Beyond the fact that we begin to lose
moisture in our skin as we get older,
many of us, regardless of age, combat
dry skin during the winter or summer.
During the winter months, our skin is subjected
to variety of harsh conditions ... primarily
cold and artificially-heated dry air. Commonly
used methods of heating homes or offices remove
the moisture from the air, drying out our skin.
When indoor environments are kept too warm with
furnace type heaters, our skin is certain to
feel the effects.
In warmer months, effects from the sun can dry skin
out, as well as buildings with the thermostats
set unnaturally low, as too much air-conditioning,
just as too much heating, pulls the moisture out of the air
and out of our skin.
Since our skin is our body's protective layer against
the elements, it's going to be affected by drastic temperature changes and air quality.
This is one reason why hydration is so important to the skin.
Skin needs this, especially during times of dry
environmental conditions, internally and externally.
Drinking plenty of water, limiting alcohol intake,
and hydrating the skin with an emoillent mist occasionally
can help replenish the lost moisture.
Many of us may reach for petroleum jelly
to help create a barrier between our skin
and the elements, but we are coming to learn
that there is no nourishment offered to our
skin with this product, only protection.
If you have decided to stop using petroleum
products on your skin, there are many
natural alternatives waiting for you!
There are always new skin cells emerging,
with old ones shedding away ... this natural
process of exfoliation slows down as we get
older. When skin is renewed, fresh cells
replace the old, unclogging pores, and our
skin becomes soft and glowing again.
We can help the exfoliation process along
by using a facial mask every so often,
or exfoliating with cleansing grains,
for instance, which should be done
very gently, ... mild exfoliation is all
we are looking for, especially with sensitive skin.
And, we don't want to scrub away our skin!
Some friction with a mild facial scrub
can be very beneficial for combination or
oily skin, but with more delicate skin,
very gentle exfoliation is required.
If a soft scrub of some sort is used
for exfoliating, it should only be
done about once a week with dry skin
so the skin can regenerate.
Also, we should mention that there are chemical
exfoliates available, such as alpha hydroxy acid, however,
this is known to increase the skin's sensitivity
to the sun, making it more susceptible
to damage from ultraviolet rays and
some products advise staying out of the
sun completely after use, and people
with sensitive skin cannot use these
products. So, "going natural"
could be the best alternative for gently
exfoliating to help the old skin cells wash
away and new ones emerge.
Our diet definitely plays a role in the health of our skin,
including loss of moisture, especially as we age.
Fortunately, there are some things we can do
to help offset these problems so our skin maintains
a vital and healthy balance so it can continue to
perform as needed.
Beyond applying nourishing oils onto our skin,
it is also beneficial to have omega "fatty acid"
oils as part of our diet, which helps skin to stay hydrated.
This can help with dry skin conditions, as, amongst many other benefits,
these oils can help prevent cells from dehydrating, which can keep skin
cells stronger, minimizing fine lines and avoiding skin
conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.
These oils can be found in avocado, flax, sunflower,
pumpkin seed, borage, and evening primrose, for instance.
Also, dry skin, in some cases, can be linked to thyroid function;
this can often be balanced with the intake of iodine,
so foods such as ocean seafood (fish, nori seaweed)
cheddar cheese, eggs, and iodized salt, to name a few,
may help with iodine supplementation. And, also
essential are copper and zinc, which work together
to form collagen. Some of these important
nutrients are also absorbed by the body when
used upon the skin, offering further support
to our overall health.
Moisturized skin cells function more
productively and allow the skin to absorb
nutrients while eliminating toxins.
Without these oils, our cells would lose
their protection system and ability to hold
water and nutrients. And, "omega" oils within
the body also offer protection against
Some things that can prematurely age skin are
genetics, age, stress,
long-term exposure to the sun,
cigarette smoking, a diet low in
proper nutrients, exposure to cold
temperatures, lack of exercise,
excessive alcohol or drug usage.
Of course, there are other reasons for
dry skin conditions, such as with dry hands.
Since we use our hands in our daily work
or homelife, including domestic chores,
they are subjected to a variety of
damaging influences. Putting our hands
in water too much can also dry them, as
well as using soaps that can dry skin.
Although it's important to drink plenty of
water to keep hydrated, too much exposure
to water is drying for skin.
So, be sure to wear waterproof gloves when
doing household chores, and when gardening
or doing outdoor work, wear protective gloves.
"Don't forget your mittens!"
during cold weather ... wear gloves or mittens,
and be sure to take along a hand cream.
Hand cream is also important to use after
stressing the skin in any way, and washing
hands with a moisturizing soap that contains
emollients can also be beneficial.
You also want to make sure to protect
your neck in cold weather, as well as
your head ... it's not just for
staying warm, but for protecting your
skin from the elements! The smart
girl is not only warmer when it's
cold out ... she's healthier and
Taking care of our skin is a preventative
measure that can help eliminate overly dry
conditions that can become more serious
Moisturizing skin topically can help, but
remember to also keep your diet in mind,
as daily lifestyle affects your skin ...
your skin will thank you for it!
Certain oils in your diet can help
your skin ... for instance, Vitamin E
and Omega-3 oils. Both fish and plant
oils can provide support to dry skin.
Safflower and wheat germ oil contain
Vitamin E, and oils such as
Evening Primrose, Flax Seed and Borage
are beneficial. Skin vitality can
also be enhanced through berries
and other fruits.
Color Up Your Diet