10 simple ways to keep your skin from drying out
We tend to think of skin—the body’s largest organ—as something that takes care of itself. But, in reality, there's more to it beneath the surface.
It’s important to protect your skin against cracks and wounds because skin serves as a barrier to protect your internal organs from damage and exposure to bacteria, and other harmful elements.
If cold weather and artificial heat leave you with dry, cracked skin, here’s some good news. You can fix that problem and improve your overall health by following a few simple guidelines.
What Dry Skin Says About Your Health
Your skin is made up of several different types of tissue that are in charge of some major tasks for your body. Their duties include:
- Maintaining a steady body temperature
- Preventing injury to internal organs
- Protecting you from the sun’s ultraviolet rays
- Delivering information from nerve endings in the skin to your brain
- Protecting against infection-causing invaders
- Producing vitamin D from sun exposure
Your skin also says a lot about you.
For example, we all know that wrinkles are a sign of aging, and we can bolster our anti-aging efforts with natural support.
On the other hand, dry skin can happen at any age. Although it’s quite common, dry skin can mean your body is trying to tell you something about your health.
Dry skin can be a sign of an underlying medical problem (such as low thyroid), but for most people, it’s simply an uncomfortable condition with remedies that pay off in unexpected ways.
Below the surface, improvements in dry-skin care may also lead to other health improvements, like better heart health, less joint pain, better mental functions, and improved digestion and regularity—a winning combination!
So, considering all that your skin does for you, why not return the favor?
You can start by getting to know the names of a few ingredients to avoid.
Common Skin-Care Ingredients to Avoid
Your skin can absorb substances from your bath water, as well as from the soaps, lotions, and washes you use daily.
To properly protect your skin, it's important to look for skin-care products that are as pure and chemical-free as possible. The following harmful substances frequently turn up in everyday skin care products, even though other countries may have banned them:
- Diethanolamine (DEA)
- Formaldehyde (may appear on labels as quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, or diazolidinyl urea)
- 1,4-dioxane (look for sodium laureth sulfate, PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, polyethoxyethylene, and/or polyoxynolethylene)
- Fragrance, unless it is from an essential oil
Yes, these names are strange and difficult to remember. Because they don't exactly roll off the tongue, we suggest carrying this list in your wallet or purse (or as a bookmark or screenshot on your phone) to use as a reference when you’re shopping.
Avoiding chemical-laden products is the first step to protecting your skin from drying out. What you add into your skin care regimen can really save your skin...and your health.
10 Simple Ways to Keep Your Skin From Drying Out
In general, we believe that these are six building blocks that make up the foundation of good health:
- following a nutritious whole-foods diet;
- engaging in regular, moderate exercise;
- drinking plenty of fresh, filtered water daily;
- getting 7 to 8 hours of deep, restorative sleep every night;
- managing stress in healthy ways; and
- adding appropriate supplements
Without these supportive practices, you undermine your own health, and that takes a toll on everything, including your skin.
If you suffer from dry skin, make sure these six healthy habits are already part of your plan for optimal health.
Then, layer in these 10 simple ways to keep your skin from drying out:
1. Add dietary supplements.
Consider taking vitamin D3. A recent study found that dry skin occurred more frequently in individuals with low levels of this nutrient in their blood. Fortunately, supplements are an inexpensive way to correct it.
2. Cook with cold-pressed oils.
Toss out any heat-processed or hydrogenated vegetable oils that harden at room temperature (the only exception is coconut oil); use cold-pressed oils instead. When oils are heated, they produce free radicals that harm your skin and your overall health. Ideally, you should use only organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin olive, coconut, or grapeseed oil for cooking and baking.
3. Follow an antioxidant-rich diet.
Feed your skin from the inside with as many food-based nutrients as possible. Scientists repeatedly find that healthy skin begins inside the body, with a diet rich in antioxidants from vegetables and fruits, as well as good fats found in omega-3 fatty acids.
For example, yellow-orange veggies, such as carrots and squash, contain beta-carotene, which can help combat sun damage. And foods like salmon and shrimp are good sources of astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin is another antioxidant shown to reduce skin inflammation, enhance immunity, and protect against sagging, wrinkling, and even skin cancer, and is a key super nutrient in our bestselling, top-notch omega-3 formula.
4. Consume foods containing friendly fats.
Foods rich in omega-3s (salmon, trout, herring, and anchovies) help support your body’s own mechanisms that protect against sun damage and support healthy skin.
If you’re not a fish fan or are concerned about the very real dangers of chemicals in seafood, supplementing with toxin-free omega-3s is a simple, safe solution. Take 1,000 mg twice daily for best results.
5. Drink enough water.
Don’t forget the most obvious (but overlooked) internal moisturizer of all—water. As a rule of thumb, the number of ounces you need each day is half the number of pounds you weigh. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of fresh, filtered water—or ten 8-ounce glasses of water—every day.
6. Reduce exposure to chemicals.
Avoid antibacterial and deodorizing soaps as well as body washes with added fragrance. These products contain harsh chemicals that can damage your skin and harm your health. Instead, we recommend a simple, mild soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s castile soap.
7. Shower wisely.
Take short showers in warm — not hot — water. Hot water can be very drying to your skin, and long showers tend to remove much of the skin’s natural moisturizers.
8. Use filtered water for bathing.
Consider investing in a water filter for your shower or bath to remove toxins and other impurities, such as lead, rust, chlorinated by-products, and prescription drugs that are now in our water supply and can be absorbed through the skin.
9. Use natural skin-care products.
Shop for skin lotions that contain natural moisturizing emollients, such as aloe vera, jojoba or coconut oils, or vitamin E. Whenever possible, go with fragrance-free products.
Or simply apply a small amount of natural oil to your skin after bathing. A British study found that sunflower seed oil was far superior to olive oil for protecting skin from dryness.
10. Look for a skin moisturizer containing vitamin D3.
Research shows that those who topically apply vitamin D3 have a significant increase in skin moisture.
Protect Your Health by Saving Your Skin
Dry skin problems can occur at any age. And they can flare up at any time of the year. This time of year is notorious for having awful conditions for dry skin sufferers.
This season can be different, and it should.
Before the problems worsens, make sure you reinforce your foundation of good health. Then, follow them up with the 10 simple recommendations listed above.
In due time, your skin won’t be the only thing that benefits. Your overall health will thank you, as well.
Take good care.
Disclaimer: Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Last Updated: December 12, 2020
Originally Published: December 31, 2012