Dry, tight and itchy skin isn’t just a cosmetic issue; it can be downright painful! We’ve all been susceptible to dry skin at some point in our lives but if you’re prone to chronic skin problems, here are five ways to keep your skin properly moisturized all year round.
Wash less – It may seem counterintuitive, but washing your skin less can actually give it a better condition. Washing your face too much can strip your skin of essential natural moisture that keeps it balanced and clear. This is especially important for people with very dry skin, sensitive skin or skin prone to breakouts. For best results, wash your face once a day — in the evening before bed — to wash away dirt and makeup from the day.
Use sesame oil – You might know sesame oil from Asian cuisine. The nutty, rich oil enhances many foods, but did you know it can also soften, protect and repair your skin? Among the amazing benefits of sesame oil, it is considered antibacterial, antifungal, an anti-inflammatory, and a way to control acne. Sesame seed oil is great for wind-chapped skin, and can be used to heal mild scrapes on your skin. The oil is rich in vitamins A, B3 and E. To use, mix ½ cup sesame seed oil, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar and ¼ cup water to create a night cream. Apply a dab on your face before bed.
Use lukewarm water – Although a hot, steamy shower might seem like a great way to wash your stress away, but it can be damaging to dry skin. Hot water can rob skin of moisture by rinsing off the outermost layer of skin cells, so keep your showers lukewarm. If you just have to have hot water, keep your showers short and only shower once a day. If you suffer from dry skin, hot tubs might also be out of the question – the combination of chemicals and heat can create exceptionally dry skin.
Exfoliate – Moisturizer is more effective on a face that is properly exfoliated. Dead skin cells continue to live on the skin, which creates a barrier that traps dirt and makeup and keeps moisturizers from penetrating. Exfoliation doesn’t’ have to be expensive or difficult; many reputable skin care lines carry face washes that include exfoliators, or you can make your own sugar scrub: combine 1 teaspoon of sugar with ½ teaspoon honey and a squeeze of lemon juice, then apply to your face. Scrub for one to two minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water. Use exfoliators no more than twice a week for best results.
Minimize exposure to the weather – No matter the season, Mother Nature is always trying to pull moisture from your skin. During the summer months, the sun can cause sun damage, which includes dry, flaky and tight skin. During the winter, cold wind, harsh temperatures, and indoor heating mix with your skin’s exposure to cold rain and snow, leading to the same type of dryness and an overall chapped feeling. Your best bet? Cover up in the summer and bundle up in the winter! Avoid the summer sun during peak hours, stay in the shade and use an SPF for sun protection. In the winter, wear gloves and scarves and change out of wet clothes as soon as possible to minimize the damage to your skin.
Simple, easy, and mostly do-it-yourself friendly. Summer or winter, hot or cold, these few steps can make a dramatic difference in the health and beauty of your skin.
AMANDA AUSTIN is a social media manager for a health care organization by day and a blogger and freelance writer by night. She’s also a mom to an amazing 2 year-old boy and wife to a great guy who indulges all her celebrity gossip. Amanda loves coffee, fashion, Twitter, makeup, nail polish, and cats (not always in that order.) Her work has been published on family.com and blogher.com. For more celebrity gossip, fashion, beauty and DIY, visit Amanda’s blog, It’s Blogworthy, or follow her on Twitter and Google+.