How to Moisturize Extremely Dry Skin
Winter doesn't just bring cold, gray weather -- it also brings dry skin. Healthy skin is protected by a layer of natural oils that keep it moist, but a number of things can strip that oil away and leave skin rough, red and flaky. Although weather is the biggest culprit, dry skin often comes about as a result of a number of factors, and many of them are within your control.
Replace harsh soaps with gentle "non-soap" skin cleansers that contain extra oils or fats. The mildest soaps are those that don't create a big lather, as the lather tends to strip skin of its oils. Also, consider using soap only on your hands, face, feet, underarms and groin--you can just rinse the rest of your body with water.
Take short showers and avoid taking baths. Prolonged exposure to hot water dries skin further by stripping it of essential oils.
Moisturize your skin using thick, perfume-free creams. Baby oil also works. A quick test to see if a moisturizer is thick enough: put some in the palm of your hand and turn your hand over. If the cream drips, it's not thick enough. Apply oil or moisturizer immediately after washing or showering, while the skin is still damp but not dripping.
Wear sunscreen of at least SPF 15. Even if it's wintertime, UV rays can be strong, and sunburns dry your skin further.
Use cosmetics that contain moisturizers, such as aloe vera. A study published in 2006 in the journal "Skin Research and Technology" found that cosmetics containing aloe vera extracts help keep the top layer of skin intact. Creamy eye-makeup and blushers--as opposed to powder--may also help keep skin moist.
Use a humidifier at home. Doing so will dampen the air and help moisturize your skin.
Wear clothes made of natural fibers, such as cotton or silk, which do not irritate and inflame skin as some artificial fibers do. Avoid wool, which can scratch dry skin.
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