Our skin is extremely complicated and requires careful maintenance to keep it healthy. Most skin issues are typically minor and can be resolved with adjustments to your lifestyle. Others are more serious and could cause long-term complications for your complexion and skin health. Several extremely common skin conditions, albeit not inherently dangerous, require attention. Odds are, you have already had to use a skincare product to take care of the skin that is commonly exposed to the elements (hands, face, etc.).
The skin regularly exposed to the elements is more likely to suffer damage due to environmental factors like wind, ultraviolet radiation, and heat. This can generate a common issue where the skin becomes dry and cracks.
Dry and cracking skin is an increasingly common issue that almost everyone experiences at some point in their lives. The good news is that dry skin can generally be fixed and will only cause complications in extreme cases. Unfortunately, some people are predisposed to developing dry skin and chronic recurrences. While this might seem like a minor issue, it can be detrimental to your skin health if you do not resolve it.
Countless moisturizers and skincare products are designed to handle dry or cracking skin, but some prefer to avoid expensive or harsh pharmaceuticals. As a result, many people try to employ home remedies to address their dry skin. The question is: which home remedies help?
What Causes Dry Skin?
Dry skin is a common issue since people tend to inadvertently dry it out with general hygiene even when they do not mean to. Dry skin is technically called xerosis or xeroderma and can affect anyone of any age since the skin is surprisingly fragile. Most people do not realize that there are several causes of dry skin and that they might be causing their own skin troubles through seemingly mundane activities.
The main causes of dry skin include:
- Temperature: Exposure to high temperatures or buildings with high-powered heating could cause the oil in the skin to dry out. A similar issue applies to cold or windy environments, which can strip the sebum from our skin and dry it out.
- Soaps: We are taught to use soap to wash our hands and bodies with warm water, but many commercial soaps have fairly harsh chemicals. These chemicals can strip the sebum from our skin and cause our skin to dry despite having just washed them.
- Age: As we age, the nutrients in our skin begin deteriorating, and the sebum that keeps it hydrated fades. Loss of sebum with age is almost unavoidable, with very few people retaining a high concentration of sebum in their advanced age.
There are other potential causes of dry skin that are equally as common and seemingly benign. Nevertheless, knowing what causes your dry skin is only the first step. Knowing what resources exist to fix it is just as important.
#1: Coconut Oil
Oils are an important part of our biology and physiology, with our bodies possessing a natural ability to produce special oil for the skin called sebum. That said, other oils can be found in produce and animal matter capable of providing a similar moisturizing effect. While it might sound odd, the humble coconut is one of the best options for oil and has been used for decades in cosmetic care. Coconut oil is completely natural, and research has confirmed that it can help combat dry skin. Specifically, a study was conducted in 2014 involving 34 patients with moderate xerosis (a skin condition that causes dryness).
The subjects were divided into 2 groups:
- Group A: Group A was given coconut oil and instructed to apply it to their legs twice daily for 2 weeks.
- Group B: Group B was given mineral oil and instructed to apply it to their legs twice daily for 2 weeks.
When the study concluded, it was determined that coconut oil was equally safe and effective in reducing the symptoms of xerosis as mineral oil. Considering mineral oil is one of the main options used to rehydrate and moisturize the skin, coconut oil performing on the same level opens the doors for alternatives. Coconut oil is so effective at treating dry skin because it contains fatty acids with emollient properties. Emollients are special fats and acids that function identically to commercial moisturizers without added ingredients. Coconut oil (like all emollients) fills in the gaps of dry skin and smoothens it, reducing cracking and restoring the soft complexion most people desire.
#2: Aloe vera
If you have never used Aloe vera before, you have likely never endured the agony of a fresh sunburn in summer. Almost everyone has had a sunburn at one point or another, though some have managed to avoid it. Nevertheless, Aloe vera has been the go-to option for soothing the inflammation and irritation caused by sunburns for years. Like coconut oil, Aloe vera is a natural substance that is harvested from the plant of the same name.
While it is best known for treating sunburns, Aloe vera is actually one of the most versatile skincare products in the world. One of its main effects on our skin is that it relieves dry skin since the gel in an Aloe vera plant is similar to water. In 2003, a study confirmed Aloe vera's ability to relieve the irritation from dry skin and restore moisture to our complexion.
The study involved factory line workers experiencing superficial skin trauma on multiple occasions. The workers attributed their skin troubles to occupational exposure, which means the work they were doing was stripping moisture from their skin and causing it to dry out. The subjects were given a glove lined with Aloe vera that they wore on a single hand for 8 hours a day, while the other hand was left without any treatment. When the study was over, it was discovered that the Aloe vera glove generated a uniform improvement in skin integrity. This has earned Aloe vera a place in modern skincare and turned it into a popular treatment for dry skin.
Honey is a common sight in virtually every kitchen in the country, with people using it to sweeten and flavor baked goods and beverages. Honey remains one of the most popular ingredients in human society, even though we must coax it from beehives. Most people view honey as a food item and seldom consider the benefits it might possess outside the kitchen. While this is understandable, it has deprived countless people of honey's health and skincare benefits.
One of the lesser-known uses of honey is as a tool to restore dry skin to its original state. While no product is perfect, honey has earned a reputation as a skincare tool that rivals most pharmaceutical-grade products. The claims surrounding honey were so numerous that researchers began investigating to see if there was any validity behind them. In 2012, a review was conducted to assess the results of these studies, and a promising trend was discovered.
Multiple studies evaluated in the review determined that honey has nutrients and qualities that make it viable for combatting dry skin. When applied to the skin, it was discovered that honey was able to:
- Moisturize dry skin.
- Heal damaged skin.
- Reduce inflammation of the skin.
While these qualities are present in several commercial skincare products, the fact that they are present in honey means anyone with a stocked kitchen can access these effects without having to seek out a new product. Unlike other options, honey carries the same nutrients and benefits regardless of the brand you purchase. Honey's benefits are somewhat limited, but it can be an excellent substitute for commercial products that accomplish the same basic function.
#4: Sunflower Seed Oil
While coconut oil is one of the most commonly used alternatives to natural sebum, other natural oils can fill a similar role. Coconuts get a lot of credit because of their nutrients and the natural emollients they produce. One of the last places anyone expects to find skincare oil is in a flower that people use to decorate their homes. Yet, the humble sunflower appears to have surprised many people by producing seeds packed with several beneficial compounds.
While the sunflower is best known for its appearance and place in the history of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings, it is one of the more peculiar examples of agriculture. The flower's petals and stems are not used for much, but the seeds that grow within the flower have a multitude of nutrients and are commonly harvested as snacks. More discerning companies have learned to refine sunflower seeds into oil, which has become a lesser-known but highly effective compound.
Sunflower seed oil has several uses and has grown in popularity with people who prefer to use natural compounds to enhance their health and appearance. One of the main uses of sunflower seed oil is as a skincare tool. In 2013, a study discovered that sunflower seed oil was extremely effective at hydrating the skin. Specifically, it compared sunflower seed oil to olive oil to determine the better choice. Interestingly, it was determined that olive oil damaged the skin barrier and compromised the skin's health rather than hydrating it.
Meanwhile, the sunflower seed oil restored moisture to the skin, albeit not quite on par with other substances discussed here. Nevertheless, sunflower seed oil has earned a place in the skincare world as a natural resource for skin moisturization.
#5: Mineral Oil
Mineral oil is one of the most commonly used products in the world, with thousands of people using it for various health and cosmetic purposes. While mineral oil has a history with these fields, not everyone understands what it brings. Insofar as skincare is concerned, mineral oil is known by another name: "petroleum jelly." Like all the substances on this list, petroleum jelly and generic mineral oil are both common sights in the average household.
You likely have a bottle in your house right now, though you might not find cause to use it very often. Regardless, mineral oil has become an important resource for many of the population. In the skincare industry, mineral oil is used to enhance the quality and health of the skin and can be used to counteract dry or cracked skin effectively.
In 2017, a study determined that elderly patients who employed mineral oil for their skin experienced significant improvement in their skin quality. Specifically, the skin barrier saw significant improvement, and the mineral oil helped revitalize their skin quality despite dryness caused by aging. This cemented mineral oil's place in holistic skincare routines.
Knowing that mineral oil can be so beneficial for your skin will hopefully give you the knowledge you need to use these substances properly and address your dry skin.
Keep it All Natural!
Using holistic methods to care for your skin might not be something you hear from a dermatologist, but that does not diminish the value of certain tools. Natural compounds can synergize with our natural functions and protect us from damage. The substances on this list are some of the most effective for restoring moisture in the skin, but many of them can be hard to acquire.
The challenge is that some vendors are unreliable when maintaining supply or adulterating their products with preservatives and chemicals to enhance the shelf life. Fortunately, some vendors can provide natural products without dragging them down.
We at Bella All Natural have always maintained that the best things in life come from nature. That includes the tools we use to enhance our health and appearance, which is why we have created a catalog of products that use natural ingredients. Skincare is one of our top priorities, and we have products like our Coconut Coffee Scrub or Aloe Vera Gelly to revitalize the moisture in your skin. We encourage you to visit our website and try our products, but whatever you decide, always remember to keep it All Natural!
Have you ever tried either our Coconut Coffee Scrub or Aloe Vera Gelly? If so, what did you think? We'd love to hear all your thoughts, so be sure to leave those in the comments section down below!