WOW | Beauty

Secrets to Hydrating Dry Skin

In the battle against dry skin, moisturising lotion provides the first line of defense. But you can enlist several sneaky weapons of mass hydration to keep your skin soft, smooth, and flake free.

Raid Your Pantry
Some foods can be even more helpful on your skin than in your stomach. Coconut oil is a favourite to rub on arms and legs to relieve dry skin; sweet almond oil is perfect for lips and cuticles; and honey makes a soothing homemade face mask. Manuka honey is great because it’s an antibacterial that’s especially effective in reducing inflammation while hydrating, making it perfect for acne-prone skin. Manuka honey, an ancient skin remedy from New Zealand, has also been shown to help psoriasis and eczema, two autoimmune disorders that produce excessively dry and flaky patches of skin.

Smell Like a Rose
Just as a tall glass of water provides your body hydration, rose water benefits your skin. It’s been proven that giving yourself a light spritz of rose water helps rehydrate and moisturise skin. Rose water is created by steam distillation, which isolates the essential oil in rose petals. The sweet smelling water provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidants benefits as well. If you don’t like floral scents, try a vitamin E mist with cooling agents like aloe vera for a similar effect.

Reconsider Your Soap
Soap is one of the most notorious causes of dry skin, so trading in your bar soap for a body wash can have a major moisturising effect. Take note, though: Not all body washes are created equal, and some can strip skin of oils instead of hydrating. Opt for cream-based body washes that use ingredients like honey and oatmeal. When you choose a wash, check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain drying antibacterial agents or sulfates. And if you just can’t bear to quit your shower gel, add a tablespoon of body oil to transform it into a hydrating treat.

Layer Your Facial Products
Instead of just reaching for the heaviest cream in your cabinet, it’s more beneficial to apply different layers of products to create multiple barriers. Start with a creamy, soap-free face wash that contains ceramides to immediately reinforce the skin barrier. Cucumber is another effective ingredient to look for, as it cleanses without dehydrating.

Follow your face wash with a hydrating hyaluronic acid serum to plump skin cells with a reservoir of moisture. Hyaluronic acid is very hydrophilic, or water loving. That means it attracts any available moisture and fuses it to the skin. Finally seal in your foundational hydrators with a light moisturiser, preferably with an SPF of at least 30 in the daytime, and a soothing eye cream.
Similarly, products like body wash, body oil, and body cream can be layered, under 100 percent cotton clothing, if skin is particularly parched.

Try Oil Instead of Lotion
While most people often reach for the bottle of lotion first, body oils are a better choice. And there’s a good reason — many lotions are packed with synthetic ingredients and fillers to provide a rich, creamy feel, but oils don’t need as many ingredients to perform the job of hydration because they do it naturally. Oils protect the skin barrier, and skin is especially receptive to oils right after a shower. Rich oils that are ideal for all-over moisturisation include coconut, sweet almond, sunflower, and argan.

Eat Healthy Fats
Fat is normally something we try to cut down on at mealtimes, but you shouldn’t abstain entirely. In fact, fats are essential to normal and healthy skin function. A diet rich in healthy fats can help improve the moisture holding capacity of your skin. That means a balanced diet filled with omega-3 and omega-6 oils, which keep the membrane around each skin cell healthy and able to retain moisture.

Flaxseeds, olive oil, and fish are all high in omega-3s, which yield the highest nutritional value when eaten raw, as heat quickly compromises the fat’s integrity. If raw fish isn’t your idea of a party, you can try omega-3 or fish oil supplements, which also lower triglycerides, resulting in additional health benefits, including improved cardiovascular function and lower blood pressure. Eating vitamin E–filled foods like almonds and spinach can also help capture moisture as they contain antioxidants that repair damaged skin tissues.

Indulge in a Cloth Mask
By covering the skin’s surface, facial cloth masks infuse their ingredients into skin for maximal, quick effect. The best formulas are full of water, hydrators, vitamins, and minerals and work in just minutes. The optimal time to use a cloth mask is after cleansing skin with a cream-based wash and then steaming it to open pores. Warm shower steam will do the trick, or you can bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, remove it from the stove, and lean over it with a small towel draped over your head. Follow steaming with your choice of cloth mask. After 10 to 20 minutes, gently remove the mask and rinse your face, then layer on your favorite moisturiser. Because cloth masks plump the skin with moisture, they can double as an anti-aging primer step before applying makeup for an important event or special occasion.