Dry, itchy skin. It makes skin look older, and in extreme conditions like winter, dry skin can even result in painful cracking. Using lotions and body oils works for some people, but many people can’t use many of these products due to allergens and a sensitivity to certain skin irritants. For these people, using natural methods and products can moisturize their skin. Beyond products, there are foods you can eat–and supplements you can take–that help your skin retain moisture.
Take warm–not hot–showers, using a body wash that does not have sodium lauryl sulphate, which can dry skin and cause irritation. While your skin is still damp from the shower, apply a moisturizer that has vegetable oils–like olive, coconut or almond–and not mineral oil, which comes from petroleum.
Use a steam bath. If you don’t have a steam facial, put a pan of water on the stove–you can add lavender essential oil, which is an antiseptic–and bring the water to a boil. Take the pan off the stove. Drape a towel over your head and lean over the pan until the steam subsides.
Peel and mash papaya. Mix in 2 tbsp. of honey. Spread the fruit and honey mixture over your face and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse it off and wash your face with a mild hypoallergenic soap. Exederm makes cleansers and moisturizers that are free from allergens and irritants.
Add foods and supplements to your diet that promote healthy skin. Magnesium hydrates skin; foods rich in magnesium are meat, seafood, dairy, bananas and tofu. If you take a supplement, use no more than 400 to 800 mg each day. Vitamin A is used to fight wrinkles and can be found in fish oils, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, leafy green vegetables, peaches, apricots, papaya and mango. Vitamin C builds the collagen in your skin; take 50 to 60 mg each day. Vitamin E prevents free radicals and is found in grains, legumes and nuts.
Drink 8 ounces of fluids each day. Stay out of the sun, use sunscreen and wear a hat to protect skin from the drying effects of the sun.