Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and also one of the most deceptively complex. Every day, people are led to believe that in order to keep their skin healthy, they need to rely on a steady stream of products to do so. However, this may not be the best choice in most cases.
If you suffer from dry skin, chances are that it’s the result of moisture loss. This loss of hydration can be caused by low humidity, skin damage, air pollutants, drinking too little water, chlorine exposure and excessive sun. It can also be caused by harmful bathing routines. Using hot water enables more water to evaporate from your skin after you get out of the shower. Furthermore, chemicals in soaps and shampoos can also result in water loss. If you make a habit of using a lotion, cream or moisturizer on a daily basis, you’re likely making things even worse.
The idea behind these products is to create a protective layer on the skin, effectively trapping moisture underneath. However, in normal, healthy skin, this is the natural function of sebum, the skin’s own protective oils. During times of epidermal stress, such as winter weather or after a sunburn, moisturizers can provide temporary hydration support. That said, using them habitually on otherwise normal skin can actually cause dryness. This occurs for two main reasons.
Your skin knows when it requires hydration, and under normal circumstances, it will produce sebum as needed. Unfortunately, chronic use of moisturizing products disrupts this process. When the skin senses that it is already being moisturized, it will simply stop performing its job of making and secreting sebum. In between applications of your moisturizer, or if you stop using it, the skin lacks critical protection and is extremely vulnerably to drying out. This often leads people to believe that they just have chronically dry skin and that they have no choice but to rely on skin products to remedy the issue. Many experts call this phenomenon “lotion dependency”.
When was the last time you thought about what your favorite moisturizer is made of? Perhaps you’ve read the label, but shrugged off all those unpronounceable ingredients as being necessary? What many people don’t realize is that the ingredients in most commercial products actually promote dry skin. Substances like alcohols, acids, preservatives, fragrances and dyes can act like solvents, which strip oils from your skin. To make matters worse, glycerin, which is supposed to help your skin, is only effective when humidity levels are above 70 percent. If you live in a dry or cold climate, or if you spend most of your time indoors, it’s unlikely that the ambient humidity ever becomes that high.
If you have normal skin, it’s recommended to avoid lotions and creams unless you absolutely have to. Even then, it’s important to search for a product that contains no harsh chemicals and is natural in origin. It’s always best to let your skin perform its natural functions if they are already working properly, or you run the risk of creating problems.