Why most moisturizers actually make your skin drier - and what to use instead

April 25, 2014
Volume 2    |   Issue 17

If your skin is dry and flaky, your first instinct is probably to reach for a bottle of moisturizer. If your favorite drugstore brand doesn't help, you may try a pricier option, and you may still be disappointed. That's because some ingredients commonly found in moisturizers can actually make your dry skin worse.

That's right! They can prevent your skin from locking in moisture. Fortunately, there's a better way to care for dry skin - and it will cost far less than expensive creams!

When you use many skin creams and lotions, the emulsifiers that keep the oil and water mixed in the product get applied to your skin along with everything else. But these emulsifiers can create a residue that interferes with your skin's lipid barrier. This will let water evaporate more quickly from your skin. As water evaporates, your skin feels drier, so you reach for additional lotion - starting the cycle over again.

To actually trap the moisture in your skin, you need a different type of product - oil. And you can find some of the best oils for your skin right in your kitchen cabinet. Even if you buy oil especially for your skin, you'll find it's far more cost-effective than any of the creams or lotions you've used in the past. One oil that's particularly beneficial is sunflower seed oil. A recent study found numerous benefits to this particular oil, both for your beauty regime and your health.

While you may believe oil can help provide moisture, you're probably concerned that it will have some unwanted side effects, such as breakouts. Not sunflower seed oil! It's full of oleic acid; vitamins A, D, and E; lecithin; and unsaturated fatty acids, so it nourishes the skin without clogging pores. And not only does it moisturize skin without interfering with the lipid barrier, it actually adds a layer of protection.

According to a study done in Egypt on preterm infants, sunflower seed oil can prevent invasive bacterial infections. Preterm infants often have compromised skin barriers, and sunflower seed oil helps strengthen and reinforce that barrier. The infants who received topical treatment with sunflower seed oil three times daily showed a significant improvement in skin condition. They also had a highly significant reduction in the incidence of hospital-acquired infections.

If sunflower seed oil can help keep infections out, it can certainly help keep moisture in. It's also nutritious when used as a cooking oil, so one small investment can bring you benefits both when you're looking in the bathroom mirror and when you're sitting down for dinner. Break the cycle of dryness - give sunflower seed oil a try! You can find it at most grocery stores and online.

To your health, naturally,


Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2004 Aug;23(8):719-25.

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