Updated: Mar 30, 2021
By Jennifer Ide, R.BIE, CNP
Dry skin occurs when the skin does not have sufficient amounts of moisture. This is particularly common during the winter months when humidity levels decrease outdoors and the effects of drying heat increase indoors.
The following tips will help to either reduce water loss from the skin or increase the moisture levels of the skin, helping you to combat dryness. These tips are very easy, inexpensive and can be implemented right away.
Say goodbye to dry skin this winter!
Increase the use of moisturizers that are not water based
A lot of body lotions are water based. Simply read the ingredients. Water-based moisturizers will usually indicate water as the first ingredient. These lotions will carry a thinner consistency.
In contrast, moisturizers that are not water-based will be thicker and more effective in trapping moisture within the skin. Some of these types of moisturizers include body butters or body oils (ex. castor, avocado, jojoba, coconut or olive).
Moisturize immediately when you get out or bath or shower
Immediately coming out of the bath or shower, pat drying yourself down (it’s good to leave the skin a little damp!). Avoid rubbing your towel on your skin to dry yourself off. After pat drying, this is the best time to apply the suggested moisturizers. They will prevent the moisture from evaporating out.
Take showers and baths that are shorter and not too hot
Take maximum one shower or bath per day that does not last for more than 10 minutes. Bathing or showering too often can strip your skin of its valuable oils that will help keep it moisturized. Also, keep in mind that if the temperature of the water is too hot, it can dehydrate your skin more and wash away natural oils. Use lukewarm water to shower and bathe.
Use a humidifier
A decrease in temperature and humidity is correlated with an increase in water loss in the skin (1). During the winter season, we are often exposed to low humidity in the air outside and to dry heated air inside. A humidifier can do wonders for dry skin by putting some moisture into the air, increasing humidity levels.
Stay hydrated by eating and drinking your water
In general, the ideal amount of water to drink is to take your body weight in pounds and divide it by two. This will equal to the number of ounces of water to drink per day. Unfortunately, coffee and caffeinated beverages don’t count!
One factor to keep in mind here is the quality of water. Tap water can contain heavy metals, chlorine, pesticides, bacteria, viruses, microplastics, etc. It would be ideal to use a water filtering system that removes these harmful substances. Great water filters would include reverse osmosis systems (just be sure to add some trace minerals back to the water before drinking, since this system will remove them) or the Berkey system.
Drinking water is the most obvious way to reach your daily intake of water. But, you can also consider upping your water intake by eating water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. In fact, “eating your water” may actually increase your hydration status more efficiently than drinking water, since fruits and vegetables contain other nutrients — including minerals (sodium, magnesium, potassium, calcium) that act as electrolytes — that help your body hold onto the water. In addition to getting water and minerals, increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables will also help to increase fiber intake. Fiber is great for gut health, since it serves as a prebiotic for probiotics and helps to keep bowel movements regular! Some great water-rich foods to eat include: melons, lettuce, cucumber, celery, tomatoes and pineapples.
Use steam rooms
A study showed that just two 15 minute sessions in a Finnish sauna at 80°C was enough to see an improvement in skin barrier function. They saw an increase in skin hydration and a decrease in water loss in skin (2). Steam rooms are similar to saunas, but are higher in humidity. This may help to hydrate the skin even more than dry saunas.
Avoid using skincare products with alcohol
Many skincare products have alcohol as an ingredient. There are different types of alcohols. If you see “alcohol,” “denatured alcohol,” or “isopropyl alcohol,” stay clear of the product. These alcohols give the product a quick-drying finish when applied to the skin. Achieving a matte finish may not outweigh the risks of using products with these alcohols. Some studies have shown that alcohols can change the lipid composition of skin and can increase water loss from the skin, leaving it dry and irritated (3).
Don’t scrub too hard
Our skin is like a roof of shingles that are held together by glue. The glue is what keeps the shingles (skin cells) flat and in place. When the glue is loosened, water is lost and the skin becomes rough, dry and flaky. To avoid loosening the glue, and causing trauma to the skin, avoid bath sponges, scrub brushes and abrasive clothes. Also, be gentle and do not scrub too hard!
Consider nutrient deficiencies
Many nutrients contribute to the appearance and texture of healthy skin. Some of the key nutrients include vitamins (A, B, C, D and E), minerals (zinc, selenium and copper), amino acids and omega fatty acids.
Nutrient deficiencies can be identified easily by working with one of our naturopathic doctors, who can run specialized tests. It is recommended to work with a healthcare practitioner before supplementing, as there can be contraindications and/or you may be intolerant to certain supplements.
Find out if you have intolerances
As a BIE Practitioner, I look to see if my clients have any intolerances, meaning, the client’s body does not recognize a frequency of a particular substance. If you battle with dry skin, it may be that your body has lost the ability to recognize the frequency of important substances that help with skin hydration.
These substances could include the key skin nutrients mentioned above, drinking water, hormones that regulate water retention or personal care products. Once the intolerance is identified, the frequency signature of the substance is imprinted onto the client’s body, therefore, normalizing the body to the substance.
If you are tired of going through the winter with dry skin and want to look into any intolerance that may be contributing to your dry skin, consider booking an appointment with me by calling into the clinic at: (416) 214-9251.
Spada, F. et al. (2018). Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin’s own natural moisturizing systems. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology . 11, 491-497.
Kowatzki, D. (2008). Effect of regular sauna on epidermal barrier function and stratum corneum water-holding capacity in vivo in humans: a controlled study. Dermatology. 217, 173-180.
Lachenmeier, D. W. (2008). Safety evaluation of topical applications of ethanol on the skin and inside the oral cavity. Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology. 3, 26.
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