There is no reason why dry skin is dry for everyone. In fact, skin can be a product of genetics or your environment. We’ll talk about ways to incorporate new changes to your lifestyle and natural skincare routine that can help manage your dry or mature skin.
A quick reminder – though we’ve grouped similar types of skin together to help suggest products and lifestyles that typically work well, your skin is uniquely yours. Experiment, test, and try out different tips to find those that are best suited to you!
Identifying dry or mature skin type
Dry skin can often be a product of our environment – for example, in dryer, cooler climates or seasons, skin is likely to lose its natural moisture more quickly. You may even find you have dry skin in the winter and oily skin in the summer – this is totally normal, and luckily, you’re able to manage your changing skin with natural products no matter the season.
If your skin feels dehydrated after cleansing, or if you press a piece of toilet paper to your skin for a few seconds and it comes away dry, this probably means you have dry skin. Dry skin is often missing natural oils that protect it from dehydration, which is why people with this type are often looking to add these oils back in with natural products.
Because the mature skin of people that are over forty often exhibit the same characteristics as dry skin, we’ve grouped these types together. As you age, the skin’s sebum production slows down, which leads to increased dryness. This often causes fine lines, flakiness, and wrinkles. Women with mature skin may also be going through menopause, which includes hormonal changes that can be harsh on the skin. Mature skin can also be thinner than younger skin, meaning that it’s more sensitive to weather conditions and sun damage.
Top lifestyle tips for managing dry and mature skin
Keep away from extreme temperatures
Though lounging in a hot bath sounds luxurious, people with dry and mature skin should limit their bathing to 5 or 10 minutes, with lukewarm water. Why? Frequent and long baths strip away the skin’s natural moisture, and hot water removes essential oils that your dry skin desperately needs.
Invest in a humidifier
The use of humidifiers, especially in the winter months, can help with controlling the effects of dry and mature skin. According to Riley Greene, M.D., of the Denver Skin Clinic,
“Using forced-air heating in your house can decrease the humidity level to 10 percent.The skin needs humidity levels of at least 30 to 40 percent to stay healthy.”
Humidifiers help release this much-needed moisture into the air in your home, and can be found at a variety of price points.
Skincare basics for dry or mature skin
Shield your skin from the sun
Harmful UVA and UVB rays from sun exposure are a bane to any skin type, but especially to people who have dry or mature skin. Not only does it cause hyperpigmentation and even cancer, but it can further dry out skin and remove essential oils from its surface.
A high-SPF sunscreen is a no-brainer, but try to find one that also includes emollients to moisturize your skin while protecting it. Throwing on a cute hat to shield your face from the rays is never a bad idea either.
Cleanse skin no more than once a day
For most people, this would be in the evening so you can rinse off makeup or any other residue from the day. In the morning, it’s fine to simply rinse your skin with water followed immediately with a moisturizer.
Use an oil or cream based cleanser
Dry skin needs all the moisture it can get, it’s best to use an oil or cream based cleanser. In chemistry class, you probably learned “like dissolves like.” This means, oil cleansers can actually dissolve oil-based products from the skin without having to rely as much on surfactants which can be too harsh for dry skin.
Load up the skin with nourishing oils, butters, and extracts rich in vitamins and antioxidants
Unlike other skin types, dry and mature skin does great with rich oils and butters that slowly penetrate the skin like coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil and cocoa butter. In addition to being moisturizing, avocado oil, contains vitamins A, B1, B2 and D and it is rich in lecithin that can help with restore elasticity and promotes cell regeneration.
Additionally, Vitamin C levels are linked to collagen production and it is also known that Vitamins A and E both play roles in the maintenance of skin health and a youthful appearance.
Exfoliate with acids like Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)
Once a week, it’s recommended to lightly exfoliate dry or mature skin with an Alpha Hydroxy Acid, commonly referred to as AHAs. There are plenty of natural sources of AHAs and BHAs available including yogurt, papaya, tomatoes, and strawberries.
If you are more advanced in you DIY beauty routine, it’s possible to buy naturally-derived lactic acid, glycolic acid and sodium lactate or extracts like papaya and strawberry extract and add those directly into your products.
Drinking water can only do so much
Interestingly, drinking water — although important for overall health — does not seem to impact the hydration levels of the skin. It’s important to always stay hydrated but to combat dry skin, it’s important to work from the outside. According to University of Arkansas Medical School dermatologist Dr. Donna Pellowski,
“A normally hydrated person probably won’t see a difference in their skin after consuming an increased volume of water. Excessive water intake can lead to other health problems and is not recommended nor is effective for dry skin.”
The best natural products for dry and mature skin types
Not surprisingly, dry skin needs moisturizing products to help restore natural oils to the surface. As I’ve said in other posts, there are three pillars of moisturizers that should be included in every routine, especially for this skin type – humectants, emollients, and occlusives.
Castor Oil and other Cleansing oils are your friends
The first step of any beauty regime should start with a great cleanser. These oils are all excellent choices to rinse away makeup, sebum, and any dirt or residue from the day. For more information on oil-based cleansing, read about our easy Jojoba Makeup Remover.
The best oils for cleansing:
- Castor oil (best choice for dry or mature skin)
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
- Jojoba oil
Glycerin, aloe vera liquid, sodium PCA, and sodium lactate draw water to the skin
People with dry or mature skin should always use a good humectant, a type of botanical that helps draw moisture from the air in a process called a hydroscopic effect. Though we all have some humectants inside our skin naturally, people with dry skin may have less than others, and need additional help with natural products to help draw in more moisture. According to dermatologist Kenneth Howe, MD, it isn’t just a lack of moisture that’s the problem for someone with dry skin:
“The reason dry skin is dry is that it lacks humectants, the proteins in the skin that bind water.”
Luckily, there are several naturally occurring products that help restore this moisture through their hydroscopic properties. One of the most popular is glycerin, a clear, odor-free product that works by pairing with phospholipase D. This process causes young skin cells to swim to the surface and ultimately secrete lipids to protect the top layers from damage and drying.
Another of our favorites is aloe vera liquid, which can be purchased in a variety of forms – organic or non-organic, liquid, concentrate, or juice. Aloe penetrates quickly and deeply, drawing moisture into the lowest levels of the skin.
Oils high in oleic acids like olive, coconut, avocado, sweet almond, and argan oils
An emollient is the second compound that’s crucial to moisturized skin, especially for older people with more mature skin types. Emollients fill in cracks and flakes in the skin, achieving a smoother look. We have an entire post on the best plant-based emollients, but a few of the best ones for dry skin are plant oils high in oleic acid.
These include almond, olive, and avocado oil, and work by penetrating the layers of skin, replenishing lost nutrients, and sealing in moisture. These oils make a great night cream.
Lock water into the skin with cocoa butter
Every moisturizing routine must include an occlusive component. Occlusives work by forming a seal on the outermost layers of the skin, preventing moisture loss. There are tons of nature-occurring occlusives, from beeswax to cocoa butter. They can often feel heavy or greasy on the skin if used in excess, so always be sure to go easy on this ingredient and pair with lighter, more touchable compounds for a balanced moisturizer.
Frankincense, Helichrysum, and Calendula soothe dry skin and reduce the appearance of Wrinkles
Essential oils and extracts can be added to most skincare products to amplify the healing properties of the oils and butters listed above. For example, Helichrysum (also known as Immortelle or Everlasting) is revered for its regenerative and protective benefits is a strong anti-inflammatory and wonderful in products for mature skin. Calendula extract has been used for generations to calm and soothe dry skin. Similarly, frankincense has been used since ancient Egypt as an anti-aging ingredient. When adding essential oils to your DIY facial skincare products, essential oils should be diluted to less than 1% of the total of your product.
“Level Up” DIY Skincare Tips for Dry or Mature Skin
- Turn up the humidifier. The best way to treat dry skin is from the outside.
- Keep extra hot water away from your skin. Stay away from hot baths and wash your face with lukewarm water.
- Clean with oil or cream cleansers. Considering washing with castor oil instead of cleansers that strip away too many oils.
- Exfoliate with AHAs and BHAs. like those found in yogurt, papaya, tomatoes, and strawberries.
- Load up with fatty acids and vitamins by using products like plant oils and butters.
- Add essential oils and extracts like frankincense, helichrysum, and calendula to your skin creams to calm dry skin.