Dry skin can be a real pain if left unaddressed; it is itchy and uncomfortable and can lead to serious skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Generally speaking, dry skin is primarily caused by a lack of moisture in the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of the skin. The sebaceous glands in the skin produce sebum, an oily substance that helps to keep the skin hydrated. When these glands don’t produce enough sebum, the skin can become dry and cracked. Common causes of irregular sebum production include:
- Hormonal changes (think puberty or menopause)
- Medications that can affect hormone production (e.g., birth control pills)
- Poor diet
- Genetic or hereditary skin disorders
Sebum production aside, there are a number of other factors that can contribute to dry skin, including weather conditions, harsh soaps or detergents, and rare medical conditions like ichthyosis.
People with dry skin often find their condition improves with moisturizing products like lotions and creams. However, it’s worth noting that synthetic emollients have gained some notoriety in recent years for the common side effects they cause, including burning or stinging sensations, redness, or even lasting irritation. In this post, we go over four science-backed and natural solutions for restoring beautifully moist and vibrant skin.
Use of cannabis topicals
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural anti-inflammatory cannabinoid — meaning a primary active compound in cannabis — that can help to soothe the skin and stimulate skin cell regeneration. A 2019 study from Hungary’s University of Debrecen suggests that CBD plays a major role in easing common symptoms of skin disorders like itchiness and dryness via its interactions with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in the regulation of a range of essential physiological functions. By reducing inflammation, CBD can also keep potential triggers of conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema in check.
Is it legal, and will it get you high?
Unlike its famous cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t cause couchlock, diminished motor function, or any of the other effects associated with the so-called “high” from cannabis consumption. In fact, most CBD products are sourced entirely from hemp, a fully legal variety of cannabis containing negligible concentrations of THC. CBD is also available in user-friendly formats, including legal cannabis gummies, tinctures, and topical products like infused creams or balms.
Deep moisturizing with avocado
Avocados are not only delicious; they provide a host of natural benefits for your skin as well. The flesh of the avocado fruit is chock full of nutrients that help hydrate and revitalize dry, rough skin.
Specifically, avocados are a good source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which restore moisture to the skin. They are also rich in vitamins A, C, D, and E, which provide antioxidant protection and stimulate cellular turnover. If you aren’t impressed yet, avocado oil contains essential minerals and nutrients like potassium and lecithin known to heal, moisturize and protect the skin beyond the surface.
To use avocado to moisturize your skin, mash the fruit’s flesh, apply it to your skin, leave it on for 20 minutes, and rinse it with warm water.
Oats are a natural emollient that helps soften and smooth. Additionally, they are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, helping soothe dry, inflamed, and irritated skin. When combined with warm water, an oatmeal bath can provide the skin with deep hydration and relief from conditions associated with persistent dryness.
If you decide to purchase oatmeal for a DIY soak, look for products labeled “colloidal oatmeal” or “finely milled oatmeal.” Avoid products labeled “quick oats” or “steel cut oats,” as these will not dissolve as well in water and may leave your skin feeling itchy or tingly instead.
Braving the cold months with aloe vera
Far from just a remedy for sunburns, aloe vera is beneficial as a means of keeping skin moist and healthy through the wintertime. A succulent plant native to North Africa, aloe vera has been used for centuries to treat various skin conditions, including burns, scars, and even wounds, due to its incredible abundance of nourishing vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes. But aloe vera is also the go-to for dry skin as it acts as a humectant, increasing moisture retention and ultimately providing long-lasting hydration. Besides, the gel forms a barrier that helps to lock in moisture so it doesn’t evaporate into the atmosphere. Lastly, aloe vera contains compounds called anthraquinones that have soothing anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce redness, swelling, and irritation associated with dry skin.
The aloe vera plant contains a gel-like substance that can be extracted and applied directly to the skin without any processing whatsoever, making it arguably the most naturally practical choice to relieve dry skin.