Drink Plenty of Water to Keep Your Skin Supple

Drink plenty of ware to keep your skin supple
Credit: de:Benutzer:Alex Anlicker; Creative Commons; Wikimedia Commons

Good Skin Care Requires Good Health Habits Every Day

Your skin is the largest single organ of your body.  It provides protection,  the sensation of touch, insulation and temperature regulation.[1346] Taking good care of your skin daily protects all these functions and allows your skin to look its best.

Eating a balanced, nutritious diet is as important to the vitality of your skin as it is to the health of the rest of your body. You also need to drink plenty of water every day.  Moisture from within is every bit as important to the proper maintenance of your skin's integrity and suppleness as anything you may apply to the skin itself.

The American Academy of Dermatology[1360] explains that drinking adequate water is important to overall health, but drinking large amounts of water does not improve the condition of dry skin.

Avoid over-exposure to the sun or the use of tanning beds or lamps.  Sunburns cause damage to the skin that is irreversible; skin damage from UVA rays accumulates over your lifetime and can contribute to the development of wrinkles and leathery skin, not to mention skin cancer.

Dry Skin on Hand

Dry Skin on Hand
Credit: Ser Amantio di Nicolao; Creative Commons; Wikimedia Commons

Take Extra Precautions in the Winter

The cold air outside and the dry air inside during the winter months combine to rob your skin of its moisture. The cold air tends to hold less moisture than the warm summer air;  heating sources, no matter the type, provide warmth but no humidity. Add winter winds to the mixture and you have a triple threat for dry skin and/or chapped lips.

One method to combat dry air at home is with the use of a humidifier. These small appliances add moisture to the air. Another way to get more moisture in the air at home is to place a non-flammable container of water on top of hot water radiators or simmer a pot of water on the stove.

Apply sunscreen to face and hands 30 minutes before going outdoors. UVA rays are just as damaging to your skin in the winter as in the warmer months. Reapply every two hours if you are going to be outdoors for long periods of time.

Minimize the amount of exposed skin when going outdoors, particularly when it's windy. Cover hands with gloves or mittens and cover mouth with scarf.

Apply lip balm regularly to lips and avoid licking them. Moistening your lips with saliva promotes chapped lips.

Consider switching to an oil-based cream or ointment during the winter for everyday skin care. Oil-based products help your skin to keep its natural moisture.

Apply lotion, cream or ointment right after bath or shower. Pat skin dry so some of the moisture remains; your skin care product will help your skin to absorb the extra moisture.

Avoid extremes of temperatures.  Opt for warm baths or showers and keep your time in the water to a minimum.

Avoid using products on your skin that contain alcohol;  alcohol dries the skin.

Diagram of Skin Layers

Diagram of skin layers
Credit: MadHero88; Creative Commons; Wikimedia Commons

Additional Dry Skin Prevention Tips

Limit showers and baths to no more than 5 to 10 minutes each and bathe no more than once a day.

If your facial skin begins to become dry, wash it only once a day, at bedtime. In the morning, rinse your face with cool water.

Shave after bath or shower when hairs are softest.  Change razor blades often because dull blades aggravate dry skin.

Consult a health care provider if you experience dry skin that cracks, bleeds or has itching you are unable to control with over-the-counter skin care products.