DIY Skin Care
According to the Environmental Working Group, almost 90 percent of commercial skin care and cosmetics--which are not considered drugs--have not been evaluated for safety by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If you're concerned about the effects commercial skin care products can have on your skin, try natural alternatives. In addition to topical applications, a skin care regimen can combine a total inside-out plan for healthy skin.
Exfoliate your skin with a mild abrasive. A loofah, dry brush or natural abrasive like oatmeal make effective skin cleansers. Gently rub skin with a loofah or brush, or use a damp cloth with moistened, raw oatmeal flakes to help remove dead skin cells. Removing dead skin cells allows the skin to better perform its job of removing toxins through the pores.
Moisturize your skin to help protect the epidermis and trap water in your skin. Dry skin is the result of a number of conditions, including dehydration, hash soaps, cold or dry air, wind, over bathing with hot water and sunburn, all of which deprive the skin of lipids or oils needed to keep skin soft. After a shower or bath, towel off until you are damp, but not completely dry. Applying moisturizers to damp skin helps absorption. Use moisturizers that include lipids or oils like petroleum jelly, any vegetable oil or fat-dense creams which contain added lanolin, cocoa butter or coconut oil.
Take shorter baths and showers, using warm water. Hot water robs the skin of the lipids it needs to keep skin soft. During baths, add finely ground oatmeal to your bath water to help wash skin, instead of harsher commercial soaps.
Eat foods high in vitamin E, which contains antioxidants that help protect skin cells from external irritants, such as UV rays, as well as internal agents, like free radicals. Vitamin E also helps regulate vitamin A, which helps replenish oils and alleviates dry-skin symptoms. Foods high in vitamin E include avocados, tomatoes, peanut butter, turnip greens, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts and hazelnuts.
Eat foods high in vitamin A, such as liver, carrots, spinach, milk and sweet potatoes.
Drink plenty of water to keep skin hydrated. Many of the problems that cause dry skin relate to lack of water in the skin, either from external factors, such as weather, or lack of hydration. The myth of drinking eight glasses of water per day stems from a misunderstanding of the fact that many foods we eat contain much of the water recommended for our daily intake. A glass of water morning, noon and night should be all you need to keep your body--and skin--properly hydrated.
Use a humidifier in your office and home. Dry air, whether it's outdoors or in, rob the skin of moisture.
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