Growing up in the harsh dry heat of Western Australia, I thought dry, itchy skin was pretty normal – then I moved to Queensland and while it took me a good few years to get used to the hot and humid summers, my skin loved it straight away. That sticky humidity sapped my energy but once I adjusted to it and learned how to pace myself, I realised that the warm moist air was fantastic at hydrating my skin and I came to love the long sultry Queensland summers.
The crisp dry winter air is beautiful but it takes me back to dry, itchy skin and I find myself frantically changing up my regime and doubling up on moisturiser and oils.
Coconut Tree was born as a result of my own skin trials and tribulations. I tried so many different products to keep my skin and hair hydrated and happy. Everything from simple products like sorbolene, paw paw balm and Vitamin E cream, raw ingredients like olive oil through to high end beauty brands, naturals and organics found their way into my bathroom. Some worked …for a while. Some made it worse and gave me a reaction and some just disappeared into my skin and left it as dry as ever.
When I started using simple organic coconut oil, my skin felt like it had had a long drink of water and was finally quenched. It also gave me long lasting hydration and felt nourished all day. Finally, I had found something so simple and natural… that actually worked.
Of course, my cure isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach; there are many possible causes for dry skin, so first, it’s important to figure out what’s causing your issues. Sometimes it’s simply genetics.
It’s important to know that there’s actually a difference between “dry” versus “dehydrated” skin. The two might sound similar, but they actually have different symptoms and require totally different treatments.
What is dehydrated skin?
To put it simply, if your skin is dehydrated, it lacks water. Basically your skin needs a big long drink of water. It’s important to know that dehydrated skin isn’t necessarily a skin type but a skin condition, that can happen to anyone and is especially common condition in winter when we tend to drink less water and more coffee and tea. Other common skin dehydrators are alcohol, heating, air-conditioning, environmental factors such as wind and sun and sometimes hormones are to blame.
People with oily or combination skin can still experience dehydration. Dehydrated skin may look dull, lack radiance, and those with dehydrated skin may experience darker under-eye circles and a tired appearance.
What is dry skin?
Dry skin is more of a skin type (ie genetic) rather than a skin condition. If you have truly dry skin, your skin lacks oil and lipid content and has fewer oil glands. It will struggle to maintain moisture levels presenting as dry, tight, itchy and uncomfortable.
Dry skin includes flaking or scaling of skin, roughness, and often itchiness. In fact, dry skin is one of the most common causes of itchy skin which can lead to more irritations and rash – and in some severe cases may lead to eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis. Less severe, but still annoying symptoms include fine lines or cracks, redness, and scaling or peeling.
How should you treat dry skin?
Oils are the perfect solution for dry skin. They’re anhydrous – meaning they carry no water), and they penetrate and moisturize the skin. It’s also useful to use products that form a protective but breathable seal over the skin to lock in moisture.
In a nutshell
Dehydrated skin lacks water, while dry skin lacks oil. If you’re experiencing typical winter skin dryness, choose products that are hydrating rather than just moisturising. That said, locking in moisture and preventing fine lines and signs of ageing is key so that’s where oils and other occlusive come in.
So the next time you note how “dry” your skin is in the winter, you might want to take a closer look at your skin type and symptoms—your skin might just be, shall we say, thirsty. References: Mind Body Green
Top tips for hydrated winter skin
Dry weather, air-conditioning, heaters, fires, steamy showers and hot baths through to conventional soap and harsh skincare products can aggravate skin (not to mention hand sanitisers), and something as simple as drinking more water can treat it. Maybe it sounds simple, but anytime I overdo the coffee, alcohol, aircon, my dry skin flares up. So how do we treat dry, itchy skin naturally and for good?
Here are some ways that have truly changed my skin for the best …
Though you may be tempted to lather your body with lotion when dealing with dry skin, your best — and more natural — option is oil. Most conventional moisturizers contain humectants to lock in moisture, but they can also work in reverse and pull much-needed hydration out of your skin. Oil, on the other hand, will sink into your skin and stay there.
Organic coconut, almond, jojoba, olive, rosehip, macadamia and hemp are my favorites and are excellent for your whole body as well as your face. They’re skin-firming oils that help to fight wrinkles and acne and help to create a supple and healthy complexion.
2. Fish oil and marine collagen
Fish oil and marine collagen are two very effective products to moisturise skin from the inside out. On their own, they work well, but when you combine them, they can lead to a near-perfect complexion.
High in omegas, fish oil will help your cells get and maintain their health, lead to supple cell membranes (which equals plump, hydrated skin), and keep moisture locked in to your skin. And since marine collagen is a fibrous protein extracted from the skin of a fish, when you add marine collagen to the mix it’ll help slow down the effects of aging and reverse environmental damage.
3. Hydrating masks
Using these is a great, easy way to combat dry skin, especially if you’re going the DIY route and can control the ingredients. If you want to purchase a mask, look for ingredients like honey, sea kelp, oil, or berries, as they’re all natural ways to treat the condition. It’s easy to make your own too.
If you do nothing else for your skin, at least make sure you’re drinking plenty of filtered water. Almost 60 percent of our bodies are made of water, so it’s crucial to the health of not only our skin, but to every single cell we’re made up of. First and foremost, water helps to flush toxins from your body, so any nasties hiding inside that might be contributing to your dry skin are likely to get washed out with enough hydration. Water is also your skin’s best friend, so drink up!
5. Skin care products.
Get some skincare advice from a qualified therapist so that you are using a skin care regime that’s specific to your skin type and condition.
Regular gentle face and body exfoliation is important to polish away dead skin cells so that moisturisers and serums can absorb fully and restore hydration.
Using the correct soap/wash and cleanser is essential to winning your dry skin battle. Many soaps can be dehydrating because they’re conventionally designed to be industrial and contain sodium and alcohol, which is disruptive to skin. Repeated use of this kind of soap will dry the skin out since sodium interferes with the body’s natural protective layer that keeps moisture in. Look for moisturizing soap in which the first or second ingredient is a natural oil or butter, and that contains essential oils.
If you’re doing all these things and still experiencing dry skin, you might want to try reducing or eliminating these to see a difference:
It may be time to reduce your coffee intake…energy drinks also contain caffeine so replace those with lemon water or herbal teas. Coffee is a diuretic, meaning it depletes the amount of water your body gets, needs, and holds on to.
Reducing amount and frequency or eliminating alcohol altogether will make a massive difference to your skin condition. If you must drink, try drinking an alcohol that’s organic or comes from a plant (like organic wine or gluten-free beer) instead of hard alcohol. Your skin will thank you.