Dry skin is a fact of life for most of us at some point. Hormones, age, weather, daily habits, and diet can all affect the integrity of our skin, but there are some easy steps we can take to protect our largest organ.
- Avoid synthetic detergents like the plague! Synthetic detergents or syn-dets are man made detergents meant to remove oil and dirt. They are usually clear, liquid soaps. Think of your dishwashing detergent. It’s powerful grease removing ability is great for getting rid of oil and food particles from your dishes, but it’s also stripping your skin of its natural oils. The same is true of clear liquid hand soaps. Try using a gentle all natural bar soap to wash your hands, and minimize your exposure to harsh dish detergent by having everyone take turns washing dishes, and wearing gloves.
- Avoid alcohol based hand sanitizers. Alcohol can be very drying to skin. Our skin is our first line of defense against germs, and we need to keep it soft and pliable. If it’s dried out to the point of cracking and bleeding, there is a definite hole in our defense, and an open door to germs. If your hands sting and burn when you use sanitizer, there are chinks in your armor!
- Stay hydrated! Our bodies are always losing water through transepidermal water loss, or water evaporating from our bodies into the air through our skin. It is a major factor in dry skin. The best way to make sure our bodies and skin don’t become dehydrated it to drink enough water. A good place to start is 8 fluid ounces 8 times per day, or 4 16 oz water bottles per day. A little more accurate way to figure it is to multiply your weight by 2/3. The total is the number of ounces of water you should drink in a day. Using a protective barrier cream on your skin, such as beeswax, lanolin, or cocoa butter and keeping the air in your home at 40-50% relative humidity will also help prevent trans-epidermal water loss.
- Exfoliate! The outside layer of your skin, called the dry horny layer, is composed of several layers of dead skin cells. By removing some of the outer layers of dead skin, you are keeping skin supple and preventing the skin from cracking. Natural oatmeal soap is a simple and gentle way to exfoliate dead skin.
- Get a good cream, and use it! Dry skin needs to be protected from trans-epidermal water loss, and kept soft and moist with nourishing oils. Key ingredients to look for in a good barrier cream are beeswax, lanolin, and cocoa butter. These are dense oils that form a protective barrier on skin. Also look for some lighter oils to sink in and nourish skin. Extra virgin organic coconut oil is about the best skin softening oil there is. Be careful to avoid questionable ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, and propylene glycol, and drying ingredients such as alcohol. All of Bee Lovely Botanicals’ products are free of those questionable ingredients. We make an all natural beeswax hand cream with organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic sunflower oil, beeswax from our own naturally treated hives, lanolin,cocoa butter, water, glycerin, and an organic preservative made from probiotics. We also make a hand salve version of our hand cream with allantoin, the active ingredient in aloe and comfrey root. Studies have shown that allantoin actually speeds up wound healing, and it also beefs up the barrier protection of the salve. You can learn more about our hand cream and hand salve by visiting our website. For a limited time we are offering a free cuticle balm when you sign up for our e-mail newsletter.