There are many causes of dry skin: weather, bathing habits, nutrient deficiencies, indoor heating, sun exposure, improper moisturization, and the list goes on. Some causes of dry skin aren't avoidable (hello, genetics), but many certainly are!
When it comes to caring for dry skin, knowing what aggravates it to begin with is key. Today, we’ll cover some common causes of dry skin and what exactly you can do about it. In other words, how to treat dry skin naturally, so you can feel more comfortable in your skin.
The first important step to take in order to avoid dry skin is not overwashing.
An all too common cause of dry skin is simply overwashing it. Lathering up with soap once (or even twice!) a day can cause significant moisture loss in the skin. A telltale sign you’re overwashing is if your skin constantly feels tight, itchy, flaky, or looks red after bathing.
Instead, try washing your body a few times per week. Then, take note of how your skin feels and adjust the frequency of washes accordingly. You can also use cooler showers with no washing or washing that is limited to your high gland areas like below-the-belt and in your armpits to reduce overwashing while not giving up your daily shower. We call these 'pits & bits' showers!
It’s best to avoid extremely hot water, as prolonged exposure can remove the skin’s natural oils. Opt for lukewarm water for showers and baths. It’s also best to avoid vigorous scrubbing and coarse exfoliants, which brings us to our next dry skin no-no: using the wrong soaps.
Using harsh soaps
A wash is only as good as the soap you’re using, yet a rookie mistake is assuming all soaps are the same.
Treating dry skin means being intentional about what you use (and don’t use) on it. There are a few particularly red-flag ingredients known to dry out the skin: parfums/fragrances, many sulfates, strong chemical detergents, and alcohols.
Soap should cleanse your skin without over-stripping its natural oils or damaging the epidermis (surface layer of skin). Natural soaps that are mild-cleansing and parfum-free are best for gently cleansing dry skin and preventing water loss.
Read here to learn more about gentle-cleansing soaps.
However, as health is holistic, it’s best to remember that products aren’t everything when treating dry skin.
Not staying hydrated from within
Amidst the rush of everyday schedules, drinking water can be placed on the back burner. But adequate water consumption is essential for maintaining hydrated and healthy skin.
Treat dry skin from within by making water a part of your daily routine.
Tips for staying hydrated:
- Make drinking a glass of water the first step in your morning routine
- Always carry a refillable water bottle
- Opt for water as your beverage of choice when eating out
- Serve water with every meal
- Eat plenty of water-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables
Of course, try to get the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and skin-healthy nutrients like beta carotenes. Carrots, sweet potatoes, blueberries, avocados, and leafy greens are all wonderful for radiant skin!
Another common cause of dry skin is not optimizing how you moisturize.
Not moisturizing effectively
We all know moisturizing is important for our skin, but did you know there is an ideal time to moisturize? That’s right! It’s…drumroll…right after you shower (within three minutes to be exact). Your skin should be slightly wet because applying lotion on damp skin helps to lock in moisture before it evaporates off of your skin.
Now that we have that out of the way, what’s the best way to moisturize?
For treating dry skin, moisturizing daily is ideal, but especially after taking a bath, shower, or washing your hands. When you apply, don't be scared of feeling a little oily at first. Oil-based salves and balms can take a few minutes to absorb. Rub in circular motions, and don’t forget about elbows, feet, and the hard-to-reach middle back area. Everywhere counts!
Beyond when and how you moisturize, the type of moisturizer you use is critical.
What moisturizers are best?
One of the top causes of dry skin is not moisturizing enough or with the wrong ingredients/types of moisturizers.
The best moisturizers for dry skin are simple, oil-based formulations of soothing plant butters and oils. Some of our favorites are shea butter, mango butter, vitamin E, and coconut oil. Why? Oil-based moisturizers sink deeply into the skin to provide long-lasting moisturization, nourishment, and protection.
At Bubbles & Balms, we formulate nourishing moisturizers with plant oils/butters and essential oils – that’s it! If your skin needs that extra healing touch, our ultra-moisturizing skin salves are packed with a plethora of skin-nourishing ingredients, like calendula, rosehip oil, evening primrose oil, and chamomile.
You need not suffer from dry skin forever! Incorporating the above tips into your daily routine will help soothe and treat dry skin. So, to review, don’t overwash, use gentle soaps, stay hydrated from within, moisturize daily (especially after washing), and use oil-based moisturizers.
- Written by Sariah Vilate