A balance of oil and moisture is crucial for healthy, attractive skin. Moisture is he water present inside the skin cells, and comes to the cells through the blood- stream. It is the water in the skin cells that keeps them plumped- up, healthy and youthful- looking. Oil and moisture works together; there must be enough moisture in the skin cells, but there must also be enough oil to act as a shield, preventing excessive evaporation of moisture from the skin’s top layers.
There are actually two types of dry skin: simple dry skin and complex dry skin. Simple dry skin result from a lack o natural oils. The reasons for this lack of oil vary. This condition most often affects women under the age of 35. Complex dry skin lacks both oil and moisture, and is characterized by fine lines, brown spots, and sagging skin.
Dry skin tends to be dull- looking, even scaly and laky, and readily develops wrinkles and fine lines. It usually feels “tight” and uncomfortable after washing unless some type of moisturizer or skin cream is applied. Chapping and cracking are sings of extremely dry, dehydrated skin.
Dry skin is most common on areas of the body that are exposed to the elements, such as the face and hands, but it can be a whole- body problem as well, especially in winter. It is probably primarily genetic condition, but it may be caused by a poor diet and by environmental factors such as exposure to sun, wind, cold, chemicals or deficiencies, especially deficiencies of vitamin A and B , can also contribute to dry skin.
- Eat a balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, and nuts. Eat protein from vegetable sources. Increase your intake of raw foods.
- Eat foods high in sulfur, which helps to keep the skin smooth and youthful. Good sources include garlic, onions, eggs, and asparagus. Sulfur is also present in the amino acid L-cysteine, which can be purchased in pill form.
- Consume plenty of yellow and orange vegetables. These are high in beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A.
- Drink at least 2 quarts of quality water every day to keep the skin well hydrated.
- Avoid fried foods, animal fats, and heat-processed vegetable oils such as those sold in supermarkets. Use cold-pressed oils only. Beware of any oils that have been subjected to heat, whether in processing or cooking. Heating oils leads to the production of free radicals, which have a destructive effect on the skin. Do take supplemental essential fatty acids (see under Nutrients, above). This may be the best supplement available for dry skin, but be patient, it may take a month or more to see results.
- Do not drink soft drinks or eat sugar, chocolate, potato chips, or other junk foods.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine. These substances have a diuretic effect, causing the body including the skin cells to lose fluids and essential minerals.
- Do not smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke. Smoking has a harmful effect on the skin for several reasons. First, nicotine constricts the blood vessels, including the tiny capillaries that serve the skin. This deprives the skin of the oxygen and nutrients it needs for good health. Second, smoking involves the frequent repetition of certain facial postures, which eventually become etched in the skin in the form of wrinkles. The characteristic “smoker’s face” has wrinkles radiating in a circle outward from the mouth. Smoking also can make the skin dry and leathery.
- Do not use harsh soaps, cold cream, or cleansing creams on your skin. Cleansing creams are made from hydrogenated oils, which can cause free radical damage to the skin, resulting in dryness and wrinkles. Instead, use pure olive, avocado, or almond oil to cleanse the skin. Pat the oil on, then wash it off with warm water and a soft cloth.
- Twice weekly, use a loofah sponge for the face and warm water to boost circulation and remove dead skin cells. Avoid using the loofah around your eyes, however.
- Always moisturize your skin after cleansing, and at other times throughout the day, if necessary, to keep it from drying out. Use a liquid moisturizer or facial oil that contains nutrients and other natural and other natural ingredients. Do not use solid, waxy moisturizing creams. Wrinkle treatment oil and vitamin A moisturizing gel form Derma-E products are both good for dry age lines caused by the sun and the skin’s natural aging. The wrinkle treatment oil is also good for cleansing the skin. The moisturizing gel is non-oily and fast-absorbing.
- Look for skin care products that contain humectants. Humectants are substances that attract water to the skin to hold in moisture. Natural humectants include vegetable glycerine, vitamin E, and panthenol, a form of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5).
- Use a humidifier (or even a pan of water placed near a radiator) to humidify your environment, especially in winter. This helps to reduce the amount of moisture lost form the skin through evaporation.
- Once a week, use a facial mask to clarify the skin and remove dull, dry surface skin cells. (this can be done immediately after the facial sauna described under Herbs in this section.) Blend together well 1 teaspoon green clay powder (available in helath food stores) and 1 teaspoon raw honey. Apply the mixture to your face, avoiding the eye area. Leave it on for fifteen minutes, then rinse well with lukewarm water. While your skin is still slightly damp, apply a natural skin oil or liquid moisturizer.
- If your skin is chapped or cracked, increase your consumption of water and essential fatty acids. Keep any chapped areas well lubricated and protected from the elements.
- For cracked, dry skin on the fingers, use calendula cream or oil with comfrey, vitamin E oil, and aloe vera. Apply the mixture to hands at bedtime, then wear plastic gloves overnight. Pure vitamin E oil can be found in health food stores.
- As much as possible, stay out of the sun. sun is responsible for most of the damage done to the skin. It causes dryness, wrinkles, and even rashes and blisters. Always apply a good sunscreen to all exposed areas of skin if your must be in the sun.
To care for combination skin, simply treat the dry areas as dry skin and the oily areas as oily skin.