Itchy, flaky dry skin. Cracked dry lips. Rough elbows and hands.
As the seasons and weather change, we often feel like our skin is being put through the ringer. The transition from one harsh environmental condition to another strips our face and body of hydration, causing our skin to feel tight and scaly.
The flip from summer to fall is usually when our skin sees the worst effects. When our body temperatures dip due to colder weather, the blood vessels that feed our skin can get constricted, reducing blood flow to the skin and oil-producing glands. When the water content of the skin drops both inside and out, our skin cells shrink and dry up, causing dry skin. Dehydration just makes the issue worse, since most of us don’t feel as thirsty in the winter months.
As we grudgingly say goodbye to summer, here are a few tips to cure and nurture dry skin naturally.
1. Drink, drink, drink: Water, that is. Try to consume at least 8 to 10 glasses a day. If you have trouble drinking water throughout the day, add sliced cucumbers or fresh strawberries to liven up the flavor.
2. Get a humidifier: Humidifiers aren’t just for nurturing sick kids through a nasty cold. Humidifiers keep the skin moist during fall and winter.
3. Exercise: Go out for a jog or take a yoga class. Producing sweat and increasing blood flow to the epidermis helps improve internal hydration to alleviate dry skin.
4. Alternate shower temperatures: When taking a shower, alternate between hot and cool water. The balance between hot and cold water acts as an internal massager to improve circulation and hydrate your skin. Also, try to avoid excessive hot baths. It may be chilly outside, but hot baths only intensify dry skin issues.
5. Exfoliate: Use a mild, exfoliating scrub in the shower and on your face to slough off dead skin and reveal newer, younger skin.
6. Apply a moisturizer: Apply a natural moisturizer or cream like Zax’s Facial Redness Cream to help treat and limit redness caused by dry or irritated skin. Apply it lightly along the direction of hair follicles to avoid unwanted bumps.
7. Take an oatmeal bath: Take a colloidal oatmeal bath, which helps prevent water loss and soothes the skin. It can also help relieve skin irritations. Follow these steps:
- Step 1: Blend 1 cup of unflavored instant oatmeal, quick oats, or slow cooking oats in a blender or food processor until you have a fine, consistent powder.
- Step 2: Slowly sprinkle the oatmeal into a tub of running water and stir the water with your hands to distribute evenly. Break up any clumps on the tub floor.
- Step 3: Soak for 15 to 20 minutes and pat dry with a soft towel rather than rubbing.