Dry skin is a very common skin problem and is often worse during the winter when environmental humidity is low (i.e., “winter itch”). It can occur at all ages and in people with or without other skin problems. In the discussion that follows we will examine the causes of dry skin and how to treat and prevent this problem.

Dry skin results when there is not enough water in the stratum corneum for it to function properly. The strateum corneum is the outermost layer of the epidermis (the top layer of your skin) and the primary function of these cells is to keep the skin hydrated by preventing water evaporation, but at the same time they can absorb water. One way for the strateum corneum to falter is when protective oils in this layer are lost and the water that is normally present in the skin is allowed to escape. Some of the causes of this oil loss are (1)  too much soapy water, (2) exposure to harsh chemicals, (3) the normal aging process and (4) certain types of skin diseases. As the stratum corneum dries out it shrinks and, as it shrinks, small cracks can occur. This exposes the underlying living cells to irritating substances and germs in the environment. The use of certain medications such as anti-acne treatments can produce considerable facial dryness in the winter or summer.

Treatment: Anyone who has tried to wash a greasy frypan in cold soapy water knows that it doesn’t work very well.  Apply heat and the grease/oils in the pan soften up allowing them to be washed away much more easily.  The same rule holds true with our skin.  The hotter the water you use to bathe/shower with the more oils you will lose from your skin, actually worsening the dry skin problem.

Tip # 1: take a short shower/bath in warm (not hot) water.  If the water turns your skin red it is too hot!  Limit this to no more than once in every 24 hour period.

Tip # 2: Soap should be used minimally.  Avoid harsh cleansers with chemical surfactants (eg. sodium laurel/laureth sulphates) or harsh oils (like palm oil) that strip the skin of its natural oil content.

Hint: try a Pure and Green organics cleansing moisture bar.  Our cleansing bars are superfatted which means a minimum of 5% of the oils in the bar do not convert to a solid, but remain in the bar to nourish your skin.   We achieve this result through the ancient cold process saponification technique – something you won’t find in a mass produced product.

Tip # 3: Following your bath/shower gently pat the skin partially dry with a towel (don’t rub!) and within three minutes of getting out of the water apply an effective moisturiser.  The oil in the moisturiser helps trap and seal water in the stratum corneum before it can evaporate and makes the skin softer and less likely to become dry, cracked and itchy.

Moisturisers should be reapplied liberally during the day and evening when possible especially to those areas prone to dryness (hands, arms, legs) and when itchy.

Hint: try Pure and Green organics Hydrate deep moisture lotion, suitable for face and body and our Rejuvenate Night Cream for use on face at night.  Our Hydrate and Rejuvenate products have been specifically designed to readily absorb into your skin’s deepest layers providing deep and long lasting hydration and nourishment for your skin.  Rich in jojoba oil (the closest match to the skin’s natural sebum oil) you will feel an instant softening and smoothness after application.   Rejuvenate is our product spotlight for July and available at 10% discount this month only .

Tip # 4: Be careful about using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and itch-suppressing creams or lotions. Many of these products contain chemicals that can irritate or cause allergic reactions in dry skin.  Anti-itch products containing menthol and camphor  are generally safe to use.  However, these products are not treating the cause of skin dryness, they are only temporarily treating the itching that accompanies it.

Tip # 5 Any way that you can increase the humidity level in the air of your home and workplaces would be advisable. You should consider adding a portable humidifier in your bedroom at night.

Tip # 6 Exfoliate once weekly to help slough off dry dead skin cells.  Ensure you use a very gentle exfoliate, so no chemical peels which could exacerbate your condition.  Among the physical exfoliants the most widely favoured are aluminum oxide crystals, used in a spa treatment called microdermabrasion. There are now several companies that sell home use microdermabrasion kits, all based around aluminum oxide crystals.  Aluminum oxide crystals aren’t harmless to humans, but when you’re done washing your face, those same crystals go down the drain, into the sewers and out into the oceans, where they cause massive harm.  The US EPA flatly states that any form of aluminum is “highly toxic to many species of aquatic organisms”. In fish, the metal has been linked to birth defects, increased mortality and a host of other complications.

Hint: try Pure and Green organics “exfoliate” available in high, medium or low scrub content.  With a pH range of 3.5-4.5 you can gently break the bond between old and new skin without harm to your delicate skin or our precious aquatic life.

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1 Comment on How to Treat & Prevent Winter Dry Skin

  1. kalyani says:

    i would like to use this tips.i want to use your products also.