Dry skin is an incredibly common skin condition, especially in these cold winter months.
It can be difficult to figure out why you’re experiencing dry skin and how you can restore its natural moisture.
Fortunately, there are natural dry skin treatments that can help with healing and save you from the uncomfortable side effects of dehydrated skin.
But what causes dry skin, and what are some steps you can take at home to remedy this issue?
Let’s dive into the details on how you can make sure your skin is properly hydrated.
What Is Dry Skin?
The medical term for dry skin is “xerosis”, and it has many causes as well as symptoms.
Dry skin is often a symptom of a larger diagnosis; however, in most cases it is due to environmental factors.
If you are suffering from dry skin you’re likely experiencing itchiness, flaky and/or cracking skin, or noticeably dry patches.
There are numerous causes and triggers that may be causing your skin dryness, or even leeching crucial moisture from your skin.
What Causes Dry Skin?
Humidity and temperature are major contributing factors in how well your skin retains its moisture.
This means that even though a hot shower may feel incredible, it may in fact be making your skin dry.
If you find yourself washing your hands with hand soap or using sanitizer often, your skin may be feeling the consequences.
Harsh soaps and over-washing tend to trigger dry skin.
Other times, there can be something separate from your direct environment that may be making your skin exceedingly dry.
Let’s look at some disorders commonly known to cause dry skin.
Disorders Associated With Dry Skin
Skin dryness can be difficult to treat because there are many varying potential causes, from simply taking too many steamy showers to a disorder or larger condition.
If you’re experiencing any of the below symptoms and believe you may have one of these conditions, please seek advice from your naturopathic doctor.
Some well-known disorders associated with skin dryness include:
One of the most well-known disorders associated with dry skin is eczema, which is characterized by its itchy and uncomfortable symptoms. Eczema is the most common reason why people experience dry itchy skin limited to the winter months
If you’re suffering from eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, you may be experiencing dry, itchy skin that often appears as an inflamed red rash.
Eczema can occur anywhere on your body and it often fluctuates in severity, so your symptoms may flare and subside over time.
Thankfully eczema is not contagious but it can lead to painful skin infections through scratching, which further irritates your skin.
Another relatively common condition that causes dry skin is psoriasis.
Since psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition, it cannot be cured and typically is resistant to common effective treatments used to battle dry skin. However, your symptoms can be managed by controlling environmental triggers.
The most common sign of psoriasis is large patches (or plaques) of thick, red, dry skin.
This is caused by the body producing large amounts of skin cells too rapidly.
Diabetes is known to cause immensely itchy, red, irritated skin.
This happens when your blood glucose levels are too high, resulting in your body losing fluids.
For this reason, you’re much more likely to have dry skin if you have diabetes.
Be sure to talk to your naturopathic doctor about ways to remedy the uncomfortable dry patches and rashes that often accompany diabetes.
Unlike its related condition hyperthyroidism, which is the overproduction of the thyroid hormone, hypothyroidism occurs when you have an underactive thyroid gland.
Dry, rough skin is a primary symptom of hypothyroidism, along with weight gain, depression and fatigue, hair loss, constipation, and memory loss.
If your body isn’t receiving the nutrition it needs to function at its best, you may find it has a negative impact on your skin.
Various vitamin or mineral deficiencies can cause dry skin.
Contact your naturopathic doctor to investigate if your skin may be suffering from a lack of proper nutrients in your diet.
5 Natural Treatments For Dry Skin
There are many things you can do at home to ensure your skin stays hydrated and healthy.
These remedies are accessible, affordable, and easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
Hydration is your number one tool in the battle against dry skin.
If your entire body is dehydrated, your skin will be too.
Keeping a water bottle on you at all times is a great way to remind yourself to stay hydrated.
You can also hydrate your skin from the outside by using a humidifier, which pumps moisture into the air.
A humidifier’s hydrating properties are even more important in the winter when your furnace is at full blast.
Gas and electric heat strip important moisture from the air, but using a humidifier can help offset the impact of your home heating system.
2. Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods
Bad things happen when your cells are exposed to free radicals, which are harmful molecules that can accumulate and cause damage (known as “oxidative stress”).
Oxidative stress affects every system of your body and increases your risk of various conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
That’s why antioxidants are crucial additions to your diet – they help rid your body of toxins and are proven to encourage your body’s natural healing mechanisms.
Your body produces antioxidants, but it’s important to supplement your diet with them as well.
Some antioxidant-rich foods include:
– Blueberries and other berries
– Leafy greens such as kale and spinach
– Beans, peas, and lentils
– Root vegetables such as beets and carrots
– Green tea
3. Eat Omega-3-Rich Foods
It’s recently been debunked that high-fat foods are inherently bad for you – it’s actually incredibly important for you to consume the right healthy fats.
Not only do you need certain fatty acids for your body to function properly but they also have some added benefits, especially for your skin.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a must-have in your diet, especially if your skin is dehydrated.
You can make sure your diet is rich in omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, or herring, two to three times per week.
Nuts and seeds are also a great source of these important fats.
Although the best way to ensure you’re consuming enough omega-3s is through your diet, there are also affordable and easily located supplements available.
4. Moisturize With Coconut Oil
Coconut oil isn’t just a delicious cooking oil.
It is also extremely beneficial for your skin as a gentle yet powerful moisturizer.
Coconut oil is an emollient, which means that it fills the empty spaces between skin cells.
This creates a smooth surface, making your skin extremely soft and hydrated.
You can use coconut oil as a daily moisturizer from head to toe, including the most sensitive parts of your body.
Be sure to do a patch test if you’re planning on applying coconut oil to your face – it is mildly comedogenic (meaning that it may cause acne based on you skin type)
5. Reduce Your Alcohol And Caffeine
Although they are technically liquids, alcohol and coffee will not hydrate and heal your skin like water does.
Both substances are diuretics, substances that increase urine production, therefore preventing your body from absorbing all of the hydration it needs from the liquid you drink.
Caffeine and alcohol both reduce production of a hormone called ADH, or anti-diuretic hormone, which results in dehydration.
If you’re consuming an alcoholic beverage (or a few), consider having some water in between each drink.
Same goes for coffee, tea, or any other caffeinated beverage.
Enjoy it with a tall glass of water, or just skip it entirely – your glowing skin will thank you.
Contact Annex Naturopathic
Dry skin, with its itchy redness and flaky patches, can be unsightly and uncomfortable, sometimes even painful.
It can appear anywhere from head to toe, and is often difficult to soothe.
Thankfully there are easy, natural steps you can take to tackle your skin issues.
If you’re struggling with dry skin and want to know more about natural treatment options, contact Annex Naturopathic.
We can tell you all about our natural dry skin treatments and help you find solutions that work for you and your body, healing your skin from the inside out.
You don’t have to suffer with the discomfort of dehydrated skin.
Contact Annex Naturopathic today for all your skin woes – we can help.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D
Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND