Healthy skin is soft, smooth, and supple. When we’re younger, we see this as a birthright, but as we age, our skin seems to betray us, losing its plump elasticity. Rather than give in to the aging process, we can pamper our body’s largest organ to keep it looking lush and lovely.
THE SKIN WE’RE IN
We all learned at an early age that our body is comprised of nearly 60% water. Without moisture, fine lines appear, wrinkles deepen, and skin loses its luster. We need water to look and feel beautiful, so our body tries to retain it by creating sebum.
Sebum, a fatty extraction of our sebaceous glands, coats the skin with a waterproof barrier that both traps water in and keeps water out. At the same time, sebum protects the skin against bacterial and fungal infections. Sebaceous glands are present over the majority of our body, and are most prevalent on the back, forehead, and chin. In fact, the only place they don’t exist is on the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet, so it shouldn’t surprise us that it’s our hands and feet that most often become dry.
As we age, our production of sebum decreases as the activity of our sebaceous glands lessens. This, combined with the abuse from environmental and lifestyle factors, makes full-body skincare an essential part of our daily maintenance ritual.
Too Much of a Good Thing
While sebum is the hero of our dry skin story, excess sebum can clog pores and hair follicles, causing acne and trapping dirt and bacteria.
Now that we know what’s happening below the surface, it’s vital to recognize environments and behaviors that contribute to dehydration and premature aging of our skin.
➤ DRY, DESERT CLIMATES Drink plenty of water and moisturize the skin regularly.
➤ FORCED HOT AIR IN COLD CLIMATES Add a humidifier during the winter months and use moisturizing soaps and lotions.
➤ DEHYDRATION You don’t have to feel thirsty to be dehydrated. Each of us needs to drink approximately our body weight in ounces every day. Example: 120 pounds=120 ounces or 7.5 cups of water. If you exercise or live in a dry climate, you’ll need even more.
➤ HARSH SOAPS Choose natural soaps that contain glycerin, oatmeal, or goat’s milk. Avoid anti-bacterial soaps, which can be harsh, and any products containing isopropyl alcohol, sodium chloride, or salicylic acid.
➤ LIFESTYLE Athletes, restaurant workers, bartenders, gardeners, and a host of other people participate in occupations and hobbies that are more likely to contribute to dry skin. The repetitive exposure to water overwhelms the body’s sebum production.
➤ MEDICATION Check with your doctor to learn if any of your prescriptions list dry skin as a side effect
Click here to see some of the FEMME ROUGE FAVS for Dry SKIN Remedies (including a quick DIY Solution!)