Here’s how to treat dry skin, an inevitable skin change that comes with aging. In this post, learn about ingredients and tips that will lead to softer, smoother and more touchable skin. At Apothekari, our moisturizers are one of the best ways to manage dryness from head to toe.
Why Causes Dry Skin As You Get Older?
Your skin ages in two main ways:
- Extrinsic Aging: Extrinsic aging is related to the impact of the environment on your skin. This includes exposure to the sun, pollution and smoke, plus diet and lifestyle factors. Stress, sleep, exercise all contribute to extrinsic aging. Together, they can lead to skin thickening, freckles, age spots and some precancerous changes such as actinic keratosis and skin cancers themselves. The sun’s UV rays damages collagen, elastin and other elements that lead to skin that sags, stretches, and loses its ability to snap back after stretching. Mature skin may also become drier, bruise and tear more easily, and take longer to heal.
- Intrinsic Aging. Intrinsic aging is something that we can’t fight against and which occurs as part of the natural aging process:
- Thinning of the dermal and epidermal skin layers, resulting in a smaller supply of nutrients to the cells
- A decline in the production of new skin cells and skin supportive fibers (collagen, elastin, etc)
- A decreased ability to retain moisture
- A decline in levels of the hormone, estrogen. Estrogen not only stimulates oil glands, which helps keep skin hydrated, it also helps to maintain the skin’s structure.
Dryness affects the skin on all of your body. This includes your face, arms and legs, plus parts of your body, you may not have considered, like your vulva and vagina.
What is the Best Natural Ingredient for Dry Skin?
Whether skin is mature or younger, a good moisturizer is key to help treat dry skin. Moisturizers work by either providing hydration, or by helping to prevent its loss, and they contain 3 main classes of ingredients:
- Humectants: Help to attract moisture to the skin. Glycerin, hyaluronic acid, urea and aloe vera are humectants.
- Emollients: Smooth and soften skin by helping to repair cracks in the skin barrier. They prevent moisture loss. Butters, oils, esters, lipids, and fatty acids are all considered emollients.
- Occlusives: Work by forming a protective coating on your skin’s surface, forming a protective barrier that locks moisture in and keeps harmful particles out. They tend to be oily or waxy. Petrolatum, lanolin, beeswax, jojoba oil, and olive oil are examples. Occlusives like oils, can also be emollients.
Each class of ingredient provides benefits of its own, and they’re often combined together for the best results. For best results apply them to slightly damp skin to help lock in the moisture.
What is the Best Thing for Dry Skin | Top Tips
Using moisturizer is an essential step in dry skin management, but there are many lifestyle changes that you can implement to help as well:
- Introduce Humidity. The drier the air, the drier the skin. It’s a lesson, I re-learn every time I travel to the desert-like climate in Arizona. Consider using a humidifier in the room where you spend the most time, which, for many of us, is the bedroom.
- Change Up Your Diet. Increasing your intake of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to help improve the skin’s oil production, improve hydration and minimize the signs of aging. Look for them in nuts (walnuts are a rich source), olive oil, avocados and salmon.
- Watch Your Alcohol Consumption. Ah yes, a glass of red wine on a Friday evening is very appealing. We’re not telling you to give it up completely, but alcohol, along with caffeine, act as diuretics that can lead to dehydration and drier skin. Up the water intake to help counteract the effect if you can.
- Exfoliate. No matter how much you moisturize, dry skin will stay dry without some light exfoliation. For the face, check out our AHA-Mazing Clean Cleansing Gel and our Bespoke Vitamin C Serum, which hydrates and exfoliates as well.
- Cleanse Gently. Harsh cleansers can strip away skin’s protective natural oils. Choose one that is gentle—the one we’ve linked to above is gentle, yet also effective.
- Add In An Oil. If you’re already using a moisturizer and skin is still dry, consider adding in an oil. These help to lock in the moisture delivered by a moisturizing cream or lotion, relieving dryness even further. Our Antioxidant Face Oil is a boon to drier skin on the face while our Lemon Rose Body Oil offers luxurious hydration post shower or bath.
- Water—but, don’t make it hot! Hot water strips away skin’s protective oils. Switch to lukewarm and stay away from hot water when you shower, bathe or wash.