Safer Solutions for Dry Skin
These safer solutions for dry skin cover all your bases – from nutrition (yep, it matters!) to easy skincare tips, including affordable homemade solutions; plus, I'm sharing my favorite skincare products from the top-notch brands I trust to help you beat dry skin!
Dry skin has likely plagued us all at some point – especially during the winter! During the winter months, the air becomes dry and water is literally sucked out of our skin, leaving it desperate for moisture – that's why our creams and routines seem to STOP WORKING when winter rolls around!
And if you deal with dry skin year-round, there's hope for you, too. No matter when it happens, dealing with dry skin is all about restoring your skin's barrier function to help your skin hold on to water to feel supple all year long.
I’m here to say that you do *not* have to turn to a toxic-goop filled conventional solution to get bright, hydrated skin. Now that you know WHY this is happening, you just need to adjust your routine to deal with it.
Fortunately, I've got several safer solutions for dry skin – all tried (by yours truly) and true. These solutions work!
Not only do they work, but they're gentle while being effective. I have extremely sensitive skin, and I feel totally confident with these recommendations. Dry skin is something that I ALWAYS battled before I found products that truly worked for me. So, don’t lose hope. Read the following, and choose the solutions that sound best for you!
Dry Skin Solution #1: Amp up your NUTRITION
This should come as no surprise (because I’m a Nutrition Consultant by trade), but my first piece of advise pertains to nutrition. Well, it pertains to a concept deeply entwined with nutrition: hydration.
Drink more water.
I know you saw this one coming. Please note, if you currently hit your DWN (“Daily Water Number” as defined in the ‘Fed & Fit’ book) you can skip this step. However, MOST of us are not consuming quite enough water. Especially during these cold winter months.
While thirst is more obvious during the warmer months, we have to stay intentional with our water consumption when the temperatures are lower. Aim to consume half your body weight in OUNCES. SO, if you weigh 160 pounds, aim for 80 ounces of water a day.
If you’re looking for a new water bottle to help up your hydration game, THIS is my favorite insulated 40 ounce water bottle.
Enjoy more hydrating foods.
Hydrating foods are probably exactly what you think! I’m talking soups, fruits, vegetables, sipping broth, and not-sweet green juices. Do your best to get a varied amount in your diet on a regular basis!
Avoid dehydrating foods/beverages.
I’m looking specifically at any drink with artificial sweeteners (think diet sodas), conventional baked goods (meaning they're made of regular flour), pastas, cereals, candy bars, and other foods with a lot of sugar (and very little nutrition). Know that both alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate the body as well, so consume mindfully if you’re working to battle dry skin.
Dry Skin Solution #2: Nourish and repair your skin
If you’re like me, the face is where dry skin first starts to appear. The skin on our face *is* special. It’s more sensitive than other parts of our bodies, and it takes the brunt of our daily activities, where it's exposed to the sun, wind, and shifting temperatures; not to mention being regularly touched, poked, prodded and painted (think: makeup).
I'm sharing what I do to battle my dry skin – try one or more of my tips if you're so inclined, or craft your own solutions using these as your guide!
There are different schools of thought (for good reason) when it comes to the pro’s/con’s of exfoliating. That being said, the practice works for me! Gently buffing away dry skin on a semi-regular basis has helped my skin heal and stay supple over these dry months.
Note that there are two different types of exfoliation:
- chemical exfoliation, which sounds scary but can actually be very gentle – these exfoliants use mild acids that de-stick skin cells so they can be washed away; and
- physical exfoliation, which uses mild scrubs to physically buff away dry skin
Here are a few of my favorite exfoliators from both categories:
- Beautycounter's Charcoal Mask. This mask is a chemical exfoliator that uses salicylic acid, a mild beta hydroxy acid that's also amazingly good at cleansing inside pores. (Bye bye, blackheads!) It also contains lactic acid, which is both a mild exfoliator AND a humectant – which means it helps draw water to the skin. The mask soothes, helps to minimize redness, and leaves my face feeling new again. I like to use this mask once a week.
- Thesis Poppy Seed Face Scrub. I think of this physical exfoliating scrub as the BIG GUNS. I use it once every few weeks when I really want a good scrub. It comes in a powder that you pour into your hand, add a little water, and scrub away! Be careful not to press too hard. This scrub is highly effective with just some easy massaging.
Don’t skip this step! After washing your face, I recommend applying some kind of a toner. This is chemistry at work: using a toner resets your skin's pH and will help it “accept” your chosen moisturizer. The added benefit of toners? They can come not just with pH-balancing properties, but with other nourishing, calming ingredients!
My favorite toner options:
- Homemade. You can absolutely make your own toner! Though not as lovely or with as many added benefits of the toners below, it is the most affordable option. Simply add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a small spray bottle of water. For an added boost, add the vinegar to cooled brewed green tea (for acne-prone skin) or chamomile tea (for extra soothing).
- Primally Pure's Rose + Mint Complexion Mist. This is the one I use – and I SWEAR by it! Just three sprays on my face after cleansing and the difference it makes in my complexion is incredible.
One of the top pieces of advice I can give is to remember that moisture is a two-part process: your skin needs oil AND water to retain moisture!
Oil might sound scary, but it's a natural part of your skin barrier – in fact, it's what actually gives your skin its strong barrier function (that's science)! Replenishing the skin with non-pore-clogging oils in addition to water-based cream moisturizers is a HUGE part of helping your skin stay hydrated. Oil literally helps your skin keep its water.
That's why I recommend you consider a cream AND an oil for your moisturizing needs!
I’ve kissed a lot of frogs over the years trying to find a safer alternative to moisturizers filled with industrial stabilizers and parabens (as in, hormone-disrupting toxic goop-filled cream) and I am happy to report that the following are all lovely, with their own unique qualities to meet your needs!
- Beautycounter's Rejuvenating Day Cream. This is probably my favorite cream moisturizer ever, and I’ve been known to use it for both AM and PM applications while I’m traveling. It’s not-too-thick and not-too-thin. It absorbs quickly on top of my toner. Just 2 pumps is enough to thoroughly cover my face and neck – and I use it in combination with the face oils listed below. (Beautycounter's Rejuvenating Night Cream, another star from their anti-aging line, is also a nice intense moisturizer to lather on at bed time.)
- Beautycounter's Face Oils. The “Soothing Oil” is my favorite one of the three, though they’re all lovely. I use this oil to help boost the moisturizing impact of my creams even further. After I spritz my face with a post-wash toner, I’ll add 2 to 3 drops of my chosen oil to a blob of moisturizer on my fingertips. I’ll then rub the two *together* on my face at the same time. The effect is powerful, non-oily hydration. My makeup always goes on smoothly after this step!
- Primally Pure's Beauty Cream. This grass-fed tallow-based moisturizing cream is LEGIT. Thoughtfully combined with 4 other healing, 100% natural ingredients, this beauty cream is great for anyone who would prefer an even more natural hydrating solution.
Don't forget the lips
- Primally Pure's Lip Balm. Nothing else need apply in this category! This lip balm is, without a doubt, the best I’ve ever used. Safer skincare or not, this is the BEST balm you can buy! It comes in a variety of lovely flavors and goes on smooth. I use it daily to keep my lips healthy and supple.
Dry Skin Solution #3: Don't forget the rest of your body!
Though not as likely of a top-priority as our face, our bodies do tend to suffer from dry skin throughout the winter as well. I have a couple tricks up my sleeve to help you here, too!
- Homemade Coffee Scrub. I use this one a LOT. The process is extremely simple: go grab the leftover coffee grounds from this morning’s pot of coffee, place in a bowl, take to the shower, and scrub them all over your body. Try not to rub too hard, so’s not to damage your skin, but the effect is smooth, polished, invigorated skin. I do not recommend you stock-pile the coffee grounds as they only keep well for a couple days. Best to use freshly brewed grounds! Bonus: the caffeine from the coffee is known to rejuvenate your skin and improve circulation.
- Beautycounter's Lemongrass Sugar Scrub. This is a lovely scrub that also has an added moisturizing quality! And the sugar isn't just for show. Sugar actually contains mild acids that can help un-stick skin cells while it physically buffs them away! Plus, it smells like an absolute dream. I like to keep it in the shower so that cleanup is a breeze. You can even scrub and wait a few minutes before rinsing to let the acids do a little extra work.
- Beautycounter's Body Butter. This body butter is absolutely dreamy. I like to lather it all over my legs and arms before bed. Beautycounter has really nailed deep-penetrating hydration without any greasy residue.
- Primally Pure's Citrus + Jasmine Body Oil. This is my favorite body oil with an absolutely intoxicating smell. I keep it out on my counter top and apply after a shower, but especially after I shave. This oil absorbs beautifully – my skin just soaks it up – and it provides moisture that lasts.
- Primally Pure's Body Butter. I ADORE this body butter! It’s my go-to before bed hand cream. Made with grass-fed tallow, the added “skin food” nutritional benefits are long. Though it comes in a number of lovely scents, the “Almond + Vanilla” is my favorite. It smells like sugar cookies and has become one of my “must” nightly rituals.
Dry Skin Solution #4: Don't let your environment steal your moisture
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet! I have one piece of “improve your environment” skincare advice: invest (THEN USE) a humidifier. Especially overnight! Don't give the dry air a chance to suck the water from your skin overnight.
The difference a humidifier can make is significant. If you *really* want to stay on top of your humidifying game, you can also keep one in your office to enjoy throughout the day.