Simple ways to fight dry skin

Dry skin, also called xerosis, is caused by ageing, genetics, heredity, sun damages, environmental factors, lack of hydration and moisture. There are other reasons why our skin becomes dry but if left untreated, dry skin can crack and become infected. Dry skin is vulnerable to early wrinkles with rough, reddish patches. Daily and appropriate care is essential, beauty expert Shahnaz Husain says how.
The type of skincare products you use can also be a factor. The secret of good skin lies in the right kind of care. Moisture is most important to dry skin. It helps in keeping the skin soft, smooth and supple, all hallmark of younger skin. In fact, habitual lack of moisture can lead to visible ageing signs.
Normal hydration also allows skin to preserve and sustain the natural substances it relies on to keep it healthy-looking and visibly protected from negative environmental influences. There are various natural ingredients which moisturises the skin.
Coconut oil contains saturated fatty acids that have emollient properties which significantly improve skin hydration and increase the number of lipids on the outer parts of the skin making it smooth and soft.
Oatmeal bath has immense qualities. Oatmeal extracts contain anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties which can treat dry skin. It can be used by adding powdered oatmeal to a bath or using cream that contains oatmeal to hydrate dry skin.
Aloe vera has been part of the traditional Indian healing system. Aloe vera gel provides relief from dry skin. A person with dry skin on their hands or feet can apply aloe vera gel and cover the affected area with a sock or glove preferably before going to bed and leave the gel on all night.
Honey has moisturising, healing and anti-inflammatory properties which can be directly applied on skin to moisturise it and can also be used with other herbal products for achieving glowing and radiant skin. Moisturisers are available in both liquid and cream forms. During the dry season, for normal to dry skin, it is better to use a moisturising cream, applying it after cleansing and toning. It should also be applied under make-up. A liquid moisturiser can be used at night after cleansing and nourishing the skin. Atmospheric conditions, exposure to the sun, air conditioning and heating, soaps and chlorinated water, make-up cosmetics and air pollution can all lead to moisture loss. This is more so during the hot dry season. Therefore, the daily care routine should be adjusted according to the requirements of the skin. For dry skin avoid chemical-laden harsh soaps, hot showers, drying cleansers, products with harsh or skin-aggravating ingredients and using extremely hot or cold water and abrasive scrubs, loofahs or stiff-bristled cleansing brushes which cause micro-tears in skin’s surface.
Always wear light cotton and khadi comfortable clothing that does not feel scratchy on the skin. Avoid spending too much time in the sun. Tanning and dryness can be a lethal combination. Make sure you regularly moisturise your palms and fingertips because they are constantly exposed to harsh products. Cleanse the face twice a day with a cleansing cream or gel containing aloe vera, which helps to check moisture loss and also rehydrates the skin. Apply the cleanser, with a light massage and wipe it off with moist cotton wool. Tone the skin, with rose water or a rose-based skin tonic. You can have a home-made cleanser for dry skin — to a tablespoon of cold milk add 2 drops of any vegetable oil (olive or til or sunflower oil). Dip cotton wool in it and wipe the skin. Make this for 2-3 days but keep it in the refrigerator.
Protect the skin from moisture loss due to sun-exposure. Apply a sunscreen before going out in the sun. Most sunscreens have built-in moisturisers. A liquid moisturiser should also be used under make-up. Keep the skin well moisturised.
Nourishment is imperative for dry skin as it not only lubricates the skin but helps it to hold moisture better. It also softens the skin. After cleansing at night, apply nourishing cream on face and massage it with upward and outward movements, for 3 to 4 minutes. Wipe off excess cream with moist cotton wool before bedtime.
The skin around the eyes is thin and delicate. It acquires lines and wrinkles easily. Apply an under-eye cream and wipe it off after 15 minutes with moist cotton wool. Or, apply pure almond oil sparingly and massage lightly, using only the ring finger for one minute under each eye. Massage in one direction only and do this everyday.
The skin on the lips is also thin and lacks oil producing glands. After cleansing, apply almond oil or almond cream on the lips daily and leave it on all night. Sun-protective lip balms are also useful.
For skin on the body, arms and legs, apply warm sesame seed oil before bath, massaging it into the skin. Use a mild glycerine soap. Immediately after your bath, apply a body lotion while the skin is still damp. This helps to seal in moisture.

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