How to Prevent Dry Skin – A Guide to Soft, Moisturized Skin

Shannon Smyth
Dry skin is a common issue many people face, especially during the colder winter months. It's never too early in the warmer months to begin taking care of your skin to prep for winter skin care woes in order to avoid them.

Dry, flaky skin can be uncomfortable and itchy. The good news is dry skin is preventable and treatable with the right skin care routine. Follow this guide to learn tips for keeping your skin hydrated, moisturized and soft all year long.

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Discover the Benefits of Hydrosols: From Gentle Skin Care to Aromatherapy

Shannon Smyth
A hydrosol, also known as a floral water or distillate, is a byproduct of the steam distillation process used to extract essential oils from plants. Unlike essential oils, which are highly concentrated and potent, hydrosols are much milder and can be used directly on the skin without dilution.

Hydrosols are created when steam is passed through plant material, causing the essential oils to vaporize and become suspended in the steam. The steam is then cooled, causing the essential oils and water to separate. The water, now infused with the essential oils and other water-soluble plant compounds, is collected and referred to as a hydrosol.

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Moisturized Skin Helps Provide Protection Against Pathogens

Courtney Smith BSN
Repeat hand washing resulting in dry skin? We bring the science as to why moisturized skin helps to provide protection from pathogens.

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What is Crepey Skin and How to Fix It

Shannon Smyth2 comments

If you have landed on this article, chances are you are 40+, like myself. This is when we begin to notice crepe skin and worry about what can be done about it. As a sun worshipper in my youth, now in my late forties, I am paying with dark spots and crepey skin.

What is Crepey Skin?

Crepe skin is the thin, loose, wrinkled skin that we tend to find on our hands, arms, legs, face, and neck as we age. Different from the deep-set kind of wrinkles we find on our face, the wrinkles found in crepe skin tend to cover larger parts of our body and give the appearance of thin, fragile skin.

What Causes Crepey Skin?

Just as dark spots begin to emerge in our 40s due to sun damage, crepe skin is more prominent in our 40s and beyond due to sun damage as well. It's why you mainly see this skin thinning on the areas of our bodies that have had the most sun exposure. Skin that was unprotected from UVA rays - the "aging" part of sun exposure - will see more of a breakdown of collagen and elastin.

Collagen is what makes your skin look full and youthful, and elastin is what makes your skin look firm and lifted. Over time as you lose that collagen and the elastin breaks down, your skin begins to look sullen and sag. While sun damage is most often the cause, there are other reasons as well, such as rapid weight loss, long-term use of tanning beds, and medications.

Can You Reverse Crepe Skin?

As with most issues with the skin, short of plastic surgery and in-office cosmetic treatments, there are temporary things we can do to reduce the appearance of crepe skin. We cannot permanently turn back time, although today is as good a day as any to make sure you are always protecting skin exposed to the sun with sunscreen to prevent other areas of your skin from becoming crepey.

Hydration plays a major role in re-plumping the wrinkles of crepe skin and it is one way to see an immediate difference in the appearance of your skin. This is a no-brainer when it comes to our face, but we often forget the rest of our body until we begin to itch, scratch, and see flaky skin.

A good example of this was when my mom, who is in her 70s, was at my house one day and complaining about the look of her skin on her arms. Crepey skin covered the top part of her bicep and forearm. I handed her A Girl's Gotta Spa! Energizing Citrus Body Lotion, which is incredibly hydrating with whipped cocoa and shea butter, and olive oil. Her face immediately lit up as she applied it and it seemed to erase the look of her crepey skin. (We also have an unscented body lotion and lavender body lotion.)

It's not magic or a cure, but because our body lotion is deeply hydrating, it helped to plump her wrinkled skin, giving it a smoother look. Hydration will not reverse sagging skin, but it can help to make it look a bit more firm.

In the drier months, depending on where you live (desert year-round, living in the higher elevations, or fall/winter for other regions), you need to take extra care, as skin will be naturally more depleted of moisture than usual exacerbating the look of crepey skin.

Additionally, as we age and enter that "mature skin" category, our skin naturally loses oils due to hormones, leaving it drier than our youth. I highly recommend applying body lotion twice per day (during your morning and evening beauty routine to make it easier) for it to be most effective.

In summary, sunscreen and lotion are our biggest assets for treating crepe skin, as well as preventing it in the future. 

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How to Prevent Dry, Chapped Skin

Shannon Smyth

Cold weather is known to be harsh to our skin. If there is any truth to the combination of things to make the "perfect storm," the colder months seem to know how to brew that recipe perfectly.

Freezing temps, gusty winds, and dry air can do damage to our skin in an instant. All that hard work that you've done throughout the warmer months can easily go right out the window once colder weather hits.

The good news? There are things you can be proactive with in order to help prevent dry, chapped skin.

How to Prevent Dry, Chapped Skin

Shea Butter

Any type of lotion with the word "butter" in its name has to be good, right? Shea butter has some amazing benefits, such as restoring skin's elasticity and being a fnatastic emollient. Not only does it help to moisturize already dry skin, but it can also be used to help create a nice barrier for your already chapped skin (in case you are reading this after the fact!)

Many people tend to use shea butter at night and lather up the areas of their body that need a bit of extra care. This is mainly because shea butter alone tends to be greasy. But any A Girl's Gotta Spa! reader knows, our body lotion with shea butter (and cocoa butter) is non-greasy and can be used day or night without worry.

Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is known as a healthy fat since the main component of it is coconut oil. Since it's high in fat, it can help to create a barrier for your skin, much like shea butter, that can keep it feeling baby smooth all winter long.

One cocoa butter tip? If the heels of your feet are dry and cracking, exfoliate them first (we make a great body scrub) and then apply lotion. Sloughing off the dead skin preps the affected area to better absorb the nourishing ingredients from the lotion.

After just a few times of doing this, your heels will be totally transformed! While there may be many cocoa butter lotions available to help bring back the moisture and glow to your skin, don't forget that there are things that you can also do in your everyday life that can also help to prevent your skin from becoming dry and chapped as well.

What Can You Do In Your Daily Life To Help Keep Your Skin Moisturized?

Believe it or not, there are some things within your control to keeping your skin happy and healthy! Take a step back and implement some of these suggestions on how you can treat your skin and your body better during the harsh, colder months.
  • Turn down the temperature when taking a shower.
Taking a super hot shower may "feel" nice, but it can also do quite a number on your skin as it'll deplete moisture. Turn down the temp to luke warm and limit the time you spend in the shower as well - even cutting back by 5 minutes will help. You may find that this simple tip can really help to keep your skin's natural moisture barrier remain intact.
  • Try to limit lotions and body washes that have a million "fillers."

When reading the label on your lotion, do you need a PhD and magnifying glass to read the extensive list of ingredients? Keep it simple and look for a lotion and body wash with ingredients you understand. Always look at those first two lines of ingredients - that's what your product contains the most of.

I hope these tips will help you with your dry skin woes this season! 

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Liquid Skin Salve for Dry Skin Relief

Shannon Smyth
Liquid skin salve for hands from Sutton Family Skin Care via @agirlsgottaspa If creams and lotions haven't worked on your dry skin, but you're not a fan of oils, then this review of Sutton Family Skin Care's liquid skin salve is something you'll want to read. I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to not only try something new to me (liquid skin salve), but that it also comes from a skin care brand that is local to me here in Northeast PA. (I am all about supporting small, local business!) Sutton Family Skin Care was developed by a bio-organic chemist in search of creating a product that would actually relieve dry, cracked, painful skin often associated with those who have diabetes or are in the healthcare field (from repeat handwashing.) Her first customer? Her husband, Dr. Charles Sutton. (and it's safe to say he loved it!) Sutton Family Skin Care has two products - a liquid skin salve for hands and one for feet. I wasn't really sure to expect (would it be watery? messy? greasy?), but I was pleasantly surprised. Liquid salve for dry, cracked feet from Sutton Family Skin Care. Review via @agirlsgottaspa To start, the Liquid Skin Salve for Hands comes in a 4oz bottle (and travel size) that easily fits into your hands (or as least my small hands - it wasn't too big or too small.) It does have a fragrance to it, which is very clean yet smells floral. Here is how they describe it on their website: Fresh watery notes mingle with hints of lily, sea salt and an ocean accord. It's not overwhelming and what amazed me more is that the scent lasted a good 6-8 hours. Even though it began to fade throughout the the day, if I put my hands near my face, I could still smell the aroma. It's really pretty, yet unisex. The sprayer is very direct and doesn't overspray beyond where you are aiming. So it is not messy at all. Something I've found when I use hair treatments that I spray on, is that the mist usually gets all over my bathroom floor making it slippery. Even though this is a fine mist, it only came into contact with my hands and feet and no where else. A definite plus. It's not greasy. While it does have some slickness to it at first, and takes a bit longer than most moisturizers I've used to absorb, once it is in your skin you are left with very soft hands. Another bonus is that I can spray this directly on my cuticles and around my nails where my skin gets super dry and then rub it in. It seems to do better than most lotions and creams. The Liquid Skin Salve for Feet is along the same lines in terms of hydration, not being messy or greasy. It also comes in 4oz (and travel size as well.) I LOVE the cooling sensation of peppermint and eucalyptus that's in it (and it smells sooooo good.) Typically when I apply lotion to my feet in the bathroom, I leave lotion foot marks on the tile. I liked that this was not the case with this product. With each salve, you simply spray a few times and then massage in the liquid. Super easy and super quick. Sutton Family Skin Care is cruelty free, vegan, sulfate and paraben free. Give them a look and see if they'll work for you! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

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Dry Skin Solutions for Women Over 40

Shannon Smyth12 comments

Sponsored by AmLactin Skin Care

Sponsored by AmLactin: Review of AmLactin Skin Care products for those with dry skin via @agirlsgottaspa

  We all know that getting older comes with pros and cons. Older and wiser (that's a definite), knowing who you are and what you want... and then all those lovely skin issues. Dark spots, wrinkles, and other fun skin ailments like eczema, psoriasis, and Keratosis Pilaris are exacerbated by dry skin. So what are those of us with aging skin to do? According to data from a 2015 national online survey of over one thousand U.S. women over the age of 18: Nearly two-thirds of U.S. women report that the older they get, the more difficult it is to keep their skin moisturized. (Yes, this is me.) U.S. women feel an average of six years older when their skin is dry and dull. (Ugh, me again.) 56% of women report being just as concerned about the signs of aging from the neck down as they are about the signs of aging on the face. (Truth.) Can you also relate to those statistics? I recently tried out AmLactin Skin Care's line of products that have been trusted by dermatologists for over 20 years. With its unique combination of exfoliating alpha-hydroxy acids and hydrating humectants, AmLactin moisturizers smooth away roughness to reveal smooth, healthy-looking skin. In this video I discuss AmLactin Ultra Hydrating Body Cream for my Keratosis Pilaris (a skin issue that I'm often embarrassed by), AmLactin Foot Cream, Moisturizing Body Lotion and my absolute fave, Cerapeutic Restoring Body Lotion. AmLactin products are non-greasy, fragrance free and work as an exfoliating + hydrating lotion. Sponsored by AmLactin: Dry skin care solutions via @agirlsgottaspa Would you like to try AmLactin Skin Care for FREE? Follow these steps to enter my Soft Skin Giveaway:
  1. Visit AmLactin’s website and look at each product.
  2. In the comments section below, tell me how your skin has changed over the years AND provide a link to the AmLactin product you’d most like to try by August 24, 2016 at 11:59pm EST.
On August 25th, I will randomly pick one commenter to receive $100 worth of AmLactin products! WINNER: Stephanie Liske *Giveaway is open to United States residents only. Product and shipping provided by AmLactin Skin Care. No cash or product substitutes. AmLactin and A Girl's Gotta Spa! have the right to cancel this giveaway at any time. Void where prohibited. Check out AmLactin's social channels: Facebook Twitter YouTube Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Uncover smooth, radiant skin with AmLactin Alpha-Hydroxy Skin Care. Its unique exfoliating and hydrating alpha-hydroxy therapy gently removes dead skin cells to reveal soft, hydrated skin. It’s the difference between skin care and skin therapy. AmLactin moisturizers are available on and at your local Target, CVS, Walgreens, Costco, Walmart and Rite Aid. This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of AmLactin Skin Care. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Say Goodbye to Dry Skin This Winter with #Vaseline® Intensive Care™ Deep Moisture Jelly Cream

Sarah Prussia
lotion-severely-dry-skin Although I absolutely love this time of the year with the brightly colored leaves and crisp fall air, I dread it at the same time. It seems all of my time is spent trying to prep all the livestock for the winter, insulating the house, cooking and freezing all my produce from the garden and splitting wood, lots of wood. When the temperature drops, it’s not just the wood that gets split, my hands do too. My daily routine consists of: Feed the animals, wash my hands. Wash out the poultry feed containers, feed poultry, wash my hands. Come inside to make breakfast, wash dishes. Start meal prep for the day, wash produce, wash dishes. Wash my hands, make lunch, wash dishes. Split and stack wood, wash my hands. Daily chores, wash my hands, make dinner, wash dishes. Take a shower, go to bed, repeat! Do you notice a pattern yet? vaseline-jelly-cream Before I even get to lunch time, the dermatitis on my hands (which seems to be concentrated in-between my fingers) is flared up and burning. With the winter time coming, our wood stove will be going and our house is going to be super dry, which means more components to play a part in my severely dry skin. After trying so many different remedies, I took the opportunity to give Vaseline Intensive Care Deep Moisture Jelly Cream a try. I know, it’s a mouthful, but the name really does say it all. Vaseline Intensive Care Deep Moisture Jelly Cream has the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, which is really what piqued my interest. With my dermatitis (the most common form of Eczema,) most lotions irritate my hands with a burning sensation. This cream not only contains micro-droplets of Vaseline Jelly, is infused with vitamin E, and hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores,) but it actually HEALS my hands! lotion-hand-dermatitis The texture is a rich, smooth cream that doesn't feel heavy and is non-greasy. It really gives your hands a smooth as silk feeling. Other products I have used always wear off so quickly, but my severely dry hands immediately soaked up the moisture and stayed soft and supple for longer than most lotions I've used. Vaseline says it will moisturize for up to 18 hours - I didn't exactly keep track by the hour, but let's just say it was noticeable when I didn't need to constantly re-apply several times a day. I am so excited that I finally found something the works, doesn’t burn, and feels good to use. I even have my husband using it. Being a carpenter, he is constantly working outside, even in the cold, so his hands are always drying out and cracking. He loves that it’s unscented and non-greasy. Vaseline Intensive Care Deep Moisture Jelly Cream is gentle enough to use on my children too, who are 6 and 8 years old. Their hands get very chapped this time of the year too from all the times they wash their hands at school and use hand sanitizer. There’s nothing worse than seeing those red little hands when they come in from playing in the snow! This year when they come in from the cold, I can give them their nice warm cups of hot cocoa and soothe their hands with this cream. vaseline-jelly-cream-reviews Do you get severely dry skin each Fall and Winter? Will you be giving this new cream a try? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and Twitter. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Vaseline. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Bolden Butter Mint Shea Oil Review

Mandy Lewis
Bolden Shea Oil review via @agirlsgottaspa As soon as the season changes and the temperature gets cooler, my skin starts to get dry and feels tight. I have my favorite moisturizers that I switch to this time of the year, but it's always fun to try something new. I've been using Bolden Butter Mint Shea Oil for a couple of weeks and have noticed a difference. This Shea Oil is 100% natural and is made from ethically-sourced Shea nuts picked and processed by local women’s groups in Burkina Faso, West Africa. There's just three ingredients in this product; Vitamin E, shea oil and essential fragrance oil. That's it! Unlike some products with a mint scent that overpowers, this one is very light and relaxing. I've used it all over my body especially those areas that's prone to dryness like feet, knees and elbows. Although this oil is light compared to some and absorbs quickly, I prefer using it at night. I use it on my arms and legs and massage it into my feet right before bed. In the morning my skin feels soft and moisturized. I haven't use it as a moisturizer on my face (I would prefer to use an unscented oil), but have used it for a spot treatment on dry areas like my cheeks and chin and I am pleased that it helped and didn't make me break out. A couple of drops rubbed between my palms to warm it up does wonders for the ends of my hair and best of all it doesn't make my hair greasy. This is a product I would definitely keep using during the cold and drying Minnesota weather! Bolden Shea Oil is ideal for dry skin, hair and aging skin. It comes in three fragrances; Unscented, Butter Mint and Sweet Vanilla. Have you tried it? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and Twitter. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Disclosure: press sample, affiliate link

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Healthy Habits #AveenoDailyChallenge #Sponsored

Shannon Smyth

I partnered with AVEENO® on this post. All opinions are 100% my own. I’m participating in the #AveenoDailyChallenge for three weeks.

AVEENO® Daily Moisturizing Body Wash + AVEENO® Daily Moisturizing Lotion, now that’s a what I call a natural pair! For the next three weeks, I’ll be participating in the #AveenoDailyChallenge, using both products every day. Join me on my journey to healthy, beautiful, nourished skin! #spon via @agirlsgottaspa When it comes to my skin and incorporating healthy habits into my daily life, I can sometimes get into a rut. Whether busyness gets me distracted, the stressors of daily life keep my sidetracked or sometimes, dare I say it, pure laziness gets ahold of me - it all wears on my skin. As we begin to delve into the colder months, it's not only important to begin incorporating healthy habits into our lifestyle, it's imperative. From colds and flu to dry skin and eczema, it seems Fall and Winter are frought with ways to bring you down. So how can stay on top of it without slacking off? Why, using the buddy system of course. It's proven that when you work things in pairs, you have greater success at whatever you are trying to achieve. Of course, you'll want to naturally pair things that make sense like delicious raw honey to sweeten an indulgent tea as a healthy way infuse antioxidants into your diet and to destress. And no, pairing ice cream and your weight loss plan are not a natural pair. (Sorry.) Another way to ensure that you maintain a healthy routine is to make it a habit. Whether it's doing something at the same time every day or pairing the same items together when you use them, "association" is a great way to commit something to memory so that you maintain it. AVEENO® Daily Moisturizing Body Wash + AVEENO® Daily Moisturizing Lotion, now that’s a what I call a natural pair! For the next three weeks, I’ll be participating in the #AveenoDailyChallenge, using both products every day. Join me on my journey to healthy, beautiful, nourished skin! #spon via @agirlsgottaspa For the next three weeks, I’ll be participating in the #AveenoDailyChallenge, using both AVEENO® Daily Moisturizing Body Wash + AVEENO® Daily Moisturizing Lotion every day. This nourishing duo contains colloidal oatmeal, which is soothing for dry, irritated skin. It's also blended with rich emollients to help replenish skin's moisture barrier. I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of dry, itchy skin regardless of the season. Will you join me on my journey to healthy, beautiful, nourished skin? To participate, follow me on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) and be sure to tag me and use the hashtag #AveenoDailyChallenge. I'd love to encourage you during this 3- week challenge! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and Twitter. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

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