Dealing with itchy, red, or flaky skin
The Fundamental Principles of Skin Care
Dry skin’s manifestation easily goes unnoticed until it is suddenly too visible to be ignored. Redness, irritated cracks, flaking, dead skin near the fingertips, and aggravated itching are signs of skin that is parched—and has been for some time. When things have gone from normal to bad, bad to worse, how should you adapt your existing routine? Since everyone is unique, a default plan might not be right for you. Our advice aims to give you the tools to tweak your own product line-up to best suit you.
Here are our fundamental principles to achieving soft skin.
Investigate what’s inside your products. The function of most moisturizers is to feed and then trap moisture in the skin. Yet, the products themselves may not differentiate between summer and winter usage or call out filler ingredients. So look closely at the product’s claims, rather than select based on brand or appearance. Things that smell very nice can have irritants lurking within. Lotions, creams, and balms are in fact, quite different. Lotions are formulated with mostly water, creams tend to be high in water, oils, glycerin and other beneficial ingredients that bind moisture to the skin. Balms are wax-based and powerfully limit the amount of moisture that evaporates from the body, in most cases. Signs of great products for all skin types include: plant-based, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, baby-safe, suitably for the elderly, and gentle for sensitive skin types.
No matter what’s inside a product, how it is priced, and what it claims to do, returning to soft, supple skin from a state of extreme dryness requires time and repetition. This is because covering up itchy, red, or flaky skin with a one-time application of moisturiser isn’t enough. Skin requires time to heal, restore its balance, and regulate its sebum production to keep hydration within the cells. In our experience, this process takes regular application of a high-grade product, at least 3 times a day, for at least 7 days before you’ll start to see the results.
If something isn’t working, stop and start anew. Many drugstore hand creams and facial care products are responsible for less than ideal results. They may contain irritating fragrances (both manufactured and natural, including essential oils) that dry you out. Or, they may contain cleansing agents that are too harsh, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, which strips the oils on your skin faster than you can say ’moisturizer.’ Does a highly recommended product from a friend seem to cause you itching? Toss it. Don’t hold on to something because of beautiful packaging or a high cost if it’s not delivering the results you need. Pay attention to the expiry date on labels and forego using old products—they can become toxic or have highly irritating effects.
Ultimately, you and your skin are subject to the conditions around you. In cold, dry winters, activating a mister or humidifer alongside your heating helps maintain humidity in the air, reducing trans-epidermal moisture loss. Moving from an indoor space to an outdoor space without gloves might set your skin into a cold, irritated state that worsens throughout the day. Washing your hands while using cleaning chemicals or during meal preparation could leave your hands rough and uncomfortable. Your laundry detergent and the starchy feeling of freshly laundered fabrics could be an irritating factor. Happy skin comes as a result of paying attention. This includes daily habits, diet and exercise, pivotal moments of the day, environmental triggers and seasonal changes. In the winter, the consequences of too much sun can be sunburn, heatstroke, and dehydration. Cold weather leads to low circulation, dryness, and stiff muscles. Get to know these details in order to identify what should change. Will a daily self-massage with a body oil in December help with both dry skin and aching joints? Go for it!
Are you surprised by this principle? Don’t be! Having soft skin often feels like a luxury, perhaps only made possible by a luxurious spa or a glorious week of vacation sleep. Life and its varied pressures will shove the necessity of body care to the bottom of a long to-do list. But if you want to reduce or eliminate the appearance of fine lines, flaky skin, whitish cracks, itching and other irritations, accept the perceived indulgence of putting on cream. Use those finer, gentler soaps that feel good, instead of the cheaper variety that dries you out. Take a few extra minutes out of your day to consider slathering on more cream. Use an extra moment in the bathroom to examine your body for signs of dryness. In time, this “indulgence” will become necessity, and the state of your skin won’t be a problem to solve, but a good thing to maintain.
Not sure where to start with your routine?
Our sets have it figured out for you. They contain the essential components of a healthy skincare habit from cleansing to moisturizing. Best of all, we’ve got sets for people with skin conditions (including eczema and psoriasis), sensitive skin, dry skin, and are made with 100% vegan ingredients. And they’re made without silicones, mineral oil, palm oil, petrochemicals, parabens, polyethylene, sulfates, GMOs, DEA/TEA, phthalates, drying alcohol, synthetic dyes or fragrances, gluten, or animal byproducts.