There's not a single person on this planet who doesn't have bouts of dry skin from time to time. But if you're the type of person where it seems like, no matter what you do (or don't do), your skin can never retain moisture, this is an article that you'll want to check out.
As far as the main reasons why dry skin tends to be such an issue, it's usually due to there being a lack of moisture in the air, your skin's pH balance being off or the weather's temperature being extremely hot or cold. Some people also battle with dry skin due to a genetic condition where they are unable to create enough filaggrin; it's a protein that helps to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.
Keeping all of this in mind, along with reading some tips on how to keep moisture in your skin, may just be what gets you on the road to never having to spell d-r-y on your arm ever again. Are you ready for soft and supple skin, no matter what?
1. Use a Water-Based Moisturizer
If your skin is dry, something that it definitely needs is hydration. While I'm personally someone who prefers to "seal my skin" (which is basically applying a carrier oil like sweet almond or coconut oil to my skin, right after getting out of the shower and before toweling off), if you prefer to go with a moisturizer, make sure that it's one that is water-based (which means that water will be the first or second ingredient on the label). It will help to provide your skin with the moisture that it needs while also shielding it from dry-out-factors like pollution and UV rays.
2. Avoid Really Hot Showers
Whew. There really is nothing better than standing in a hot shower for, shoot, as long as you can possibly stand it. Problem is, hot water is one of the main things that can really dry your skin out because it breaks down your skin's natural oils; then, the cleanser that you apply actually washes the oil off. That's why it's actually better to wash yourself in water that is warm. Oh, and make sure to limit your showers to 10-15 minutes. It's also better for your skin and, as a bonus, your water bill will decrease a good 15 percent or so each month too.
3. Nix the Soap
Speaking of stripping away natural oils, something else that will definitely do that is soap—this includes deodorant soap or perfume soap. If you just read that and was like, "OK, but a sistah absolutely needs to use something", I hear you. Just make sure that you go with a product that is soap-free. What exactly is that? The Reader's Digest version answer is it's the kind of cleanser that contains a mixture of sodium hydroxide, natural fats, and oils that all work together to keep your skin soft and smooth. Some soap-free commercial brands that immediately come to mind include Cetaphil, Aveeno, and CeraVe.
4. Wash Your Clothes with Fragrance-Free Products
While my skin has never really been super dry, something that I did notice was, whenever I used a detergent that was fragrance-free, my skin seemed to itch less and the moisture in my skin seemed to last longer. That would actually make sense on the heels of what I just shared about soap, right? Listen, you've got clothes on for half the day and then you get into your bed for at least another 6-8 hours (if you're lucky). For your skin's sake, it's important that you make sure to wash your stuff in a product that has as little chemicals in it as possible. If you wanna check out a list of hypoallergenic laundry detergents that will work for your skin and not against it,The Spruce features a list of 13 that will totally have your back.
5. DIY a Rosewater Spritz
A really simple way to make your skin look like it's glowing, no matter what time of year it is, is to apply some rosewater to it. Rosewater helps your skin to maintain its pH balance level (a healthy level is 5.5, by the way. When it gets to be around 7, the top layer of your skin starts to experience damage). Rosewater contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to soothe and heal dry skin, as well as treat eczema and psoriasis. Rosewater also has astringent compounds that help it to serve as a wonderful skin toner. Plus, rosewater deeply hydrates your skin so that fine lines remain at bay and your skin feels soft to the touch, all day long. If you'd like to make your own spritz, so that you can carry it in your purse everywhere you go, click here for how to make homemade rosewater and here for how to add it to a DIY spritz.
6. Ease Up on the Alcohol
Alcohol is great; especially in a year like 2020 (lawd). At the same time, if keeping your skin hydrated is a goal of yours, you've gotta push the wine glass (or beer bottle or cocktail) back a little more. The reason why is because alcoholic drinks are actually pretty dehydrating. The backstory on why is because alcohol contains an anti-diuretic hormone called vasopressin which actually absorbs water from our organs. So, if you must, try and only have like a glass or two of alcohol a day and follow it up with two glasses of water.
7. Eat Some Omega-3 Foods
Last year, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "These Foods Will Give Your Skin & Hair The Moisture They Crave". It featured a list of 10 different foods (and drinks) that can help to bring moisture to your skin (and your locks). Well, if you're someone whose skin seems to be extra dry, no matter what you do, it's definitely a good idea to amp up your omega-3 fatty acid intake. Aside from the fact that omega-3 can help to reduce depression and anxiety-related symptoms, improve your vision, decrease your chances of getting heart disease, fight inflammation and also make autoimmune diseases easier to handle, it's also really good at improving your skin cells' ability to contain water, so that your skin stays well-hydrated. Some foods that are high in omega-3 include salmon, walnuts, flaxseed oil, kidney beans and seaweed.
8. Drink More Water
I'm pretty sure you've heard somewhere before that your body is made up of around 60 percent water. What you might not know, though, is your blood consists of a whopping 90 percent of good ole' H2O. This is why it's so important to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day. Doing so will help to detox your system, give your body (more) oxygen, lubricate your joints, help you to produce more saliva (which reduces tooth decay), regulate your body temperature, help your body to better digest food (which contains nutrients) and, it hydrates you skin—and that's just the tip of the iceberg! The reality is, no matter how much you do the rest of what I've already shared, it's not gonna matter much if all you drink is juice or soda. Pure water will do your body good, on so many levels and for so many reasons. Healthy and glowing skin is just one reason to drink it on a regular basis.
9. Buy a Humidifier
To tell you the truth, whether you've got uber-dry skin or not, it's well worth your time and resources to invest in a humidifier. It helps to provide extra moisture to your vocal cords. It helps to soothe your sinuses. It can help to stop the flu virus that may be lurking around in your home in its tracks (because the virus doesn't thrive as much in high humidity). It can reduce snoring (because it helps to keep your nose from getting congested). And, it definitely is great at moisturizing your skin and lips. So, if you want a way to help your skin out as you sleep, turning a humidifier on (at around 60 percent), is a really effective way to do it.
10. “Cream Up” Before Bedtime
If it seems like your hands and feet are the two areas that dry out the most, you can pamper them by covering them up with a potent moisturizer and then covering them up with some socks or "in-house gloves" (ones that are made out of a light fabric that you only wear indoors) at night. While some people do this by applying petroleum jelly, I'm a much bigger fan of shea butter. Not only does it contain powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and healing properties but shea butter has emollient compounds as well. What that means is it soaks into your skin to provide a barrier to keep moisture for hours on end. If you've got a scar, skin discoloration or super dry skin, shea butter can be just what you need. It's one of my favorite ways to pamper my skin and keep it smooth as silk, no doubt about it.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood