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How to deal with dry skin

12 March 2015

Adjust humidity at home

Turning on the radiators in your house or office decreases the level of humidity in the air. This dries the outer layer of the skin and blocks the oil-producing sebaceous glands beneath it, causing dry skin and breakouts. Leave the windows open during the day so that the more humid outside air comes in, place a bowl of water by a radiator or put a wet towel on top of it, or buy a humidifier.


Create good gut flora

Good nutrition is more important than good skincare products. Drink lots of water, but be aware that if your gut is not healthy, it will not be able to absorb all of the water that you drink. For a healthy gut, maintain a diet high in fatty acids and vitamins E and A, with a variety of fruit and vegetables.


Stop exfoliating

People usually try to scrub off dry or flaky skin with an exfoliator, which removes the acid mantle of the skin (a film on the surface of the skin that protects against bacteria, fungus and infections). Stripping the acid mantle causes the sebaceous glands to become unbalanced, which creates breakouts, dry patches, psoriasis and eczema. Dry-brushing is a better method of exfoliation. It lifts the dead, dry cells that are ready to come off, activates lymphatic circulation to regenerate the skin, and doesn't impair the acid mantle. Dry-brush the face and body every morning, using a gentler brush on the face. The Body Shop has good brush options, and a Clarisonic is great for the body. Moisturise only dry skin.


Moisturiser provides hydration and a protective barrier. It should be used on top of an oil or serum if your skin is very dry - people who have oily skin do not need to use moisturiser. A good moisturiser should contain water to hydrate the skin and vitamin E to protect it.


Nourish skin with oil

Apply oil straight after a warm (not hot) shower while your face and body are still wet and your pores are open, to allow essential oils to penetrate the skin. Choose an organic facial oil that includes ingredients high in fatty acids - such as the omegas or primrose oil - to increase elasticity, which your skin lacks in winter; try Soveral Forever Young Face Oil, or Rehydrating Rose Facial Oil by Neal's Yard Remedies. Look for vitamin B12, found in apricot kernel oil, which has a regenerating effect. After oiling your skin, pat it dry with a towel. Never allow the skin to dry naturally, as when the surface water evaporates, it pulls moisture from your skin.


Target problem areas

Dry lips are often caused by lip products that contain lanolin or petroleum. These ingredients cause the sebaceous glands to stop producing oil, so when you stop using them, your lips become dry. Use a balm that is based on beeswax, such as Burt's Bees. Use an eye balm, because it is high in fatty acids, to soothe any particularly chapped or sore areas - around the nose, for example. Or you could use olive oil or castor oil.

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