Dry, Flaky Skin
Dry, flaky skin is such a common affliction that many of us take it for granted. Winter weather, illnesses, medical treatments, medications, harsh soaps and detergents, chemicals, dermatitis and other skin conditions, and a myriad of other factors can all cause dry skin.
That itchy dryness isn’t just inconvenient, however. It’s unhealthy. When skin is dry, it has a compromised protective layer, which means it will allow more toxins and bacteria to enter into the body than it normally would. As it worsens, it can cause itching, cracking, redness, and inflammation, and even deteriorate into sores that may bleed. Attending to dry, flaky skin not only benefits its appearance, texture, and comfort, but improves the health of the entire body.
Why Does Skin Get Dry?
Dry, scaly skin—no matter what its cause—is the result of water loss. Water makes skin pliable, smooth, plump, and soft. Some of this water comes from skin’s lower layers in the form of natural protective oils, and some comes from the environment around us. As water disappears from the skin, cells shrivel, revealing small cracks. That’s why dry skin emphasizes the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Unfortunately, these cracks can also expose underlying cells to toxins and germs from the environment.
A myriad of different factors can reduce skin’s water content:
- Dry climates, heating, and air conditioning all pull moisture from the skin.
- Irritating chemicals in detergents, personal care and household products disrupt the natural moisturizing oils in the skin.
- Harsh ingredients in personal care and cosmetic products like sulfates, drying alcohols (like SD alcohol 40 in toners), and fragrances can damage skin, reducing its ability to retain moisture. Bar soaps are particularly drying, and often contain irritating sulfates, fragrances, and lye.
- Dehydration (even mild dehydration), or excess caffeine and alcohol can cause the body to conserve water near the critical organs, pulling it away from skin.
- Dead cell buildup on the surface of skin creates a barrier against moisturization.
- Excessive hand washing: Too much soap and hot water strips the skin of its natural oils.
- Medical conditions, treatments, and medications can all irritate, damage, and dehydrate skin, creating dryness and flaking.
Tips to Manage Dry, Flaky Skin
Try changing your daily habits to include the following, and if your skin gets worse, be sure to check with your doctor or dermatologist.
- Use lukewarm water to wash, and limit the amount of washings per day.
- Moisturize wisely after every washing. Choose safe products for sensitive skin (read labels) and look for those with natural ingredients like shea butter, honey, jojoba and other oils, and extracts, or try straight oils of almond, grapeseed, evening primrose, or olive.
- Exfoliate regularly to get rid of dead-cell buildup on the surface of skin.
- Find safe cleansers, avoid soap, and avoid harsh chemicalslike sulfates, triclosan, and synthetic fragrances. Add baking soda or ground oatmeal to the tub to soothe irritation.
- Humidify your home if you live in a dry climate, especially your bedroom overnight.
- Protect your skin from cold, wind, and the sun. Wear chemical-free sunscreen (zinc oxide is best), and use scarves and hats in the winter. Wear gloves when cleaning and gardening.
- Read more: How Toxic is Your Chemical Sunscreen?
- Eat healthy. Drink enough water every day, and up your intake of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which nourish the skin. Choose water-rich fruits and vegetables, and cut back on caffeine and alcohol.
- Launder carefully with toxin-free, mild detergents. Avoid irritating fabrics like wool and nylons. Choose cotton and silk instead.
CV Skinlabs Products for You:
- Calming Moisture for Face, Neck & Scalp: super moisturizer hydrates dry skin with soluble oat fiber to diminish fine lines and wrinkles. BUY NOW!
- Body Repair Lotion: fast-absorbing, deeply hydrating lotion replenishes lost moisture in skin. BUY NOW!
- Restorative Skin Balm: protects and instantly softens severely dry, rough and chapped skin. BUY NOW!
Protect Your Skin, Protect Your Health
No matter what type of compromised skin you may have, you’re more at risk from exposure to toxic chemicals. Since most personal care products and cosmetics contain potentially harmful ingredients, it’s important to always read labels and use only safe, nurturing formulas that will enhance the condition of your skin. Click here for a list of Ingredients to Avoid in your personal care products.