Whether you’re dealing with a few rough patches here and there or allover roughness, dry skin is a signal that something is out of balance—and it’s important to pay attention: “For some people, a little parched and flaky texture isn’t a huge deal, but for others it can be hugely disruptive,” says Medford, Oregon-based dermatologist Laurel Geraghty, MD. Think: itch and irritation. Getting it in check, however, isn’t just about getting comfortable. Our largest organ, when we care for our skin health, we care for our whole health. Here’s what you need to know to nourish yourself from head to toe.
What Causes Dry Skin?
There are a number of factors that can contribute to dryness. A big one? Genetics. “Some of us are just born with naturally dry skin,” says Geraghty. Environment plays a role too. Ever feel like the transition from summer to fall sucks the life out of your skin? “Many people notice that their skin becomes dry, flaky, and potentially rashy and itchy when the temperatures drop,” says Geraghty. This is because when temperatures go down, humidity does too; less moisture in the air means less moisture in skin. Lastly, dryness can simply happen with time. “Our skin loses its ability to maintain hydration as we age,” says Geraghty, “so many of us notice increased crepiness and fragility.”
How to Get Rid of Dry Skin
Restoring hydration comes down to one thing—our habits. “How we care for our skin can have a major impact on our level of dryness,” says Geraghty. While we may not be able to control the weather outside, we can somewhat control our environment inside. Sleeping with a humidifier switched on, especially during the dry and cold winter months, for example, makes your home’s ambient air much more hospitable to supple, soft skin. As does gentle cleansing. “Harsh soap, hot water, and long baths and showers strip skin’s natural moisture barrier,” says Geraghty, impairing its ability to hold onto hydration.
Another common saboteur? Over-exfoliation. “Harsh scrubs made with crushed up pits or seeds can cause tiny scratches and injuries to the skin,” says Geraghty. That said, gentle exfoliation can actually reduce dryness by helping to “slough off the outer layer of skin, called the stratum corneum,” says Geragthy. The key is to take it easy: “Once every week or even every month is plenty for most people. I find that even the most sensitive skin types can keep their skin soft, smooth, and glowy using a clean, warm, wet washcloth and a mild cleanser to make gentle circles over the skin to buff it.”
Best Body Lotion for Dry Skin
There is something that’s essential when it comes to getting more moisturized skin—moisturizer. Geraghty suggests the soak and smear technique. “Out of the shower, pat skin dry and l apply a rich, soothing moisturizer liberally to areas of dry skin. This can help to seal in moisture all day.” Geraghty notes that lotions with natural ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and sweet almond can be particularly nourishing for dry skin. All contain omega fatty acids, lipids that mimic the skin’s natural supply an reinforce the barrier. There’s one plant ingredient, however, that's a supernatural source of omegas: quinoa oil. Infused into all Nativa SPA Moisturizing Lotions, quinoa oil contains 30x more omegas than coconut oil, 4x more than avocado oil, and 2x more than almond oil. As a result, it packs more moisture in every pump—for healthier, happier skin no matter the season or skin type.