I admit it, I have dry skin. Not just dry... parched. The desert has nothing on me; my legs are like iguana skin, my nails are brittle and flaky, my hands are wrinkled and chalky, and my face quickly flakes if I don't keep an oil slick on it. I mostly blame New England and our super dry winters, and perhaps the fact that I used to live in the tropics. My skin never re-adjusted so I have to take conscious measures to hydrate my body ALL.THE.TIME. The only positive is, it's fixable, and here's how.
Easily the most important step, hydrate your body from the inside out. Many people don't drink enough water and it shows. Water keeps your skin cells hydrated, plump and healthy. You'll notice when you drink less water, that your skin becomes more dull and crepey, fine lines and wrinkles appear, and the tone and texture will become uneven. You may also notice more redness, breakouts, flakiness, and sagginess. I have a few little tricks to keep water front and center during my day.
1. Fill a big water dispenser with ice, water, fruit, herbs or lemon juice. You'll be able to visually keep track of how much you've had for the day and the extra additions will make it exciting! You'll feel fancy.
2. Use a jumbo jug, such as a gallon jug to gauge your intake. Mark various levels with a sharpie to motivate you to drink and make it a goal to finish it by bedtime.
3. Keep contigo glass water bottles everywhere. I keep two in my car at all times, one at my desk and one I take with me all around the house. I actually feel naked without my water bottles. I personally love the glass contigo water bottles with silicone straws and lock lids. I find it easier to sip through a straw and super convenient for toting around.
4. Use a water app or my fitness pal app to set water reminders on your cell phone. I totally understand that you can forget to hydrate when you are in the midst of a busy day. Why not make technology work for you?
5. Limit the coffee, tea and soda intake. Even seltzer water can be a diuretic due to the c02 carbonation which can put pressure on the liver and make you have to "go". Opt for sugar-free natural juices, water, smart water or fruit water!
They're not just for when your sick. If you have a dry home, you can up the humidity by placing humidifiers in your main living spaces or bedroom. There are some great cool mist humidifiers available and my favorite, the Vicks humidifier has a spot for you to pour your essential oils. Get yourself a hydrometer and measure your home's humidity. Optimal humidity should be between 40-50%.
Eating acidic foods wreaks havoc on your skin and moisture levels. I don't mean citrus, I mean acidic PH foods like sugar, dairy, processed foods and meat. They change your body's natural PH and create a hospitable environment for illness and disease. Your body is forced to work double time to process it and and that precious energy is taken away from your beautiful skin, hair and nails. Eat a wide range of alkaline foods such as leafy greens, fruits, veggies, ancient grains like quinoa and organic whenever possible. Your body will thank you and your moisture will increase.
- Eat more foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like fish, nuts and flax seed. Omega-3 fatty acids help skin retain moisture and create a protective barrier.
- Eat more foods rich in Vitamin E, such as nuts, seeds and avocado. Vitamin E protects skin from cell damage and helps create a barrier from harmful and drying UV rays.
- Eat foods high in beta carotene like sweet potato and carrots. Beta carotene contain an abundance of vitamin A which helps prevent drying of skin and repairs tissue damage.
Wear your sun protection
Sun damage is scary, it can permanently change your skin for the worse, cause premature aging, roughness, dryness, and even skin cancer. Keep your skin hydrated by wearing an SPF sunscreen or sun protective oil when you go out. Wear a hat, cover your skin with breathable clothing or stay in the shade. I'm not saying the sun is a no-no, on the contrary, we need sunlight and the vitamin D it gives us! Just limit your direct exposure and be aware of your complexion. I'm a redhead so I know 15 minutes in the strong rays will make me go from "pretty glow" to "lobster". When I lived in the Virgin Islands, I spent many days in the tropical sun without reapplying my sunscreen and my shoulders have paid the price. They are now leathery and damaged. Although they are getting back to soft and smooth, I fear the damage has been done. These days, as I'm older, I really shy away from the sun, I can literally feel my skin frying if I get too much. Read more about sun protective oils here!
Magic skin care products
Here's where a lot of confusion happens, so let me break this down for you.
1. Not all oils clog pores
The whole "oil-free" claim that you see on many cosmetics is just fear mongering and capitalizing on people's fears of breakouts. The truth is, there are a plethora of natural oils that do not clog pores, or are quite unlikely to clog pores. There's actually a Comedogenic Rating(the likelihood for clogging pores) for almost every oil, so you can check the rating and decide if you want to use it on your skin. Not only do natural oils not always clog pores, but some of them naturally balance your skin's moisture. That's right, like magic! Oils like Hemp Seed, jojoba and sesame oil are very similar to our own skin's oils. So while I'm not telling you to slather olive oil all over your face, I'm telling you to pick a couple oils for your skin type and let them do the work of balancing that moisture.
2. Try using som of the most moisturizing natural oils:
Hemp seed, prickly pear seed, cucumber, hazelnut, castor, jojoba, grapeseed, avocado, baobab... as well as these 3 which should be used sparingly because they have a high comedogenic rating: coconut, wheatgerm, mongongo.
3. Putting water or water-based products alone on your skin doesn't moisturize your skin.
Water-based products hydrate skin, but do not moisturize skin. In order to hold and seal that hydration into your skin, you need to use an oil or oil-based product. Hydration will plump up skin and keep it soft and supple, but moisture from oils will keep skin from drying and flaking. I personally don't use any water-based products on my skin except for my toner which I use as more of an astringent than a hydrator. I don't feel it's the best delivery method; instead I choose to drink my water and let it works its magic from the inside out. I feel oil-based products make my skin feel the healthiest ever! There is however, this nifty little product called The Pocket Spa which send a micro mist of hydration to your skin which is ultra refreshing and rejuvenating. It's an amazing tool to use before your skin and makeup routine or while you are on the go.
4. Try a humectant mask or facial treatment.
Some of natures little wonders are natural humectants, meaning they draw and hold moisture to the skin. Natural humectants include honey, aloe, glycerine and hyaluronic acid. Look for these ingredients in your facial treatments or make your own mask at home! I bet you have some honey in your cabinet!
6. A few magical products to moisturize your skin:
Argan Republic cannot be held responsible for any actions made, implied or expressed by anyone as a result of this guidance.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are in no way intended to heal, prevent or treat any illness. Please consult your doctor if you are seeking medical advice.