Whether you have dry skin year-round or you get dry skin when the temperature changes, dry, flaky, or irritated skin is a challenge many of us face. In this guide, we will take you through the causes of dry skin, ingredients to avoid, ingredients to embrace, and end with a four-step body care routine that's perfect for taking care of your dry skin.
What Causes Dry Skin
Many factors commonly lead to dry skin. The weather has a massive role in dry skin. We often notice a change in our skin as the seasons change and the air gets drier. As the weather gets colder, we often turn on the heat, which can further dry the air and exacerbate dry skin issues.
Hot showers and baths can also lead to dry skin. And according to the Mayo Clinic, harsh soaps and detergents are also a common culprit. So lathering up with the wrong body wash in the shower can strip your skin of its natural oils. If you don't replenish them, it's a recipe for dry skin issues.
What Ingredients to Avoid
It's also helpful to know which skincare ingredients play a part in causing dry skin. A few ingredients to look out for:
Alcohol: Alcohol evaporates quickly and can be overly drying. If you are using products that contain alcohol, such as hand sanitizer, you want to make sure you are replenishing that moisture.Many other products contain alcohol as well, including astringents and gel-based products. Except for hand sanitizers that require alcohol to cleanse your hands, you should look out for any products that contain ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, as these can be too drying.
Sulfates: Sulfates are chemical detergents, commonly found in dish detergent, hand cleansers, and body washes. While they are effective at washing away dirt and grime, they also strip your skin of natural oils, and that can lead to excessive drying. Sulfates are best avoided if you have dry skin as they can dry you out and leave a tight feeling and can throw your skin's pH out of whack.
Fragrances: Fragrance or parfum on a product label represent various chemicals that can exacerbate skin issues. Fragrance companies are not required to disclose the chemicals used in their fragrances. Many artificial fragrances contain phthalates, which can cause skin inflammation.
What Ingredients to Look For
Now that we've covered the ingredients to avoid, let's go over some ingredients to look for:
Natural Plant Butters: Natural plant butters such as shea butter, cocoa butter, and mango butter are perfect for taking care of dry skin. They are rich in essential fatty acids, help to heal dry skin, and are anti-inflammatory. Shea butter aids in natural collagen production and softens the skin; it's the main reason we use these butters in our Body Butter, Naked Skin Cream and Nourish Night Balm.
Natural Plant Oils: Many natural plant oils are incredibly moisturizing and soothing for the skin and contain many of the antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and anti-inflammatory benefits of plant butter in a more readily absorbable format. Jojoba oil, argan oil, and passionfruit oil are easily absorbed into the skin and balance out the skin's natural oil production. Oils such as Tamanu oil and Prickly Pear Seed are more healing options.
Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is a common ingredient found in soaps and moisturizers and is a typical replacement for water in these formulas. Aloe vera helps moisturize your skin and provide relief from skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
Glycerin: Glycerin is a natural humectant, meaning it pulls moisture from the air to your skin to prevent it from drying out. Glycerin is a natural byproduct of soap making and moisturizes, helps protect skin against irritation, and protects the skin's moisture barrier.
Your Four-Step Dry Skin Body Care Routine
Step 1: Exfoliate
Many people overlook the importance of exfoliation in caring for dry skin. Exfoliation creates the perfect canvas for your moisturizer to work. Your first step is to exfoliate using a gentle exfoliate that won't irritate your skin. Exfoliants remove dry and dead skin so you can treat and moisturize the healthy skin below. We recommend avoiding harsher exfoliants such as salt and walnut shells. Walnut shells can aggravate and damage already sensitive skin. Stick to gentle exfoliants such as sugar and oatmeal. Our body scrubs contain sugar, which dissolves in water, gently polishes away dead skin cells without irritating your healthy skin underneath.
Step 2: Cleanse
What you cleanse with is a key component of preventing dry skin. Using a natural bar soap that has retained its glycerin can help wash away dirt and grime without drying out your skin. If you are looking for body wash, avoid one that contains harsh chemical detergents such as sulfates and look for one that contains naturally saponified vegetable fats, glycerin, and aloe vera. Our hand-crafted bar soaps and body washes are perfect for cleansing your skin without stripping your skin of its natural oils.
Step 3: Moisturize
After cleansing your skin, it's vital to lock in moisture to prevent your skin from drying out. If you have dry skin already, we recommend using a body butter or body oil without water in the formula to seal in moisture after showering or bathing. Body butter and oil may take a little longer to soak in, but they will be worth it in terms of treating your skin and maintaining moisture. Our body butter is the perfect option to moisturize your skin during the dry winter months or all year round.
Step 4: Spot Treat
Make sure to give extra dry patches extra love by spot treating them. Rubbing in a moisturizer such as our Naked Skin Cream on elbows, knees, the backs of your hands, and your feet can mean the difference between dry, cracked skin and healthy glowing skin. You can even use some Nourish Night Balm if you need some extra healing power.
We hope you can prevent drying and have healthy, glowing skin all year round by following this four-step routine.