Dry skin can occur due to a variety of reasons, like overuse of harsh soaps, repeated exposure to water and the cold. Colder weather is also associated with a decrease in humidity leading to dry skin, and dandruff flare ups. Dry skin is easy to take care of and improve, but it can cause a lot of itching and becomes cracked if left untreated. While the market offers a variety of skincare products, there are many available home tips and lifestyle adjustments that can give you softer, well hydrated skin naturally.
Here are some recommended habits or natural products that can help improve dry skin:
The first rule to healthy skin is to ensure appropriate intake of water. Poor level of hydration dries the skin out and leads to signs of ageing like fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. Make it a goal to drink around 3 litres of water in a day. Depending on the kind of activities you do (like daily running or other exercises/activities) and body weight, you may need to drink more water for skin care. The roots of your hair soak water from your body to hydrate the hair. Hair is drier, brittle and more likely to break easily without good hydration.
This is one of the most easily available products that helps dryness. There are naturally occurring saturated fatty acids in coconut oil that hydrate skin and reduce roughness. It is mild on skin and can be applied to thin, sensitive skin around your eyes and mouth, unlike some other cosmetic solutions. Massaging coconut oil into your scalp is a safe and effective way to tackle scalp dryness. Oiling helps restore moisture to hair, and adds nutrients as well. Oils also protect the hair follicles on your scalp.
A balanced and vitamin rich diet is important for your overall health and wellbeing, but if you specifically want to improve dry skin, you need to increase intake of foods with Vitamin C and E. Adding some pomegranate to your breakfast is an easy way to ensure intake of Vitamin A and C. It also contains water and some minerals. Pomegranates help reduce dryness related itching and increase skin elasticity. Other water and vitamin rich fruits include tomatoes, watermelons, cucumbers, peaches, and more such.
If you are on the path of adopting dietary changes for dry skin, adding leafy, green vegetables to your meals is a great option. These include broccoli, spinach and kale. Leafy greens are high in calcium, folic acid, vitamins A, B, C and K along with fibre. The effect of such healthy food on skin can be significant, as they improve blood circulation and lead to healing of itchy, dry skin.
Aloe vera acts as a soothing agent that repairs skin cell damage and there are many ways to use it as a remedy. Direct application of aloe vera to skin is one convenient option, while some people like to add aloe vera juice to their morning routine for hydration. It works great as a moisturizing agent for hair. Aloe has an element called proteolytic enzymes that helps repair dry skin on the scalp. You can apply aloe gel to your scalp and hair, let it sit for around 30 minutes and then wash it off for these benefits. The best part is that aloe vera is gentle on the hair and skin, and is very easy to wash off.
Studies show that honey has moisturizing, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. There is no single way to apply honey to the face and you can safely massage it onto your skin and wash it off after a few minutes. A combination of honey with a pinch of good quality cinnamon powder is a great antioxidant and antimicrobial paste for dry skin. You should consult a dermatologist if you have serious pollen allergies, as honey might indirectly affect you adversely.
Eggs are one of the most effective foods to prevent dry skin and scalp. They are loaded with Vitamin A, D and E, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The yolk contains the most nutritional content that can benefit your skin. Egg yolks, when massaged into the hair and left for 5-7 minutes, can leave your scalp stronger and more moisturized, which reduces hair fall as well.
Both of these have existed as a home remedy for dry skin in cultures across the world, due to the presence of anti-inflammatory properties. Home made face packs are especially effective to treat dry skin during summer as both yogurt and curd retain moisture and naturally soften the skin. You can mix 2 teaspoons of yoghurt with one teaspoon of honey and apply the mix to your face for the benefits of this lactic acid rich antioxidant.
Natural fibres allow your skin to breathe easily. This is important, as the clothes you wear are in constant contact and friction with your skin and can cause dryness. Synthetic materials like nylon can irritate skin due to their chemical composition. If your skin is sensitive and dry, the best fabrics to wear are cotton and soft linen.
While adding healthy nutrients to your food or natural remedies to your skin, it is equally important to cut out some habits that cause excessive dryness of the skin and scalp. Sugary foods and baked goods are known to change the thickness of your skin, causing dryness. Smoking does the same and causes premature ageing.
If your skin or scalp is extremely dry and no product or remedies have any impact, you should see a dermatologist. Extreme dryness can signify eczema, which is a skin condition that causes dry, flaky and irritated skin for long periods of time. Seborrheic dermatitis is a form of eczema that affects the scalp greatly. While some natural remedies are effective against eczema, medical treatment is generally advisable.