We all get dry and flaky skin sometimes. With all the simple factors that cause dry skin, it could be harder to avoid than you think. For starters, your knees and elbows could already be scaly, or you just have dry facial skin. Either way, we have all had to endure dry, flaky skin one time or another. While we can all relate to this uncomfortable, annoying problem, few of us actually know how to fix it.
Before we get to that, however, let us first understand what really causes dry or flaky skin. After that, we can talk about how you can go about turning your dry patches into moist, soft skin that you didn’t know you had the genes for.
So What Causes Dry and Flaky Skin?
There are many factors that are responsible for uncomfortable dry skin. Some could be obvious, some not so much.
Let’s start with the obvious; if you constantly neglect your skin, spend too much time in the sun, fail to protect your skin during cold, dry winter, then chances are you will have dry, flaky skin.
Another common factor that contributes to dry and flaky skin, which in this case is entirely not your fault, is aging. Although this is tough to take, it’s obviously inevitable. As we age, our skin is no longer able to maintain the same flexibility or bounce. This is because the two important proteins for healthy skin – elastin and collagen, start to break down and disintegrate over time.
As if that’s not enough, our bodies are no longer able to produce these proteins as easily as it did when we were younger.
This brings us back to the original question, what actually causes dry, flaky skin? What is the science behind skin cells causing dryness on the skin surface – and can we understand all this without getting too ‘scientific’?
Here’s is our basic explanation:
Before we get started, let us first understand the big difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin. On one hand, dry skin occurs when the body does not produce enough protective oil, also known as sebum, which acts as a barrier and shield against drying skin and also helps keep your skin hydrated. Without an adequate supply of this naturally occurring magical oil, the skin becomes dry.
On the other hand, dehydrated skin has more to do with the water content in the skin, but not oil. Every cell in our body needs water, which you may have learned in basic biology.
You may also remember that the human body is made up mostly by water. Without enough water, skin cells become dehydrated. Consequently, dehydration is also caused by dry skin. This is because a dry skin without the protective oil barrier is more vulnerable to losing water content. Consequently, dry and flaky skin occurs when the skin is both dry and dehydrated.
This may sound bad, but there is no need to panic. Breathe in and out gently, and pay attention to the following guidelines and tips that will educate you on a quest to fix that unwanted dry skin.
The 3 Most Effective Ways to Fix Dry, Flaky Skin
There is so much you can do, effortless or otherwise, to fight dry, flaky skin and win!
To help you understand the simple procedures, I have grouped every major category you will need to address every step of the way.
Improve Your Skin Care Regimen
Before you start thinking of improving your skin care routine is way too obvious to mention here, let’s remember that conventional wisdom can sometimes be off the mark, outdated or just not working for you.
How do you perfect your routine?
This is the process of getting rid of skin cells which you should do at least once or twice every week. Stick to all-natural exfoliators which are better for your skin and the environment as well.
This is one of the most important, if not compulsory step in any skincare routine. The benefits are countless and the consequences of not following this step are nothing short of tragic.
Make sure to find the perfect moisturizer for your skin and enjoy smooth, beautiful skin with every sensation that comes with it.
Shorten Your Shower Time
While long showers can be fun and super relaxing as you unwind at the end of a long day, they can also contribute to dry skin. If you must, make sure to keep your showers at a maximum of say 7 minutes, with a rare exception of 10 at most.
Make sure to cleanse more before and after makeup or moisturizing. In this case, mind the soap. Some soaps are pretty hard on the skin and will go a mile to remove your skin’s sebum. We all know what happens when the sebum in your skin hits low levels. To avoid all that, take care of your skin by using a trusted, gentle cleanser from a reputable source.
Dry Yourself Gently
When you are done cleansing use only a soft towel to pat your face dry but do so gently.
Avoid being too rough on the face as rubbing or stretching your skin at any point will cause damage and also create or worsen wrinkles.
Afterward, always remember to apply your moisturizer immediately. Don’t wait for the skin to be stone dry before slapping on a fat layer of moisturizer.
Work with Your Environment
Just like aging, you can’t change the weather, but you can work around it. If you live in an extremely dry or cold environment, take the necessary steps to fight dry and flaky skin with the tips below.
Make Use of a Humidifier
There are many ways you can keep your skin hydrated in areas with low humidity. For instance, you can run a humidifier in your bedroom which can add moisture in the air while sleeping.
Wear Sunscreen, Always
Regardless of weather – be it cloudy, sunny or rainy, wear sunscreen every day, everywhere you go. You cannot stress this point enough. Sunscreen is important, as it shields you from the harmful rays from the sun. To be on the safe side, apply a layer of your trusted sunscreen every morning before leaving the house.
Before sunscreen, how did people protect their skin from harsh weathers back in the day? By covering up. Keeping much of your skin covered up means you are not overly exposed to the elements. This protects you from the sun during summer and harsh winds that take over during cold winters.
Make Better Lifestyle Choices
Although we are not here to point judgmental fingers, it’s good to point out that some healthy lifestyle choices will help you fight dry skin more than others. This is what you will need to do;
A healthy diet is no doubt one of the most effective ways of keeping your skin youthful and glowing. There are plenty of good food options out there ready to get that skin looking new. All you will need is some dedication.
This one is straight to the point. You need to drink enough water per day so that your skin cells will have enough water content. Try to down at least 64 fluid ounces of water as a daily requirement and savor the results.
Get Enough Beauty Rest
You need at least six hours of sleep per night for adequate rest. Also, since how you sleep matters when aiming for maximum relaxation, sleep on your back and use soft sheets!
Drink Less Alcohol
Too much of anything is poisonous, and this couldn’t apply better than with alcohol. Excessive drinking is seriously bad for your skin. It is not doom and gloom though, you can still enjoy your favorite glass of wine or cocktail once in a while, as long as you do it in moderation.
Quit Smoking Already
Compared to times past, smoking rates have continued to be on the down for decades. Unfortunately, at least one in every 10 American women are still hooked to the cigarette.
If I am talking about you, quit smoking already. Your skin and lungs will say thank you for sure.