Is your skin dry and flaky? It’s okay if you answered yes to that question. Many people struggle with dry and flaky skin. When our skin loses water too quickly and gets dehydrated, it becomes dry and flaky. My goal here is to help you get to know your skin a little better because, deep down, we all want our skin to be silky, soft, and smooth, and it can be. Let me show you how to do that as I unlock the secret benefits of moisturizing your skin.
Getting to Know Your SkinYour skin is your largest organ. It is composed of three layers: the epidermis (outer layer), the dermis (middle layer), and the subcutaneous fatty layer. These layers work together to be your skin’s protective barrier. The epidermis (outer layer) is your body’s first line of defense. Your skin acts as a barrier protecting you against dehydration, toxins, pollution, and UV rays, to name a few. It also regulates water loss by helping your skin retain moisture to keep you hydrated.
Sometimes, your skin barrier is damaged by outside irritants.
Some of those include:
- Hot or cold weather
- Allergens and pollutants
- Lack of sleep
- Aging (hormonal changes for some women)
When these outside irritants damage your skin, your skin has difficulty doing its job, especially keeping your skin hydrated. Some irritants, like weather and aging, play a more significant role in dehydrating your skin.
Weather plays a significant role in the hydration of our skin. If you live in the Midwest, where there are seasonal changes to the weather, you are all too familiar with how the cold winter months can dry out your skin. The colder temperatures and lack of humidity can prevent our skin from retaining moisture and lead to dry and flaky skin.
Hot weather can also dry out your skin for those who don’t experience winter months. Hot weather usually means more sweat, which means increased water loss from the body. When you are dehydrated, so is your skin, which leads to dry, irritated skin.
Not only does the temperature outside play a role in causing dry and flaky skin, but so does the temperature inside, especially in colder temperatures. We crank up the heat and stay inside more. This forced air can lower the humidity levels and dry out our skin.
Weather plays a significant role in your skin's hydration, but a lesser-known cause also can wreak havoc on your skin. And that is aging. As we age, dry skin tends to be more noticeable. Adults over the age of 40 have an increased risk of noticing dry and flaky skin. Why is this? As we age, our skin produces less oil and gets drier. For women, aging has a double whammy effect, causing dry and flaky skin. With women, hormonal changes as they age can also play a role.
Check out this article from the Mayo Clinic that discusses these and some other surprising causes of dry skin.
Keeping Your Skin Barrier in Tip Top Shape
Even with the best intentions, those outside irritants can find a way to dry out your skin. Sometimes, when that happens, your skin barrier can have some damage. Most notably, when your skin barrier is damaged, your skin becomes dry, flaky, and sometimes itchy. Your skin can lose elasticity and show signs of premature aging, like fine lines and wrinkles.
As I said earlier, your skin is your largest organ. Sometimes, it needs a little help to do its job of keeping your skin fully hydrated. Therefore, we should lessen or avoid this damage by keeping our skin barrier in tip-top shape. The secret to doing that is unlocking the secret benefits of moisturizing. Moisturizing helps your skin hold water in so your skin barrier stays hydrated.
The Secret Benefits of Moisturizing
The secret benefits of moisturizing your skin revolve around three key elements: hydration, protection, and prevention. How so?
- Hydration - Along with your skin being the largest organ in your body, it also has a unique makeup, including fatty acids, which help the outermost layer of your skin, the epidermis, stay hydrated. When these fatty acids are affected, your skin can become dry and flaky. Replenishing lost moisture in your skin through moisturizing helps your skin lock in hydration.
- Protection - The benefits of moisturizing hydrate the skin and keep your skin barrier in tip-top shape. This way, your skin barrier can do its job and act as a protective barrier to block out those external irritants we discussed above.
- Prevention - Perhaps you aren’t affected by dry or flaky skin; if you are, it’s not much of a nuisance. Regardless, you can still reap the benefits of moisturizing in prevention. Routinely moisturizing can help prevent and reduce the risk of skin issues like dry, flaky, and often itchy skin. A habit of moisturizing that sticks with you as you age and can help with negating the dry and flaky skin that comes with that and diminish any premature aging.
Choosing Your Moisturizer
Plenty of products on the market are touted as the next great thing to moisturize your skin. There are creams, lotions, and body butters. How do you know which one to pick or which is the best to unlock the secret benefits of moisturizing?
Out of all the products, body butter holds all the key elements to moisturize your skin. It's the reason I decided to make body butter versus body lotion. The benefits of body butter are directly related to the butters and oils they are composed of. These butters and oils are the key to their thick and creamy texture and how they moisturize your skin.
Body butter helps your skin form a protective layer and locks in your natural moisture to stay hydrated. I go more in-depth on this and the other many benefits of body butter in my blog Unlocking the Benefits of Body Butter.
How Best to Moisturize
Now that we’ve uncovered the secret benefits of moisturizing your skin, let's discuss how to best incorporate moisturizing your skin.
The optimal time to unlock the benefits of moisturizing your skin using body butter is after your shower. Be sure to pat your skin dry, not rubbed dry. After, simply scoop a small amount of body butter into your hands and massage it into your skin. Be sure to pay extra attention to dry or rough areas like elbows, knees, and feet. Repeat daily.
After getting to know your skin and its role in preventing dry and flaky skin, it’s easy to see why incorporating moisturizing into your skincare routine is a no-brainer. The benefits of moisturizing help your skin stay hydrated, protect against outside irritants and prevent further and premature damage. Over time, you’ll notice the difference regular moisturizing makes in keeping your skin silky, soft, and smooth. You can say goodbye to dry and flaky skin.
Disclaimer: The information shared in this blog is not meant to be medical advice or a substitute for it. If you feel you have a severe skin condition or excessively dry skin, please speak with your doctor or a dermatologist.