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When it comes to dealing with dry skin, the advice you get can be all over the place. From people telling you to drink more water to hearing that you should only use natural or organic products, it can be difficult to wade through what you really should or shouldn’t be doing for your skin. We’ve got three of the biggest and most common dry skin myths listed below and why you shouldn’t listen to them.
Natural Products are Better for Dry Skin
This is a pretty loaded statement, and it’s a major gray area where skin of any type is concerned. While going natural sounds like a much better idea than using products full of chemicals, this isn’t always the case. “Consumers should not necessarily assume that an ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ product would possess greater inherent safety than another chemically identical version of the same ingredient,” says director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors, Dr. Linda M. Katz. “In fact, ‘natural’ ingredients may be harder to preserve against microbial contamination and growth than synthetic raw materials.” Essentially, because there is no real regulation about what constitutes natural or organic ingredients, companies can use this term for virtually any way they see fit, which means that these ‘natural’ ingredients could be just as, if not more, irritating than synthetically derived ingredients.
Exfoliation Causes Dry Skin
When you exfoliate properly with a gentle chemical exfoliant, the myth that exfoliation leads to dry patches and irritation is just a myth. However, if you overdo the exfoliation or use physical exfoliants with harsh abrasives, like apricot kernels or walnut shells, exfoliation can be aggravating to any skin type, including dry skin. If you don’t exfoliate your dry skin, dead skin cells accumulate on the top of your skin, and when combined with dry patches the look is often dull, rough skin. Using a gentle alpha- or beta-hydroxy acid exfoliant once or twice a week will very gently dissolve the bonds holding dead skin cells together, and slough this off to reveal healthier skin cells. Additionally, exfoliating helps your other skin care products, like moisturizers and serums, penetrate your skin more fully for maximum benefits.
Drinking Water = No More Dry Skin
If you have dry skin there is no doubt that you’ve been told to drink more water for more hydrated skin. Unfortunately, just gulping down won’t help solve your dry skin issues. The reason that dry skin can’t be magically solved by drinking more water is that a lack of moisture isn’t the only factor that contributes to dry skin and adding water whether internally or externally can’t resolve the problem alone. One of the reasons that dry skin occurs is that the moisture barrier of your skin has been damaged, and without this repaired, any moisture that you add to your skin won’t stay in. Eliminate factors associated with a damaged moisture barrier such as smoking, skipping sunscreen and irritating skin care ingredients like alcohol or fragrance. Use antioxidant-rich products to help keep your skin protected, and in turn, less dry. And just because drinking water won’t automatically hydrate your skin, your body does need adequate amounts of water to function properly, so keep drinking it.
Dry skin does require special care and attention, but you can treat it effectively when you know what advice to follow. Using high-quality ingredients, keeping dead skin cells together repairing your skin’s natural moisture barrier are important to keeping your dry skin well-hydrated and looking radiant.