1. Skip long, steamy showers and opt for shorter, cooler sprays. Long, hot showers strip skin of its moisture and wash away protective oils. Try to limit yourself to 10 minutes and keep the water cool.
2. Check the dryness of your skin by scratching a small area on your arm or leg with your fingernail. If it leaves a white mark, your skin is indeed dry and needs both moisture and exfoliation.
3. Treat your neck and chest like an extension of your face. Your neck and upper chest area is covered by very sensitive skin, making it a prime spot for telltale signs of aging, such as dryness, sun spots, and wrinkles. To keep this area youthful, use facial cleansing creams that hydrate and cleanse gently and top it all off with a good facial moisturizing cream. If this area is extra dry, use a facial moisturizing mask twice a month.
4. Run a humidifier every night to moisturize the air in your bedroom. Not only will it ease itchy, dry skin, but you’ll also be able to breathe the moist air more easily.
5. Keep your beauty products clean and simple, particularly if you have sensitive skin. Stay away from products with color, fragrance, or that produce bubbles or have “antibacterial” on the label. These can all irritate skin.
6. For soft, young-looking hands and feet, slather on moisturizing cream. Then slip on thin fabric socks and gloves while you sleep.
7. Use a loofah daily to keep ingrown hairs and scaly skin under control. While in the shower, gently scrub bumpy or scaly skin with a circular motion to remove dead cells. For extra-smooth skin, sprinkle a few drops of an alpha-hydroxy product on the loofah before scrubbing.
8. Use unscented baby powder to keep areas where skin meets skin—like the inner thighs, underarms, beneath breasts—clean and dry. This is important to prevent a common skin condition called intertrigo, which occurs when these “skin folds” remain overly moist, fostering the growth of bacteria or fungi.
9. If you’re gearing up for a day in the sun, steer clear of scented lotions and perfumes. Scented products can lead to blotchy skin when exposed to the sun.
10. Smooth aloe vera gel over extra-dry skin. The acids in aloe eat away dead skin cells and speed up the healing process. Cut off an end of an aloe leaf, split open, and spread the gel on the dry area.
11. Plunk your rough, dry elbows into grapefruit halves. First exfoliate your elbows in the shower, then cut a grapefruit in half and rest one elbow on each half, letting them soak for 15 minutes. The acid in the grapefruit provides extra smoothing power.
12. Go for a run, ride your bike, work out in the garden on a hot day—anything that gets you sweating. Sweating is nature’s way of eliminating toxic chemicals that can build up under skin. Plus, regular exercise maintains healthy circulation and blood flow throughout your body, including your skin. If you’re exercising outdoors, though, remember to wear a sunscreen on your face that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
13. Switch moisturizers every time the seasons change. Your skin needs more moisture in the winter than in the summer. So the same day you bring those sweaters down from the attic for the winter, buy a heavier moisturizer. When you trade in the sweaters for shorts, switch to a lighter one.
14. Avoid these three skin destroyers: Smoking, tanning salons, and sunbathing. All three will age your skin prematurely.
15. For double skin protection, apply a cream containing vitamin C to your face over your sunblock. The cream helps prevent facial skin damage, dehydration, and wrinkles. Also try skin creams containing vitamin E or beta-carotene.
16. Use a spritzer with rose, sandalwood, or bergamot essential oils mixed with water. These oils are great for hydrating the skin. To create a herbal spritzer, mix a few drops of essential oil with water in a small spray bottle, and spritz on your face whenever your skin needs a little boost. Your skin is more pliable when it’s hydrated, so a spray helps stave off frown lines and general movement wrinkles. The hydrator also keeps pollutants out and keeps your skin’s natural lubricants in. An added bonus: Your makeup will stay on longer and look more natural.
17. Clean your face and neck with a natural cold cream and follow with a rosewater and glycerin rinse twice a day to remove skin-damaging pollutants.
18. Keep your hands off your face! Because your hands touch so many surfaces, they are a magnet for dirt and germs. Rub your eyes, stroke your chin, cup your cheek and you’ve transferred everything on your hands to your face.
19. Stop with one glass of wine or one alcoholic drink. Overdoing it enlarges the blood vessels near the surface of your facial skin.
20. Never rub your eyes—apply compresses instead. The skin on your face is extremely delicate, especially under your eyes. So use a very light touch on your face at all times. If your eyes itch, apply a cold compress or washcloth to the area, or try a cotton pad moistened with toner or witch hazel.
Adapted from Stealth Health (Reader’s Digest Canada)