Winter’s harsh winds and cool weather are notorious for drying out the skin and causing a rough texture. Most of us associate dry skin with the colder months of the year, but you really need to address it all year. We all want it – a soft, smooth, silky complexion – but at times, it can feel almost impossible to achieve. Some people naturally have soft, smooth skin, while others have to work for it. Simple skin care and lifestyle habits can be cumulative, doing wonders for the tone, texture, and softness of your skin.
Your skin’s health is influenced by several factors—including pollution, stress and sun damage—that, over time, chip away at your complexion and make it more prone to roughness, wrinkles, age spots, bruises and sagging. Dry skin occurs when skin doesn’t retain sufficient moisture. This can happen as a result of frequent bathing, use of harsh soaps, aging, or certain medical conditions. Some sneaky skin dehydrators lurk in surprising places.
Fragrance tends to irritate dry skin or make it worse, so avoid deodorants and skin care products that are filled with fragrance
Nothing strips skin of moisture faster than cleansing, so carefully choosing face washes, body washes, and laundry detergents is essential for keeping skin moist.
Chalk it up to another thing you can blame on your mom and dad: Researchers now say that dry skin can be inherited.
When tap water contains a high concentration of minerals like magnesium, lead, and zinc, it’s known as hard water — and the minerals can leave a film on skin that causes dryness.
Sometimes the air inside can be as punishing on your skin as the air outside. Forced air, especially heat, can draw humidity levels down into the single digits — making skin feel dry and itchy
The good news is, we can do some things to turn that around. There are simple, inexpensive home remedies for soft skin that will help restore that silky texture.
Eliminate Allergenic Foods
Diet plays a huge role in the texture of your skin. Allergenic foods, especially, can cause skin to appear rough or uneven. That’s why getting rid of potential allergens is your first, best plan of attack if you want softer skin.
The top two allergenic foods to eliminate are dairy and gluten.
The reason these foods are a problem when it comes to your skin is that they are inflammatory. When you’re creating inflammation in the body, your skin is going to respond with breakouts and other ailments.
To give your skin some major love, you’ve got to help it ditch those dead cells. Whether it’s with salicylic acid, glycolic acids, retinols, cleansing systems, or cleansing grains, exfoliation helps make skin soft and smooth. But only in moderation and not all at once. Overdrying or overexfoliating the skin can cause more problems with inflammation, worsening acne or rosacea, and [creating] dry and flaky skin.
Dry brushing is an exfoliating technique that brushes away skin flakes and improves circulation, promoting the growth of healthy skin. This technique is particularly effective if your skin is very dry and tends to flake or get scaly during the drier parts of the year. Dry brushing should be done while both the brush and your skin are totally dry.
Wear sunscreen everyday, SPF 15 or higher, all over your body. Wearing sunscreen protects your skin from dryness, wrinkles, and worse — cancer. During the winter, make sure you dress in layers, to prevent overheating and perspiration, both of which can irritate skin and cause dryness.
Improve your Diet
You know junk food is bad for you, but if you need more reasons to go easy on those tasty snacks, here’s a good one: Processed foods, alcohol and refined carbs contribute to the destruction of good bacteria and create an imbalance in your gut’s microbiome, leading to inflammation that can also manifest in your skin.
Avoid Hot Showers
Taking a hot shower dries your skin out terribly. Hot water is not good for your dry skin. Hot showers strip your body of its natural oil barrier, which is needed to help trap moisture and keep your skin smooth and moist. Opt, instead, for a warm shower for no longer than five to 10 minutes. Once you get out, pat your body dry and moisturize immediately, allowing your opened pores to absorb your lotion better, leaving your skin hydrated and smooth.
Use a Body Scrub
Body scrub contains a mixture of oils and an exfoliating substance like salt, sugar, or ground oatmeal. As you gently rub it into your skin, it sloughs away the dead skin while also conditioning it with the oil. When you rinse it away, your skin will be soft and smooth. Use a body scrub to exfoliate once or twice a week.
Drink More Water
Staying hydrated with adequate water intake is really important. In fact, because our bodies are actually 70 percent water, it’s almost our lifeblood. And if you notice that you’re not hydrated enough, it’s already too late. If your lips are chapped, if your throat is dry, if your mouth feels dry, you’re already dehydrated.
Moisturize Right After Showering.
Apply moisturizer when you’re barely dry from the shower so you trap water in the surface layers of the skin. Put your moisturizer where you’re going to actually use it. Translation: Keep it in your bathroom, so it’s literally right there when you get out of the shower. Look for humectants that draw moisture to the top layer of your skin, like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, urea, lanolin, dimethicone, and petrolatum.
In general, what’s good for your body is good for your skin so you’ll want to establish healthy habits such as regular exercise and a well-balanced diet. Of course, you’ll also want to avoid harmful habits such as smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeine, which can take a toll on your skin.
Try as you might to avoid them, stress and unhealthy habits can have a major impact on your skin. If you’re doing a crash diet or not sleeping, you [can] get a surge of growth hormones called cortisol. This can lead to inflammation and worsen skin conditions, break down elastin and hyaluronic acid. Try meditation, make sure you’re taking regular short breaks at work, and (here’s one you can do right now) take deep relaxing breaths when you’re feeling the pressure. Just … chill.
Get Enough Sleep
Stress can wreak havoc on your skin, especially when you’re not allowing your body to rest and recover from the daily grind. Your body repairs itself and recovers from daily stress while you sleep, so not getting enough quality sleep can cause premature aging and drying of the skin.
Skin plays a significant role in the health of our bodies, but having soft, healthy skin is also important for self-esteem. Many things can prevent your skin from feeling soft and smooth, including exposure to the elements, irritants and pollutants, lack of moisture, and poor overall health. While being diligent with your regimen definitely helps keep your skin’s smoothness from going south. Getting and keeping your skin soft involves proper diet, following healthy routines, taking care of your skin inside and out, and avoiding things that could irritate or dry out your skin.