beneficial ingredients, from antioxidants to moisturizing agents. The moisturizing ingredients mentioned earlier would all also work well in a sunscreen formula. 

Don’t forget – you will need to keep re-applying your sunscreen throughout the day, especially if you have been sweating or swimming. Yes, that applies to water-resistant formulas too! 

Dry skin can be really frustrating to deal with, especially if it turns itchy and sensitive. Fortunately, if you follow all of the tips listed above, it won’t be long before you notice a significant improvement in your dry skin, with your skin looking and feeling healthier than ever.