Dry Skin Care Help

If you suffer from dry skin, you know that it can be irritating, itchy and unattractive. Flaky patches, tightness and red patches are sure signs that you need to find a good dry skin care treatment. You might be surprised to learn that the treatment for dry skin is fairly easy.

What Causes Dry Skin?
Dry skin begins with the skin's sebaceous glands. These glands secrete sebum, which is a fatty, oily substance that mixes with the secretions from your sweat glands. This mixture then spreads over your skin and creates a layer of oil and moisture that is called the acid mantle. The acid mantle acts to protect your skin by preventing dirt and grime from entering the outer layer of the epidermis.

The acid mantle also protects the skin from drying and chapping. When the pH level of the skin is talked about, it is actually referring to the pH of the acid mantle. The acid mantle of your skin is naturally acidic. For most people, the pH range is from 4.5 to 5.5. This acidic quality protects your skin because it fights any bacterial invasion, but if the acid mantle changes from what is normal, your skin will show the effects.

There are actually two types of dry skin. People with dry skin from underactive sebaceous glands have what is known as oil dry skin. Other people lack water in their skin, and this is called moisture dry skin. We often think of dry skin as being associated with older, more mature skin, but younger people can have dry skin as well. Diet and hormones can also contribute to dry skin.

How to Treat Dry Skin
A good, regular skin care regimen might work better for you than specific dry skin care products. Skin care for dry skin can be summed up in three steps: Cleanse, tone and moisturize.

Cleanse. The first step in any healthy skin care routine is cleansing your skin. Cleansing not only removes the dirt and debris of the day from your skin, but it is also a way to remove the dead skin cells that naturally slough off. If these dead cells and dirt are not removed, they can clog up your pores, which will prevent the secretion of the natural oils your skin needs to stay soft and supple.

It is common to develop a skin care routine that involves cleansing twice daily, in the morning and evening. However, if your skin is particularly dry, you may want to cut back the cleansing portion of your regimen to only once daily, in the evening, to make sure that you are removing the daily makeup and accumulation of dirt and bacteria.

Be sure to avoid soaps for cleaning your dry skin. Many soaps have a very high acidic pH level, with some as high as a pH of 10. This high of an acidity level can eliminate the acid mantle of your skin, which can lead to bacterial infections.

Rather than harsh soaps, choose a cleanser that is gentle and contains three primary categories of ingredients:

  • Your cleanser needs an oil-based compound, which will combine with the oil on your face and dissolve it. Believe it or not, oil dissolves oil.
  • Your cleanser needs a surfactant, found in detergents, which combines with dirt and bacteria on your skin and dissolves that.
  • Finally, your cleanser needs water to rinse the whole works away.

You may want to consider avoiding tap water when you rinse your face. Most tap water has chemical deposits that are simply too harsh for sensitive dry skin. Try spritzing your skin with mineral water instead to give your face an extra boost of healthy, essential moisture without the drying effects of chlorine and other additives to tap water.

Tone. While some beauty experts disagree on whether a toner is necessary or not, you will find that the argument against toner may not cover all the facts. Most often, when you hear that a toner isn't necessary to remove all the traces of dirt, oil and cleanser from your skin, you are missing the point.

A toner's purpose isn't simply to provide a final cleanup. In fact, a toner also restores the pH balance of your skin's acid mantle to normal. Avoid toners that contain alcohol, as this is extremely drying to your skin. Essential oils, like rose water or sandalwood, are especially good as toners for dry skin.

Moisturize. If you suffer from dry skin, you probably already know the beneficial effects of using a moisturizer. The key here is to choose the right type of moisturizer so that you can keep your dry skin soft and smooth without adding a heavy moisturizer that will clog your pores and lead to breakouts or prevent your natural oils from reaching the surface of your skin.

Moisturizers contain humectants, which actually attract moisture to the skin and hold it there. In order to get the most benefit from your moisturizer, apply it while your skin is still slightly damp so the moisturizer can act as a shield and protect your face from the drying effects of the environment. Many essential oils, including primrose oil, chamomile, hyssop and ylang-ylang, have excellent moisturizing properties.

Don't use a heavy cream moisturizer or one containing mineral oil. Mineral oil can clog your pores. Instead, look for primrose oil, which contains GLA, an essential fatty acid that can strengthen your skin cells and add a boost to their moisture content.

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