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Healthy skin is visibly soft, supple, and moisturized. But when it loses moisture after skipping frequent application of creams and lotions and drinking plenty of water, skin can become visibly unhealthy by looking dry, and scaly. Severely dry skin can even begin to crack! When your skin is so dry that it forms gaping, painful cracks you need to add moisture, stat.

Dry Skin Solution No. 1: Baths and Soaks

Mere water will strip your skin of its natural, essential oils. But that doesn’t mean that soaks and baths can’t still be soothing for dry, cracked skin — you just have to add back those moisturizing oils your skin craves.

Adding a few drops of a natural oil, like mineral, almond, or avocado oil, will help heal dry, cracked skin.  Add Clear Essence Skin Beautifying Oil to hydrate damaged skin during a relaxing soak in the tub. Active ingredients include Mineral Oil, Licorice Extract, Germ Oil, Soybean, and Annatto Oil to replenish the skin with natural substances to rid the sink of dryness. However, it’s important to limit those baths and showers to only a short time, no longer than 5 to 10 minutes with water that is only warm, not hot — hot water will only dry out the skin more.  Adding oatmeal or baking soda to the bath — about one cup for a tub full of water — will also assist in soothing the skin and locking in moisture.

Dry Skin Solution No. 2: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

As soon as you get out of the bath, gently pat skin dry with a towel — don’t rub or remove all of the water. Next, apply a few drops of a natural oil, such as our Skin Beautifying Oil that can be applied to bath water or directly on the skin, or a rich moisturizing cream all over your body. This will help seal the moisture in. Clear Essence Skincare Collections offer many moisturizing lotions and creams to keep skin feeling silky and smooth all day. Clear Essence Skin Beautifying Milk is an all-over moisturizer which can also be applied to the face to create a flawless skin tone by fading dark spots and hyperpigmentation. This velvety, creamy formula also hydrates skin leaving it supple. Clear Essence Skincare Solutions also includes the My Natural Beauty Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 15. This body lotion is thicker and contains all natural ingredients and adds an abundance of moisture to dry areas. We recommend using the My Natural Beauty Moisturizing Lotion to maintain even skin tones that have been achieved using other Clear Essence Skincare Products. Our formula contains SPF 15 to help keep the skin protected from the sun and your complexion even.

For VERY dry, cracked skin, petroleum jelly is also an inexpensive option. Rub in the petroleum jelly and let it saturate the skin; if cracks are on the hands or feet, smear those areas well and cover them with cotton gloves or socks to hold the petroleum jelly in place overnight while you sleep.

Dry Skin Solution No. 3: Pumice With Caution

In general, pumicing or filing dry, cracked skin isn’t a good idea.

Limit the use of pumice stones and similar tools when dealing with damaged skin. Also only use these type of treatments on heels and feet. On feet, where there’s repeated trauma, dead skin can build up. That is where pumice stones or files can remove extra layers of dead cells so that the moisturizing cream can fully penetrate the layers of the skin.

Dry Skin Solution No. 4: Super Glue

Dermatologists actually recommend using a dab of Super Glue on cracked skin to promote healing and prevent further drying or splitting. The active ingredient is the same as that of liquid bandages and other medical adhesives used to close cuts and wounds.

First, make sure the skin crack is cleaned. Then, squeezing the edges of the crack together, apply a bit of Super Glue — enough to hold it closed. Hold the edges together until the glue dries to make sure the crack doesn’t open.

The best medicine for dry, cracked skin is prevention. To prevent painfully dry, cracked skin, apply a daily moisturizer, such as Clear Essence Skin Beautifying Milk or My Natural Beauty Moisturizing Lotion, all over the body. With daily use, your skin will thank you during the harsh winter season.

No matter how careful we are, accidents happen. Whether it’s a toddler bumping his head on the sharp corner of a coffee table or an adult slipping up with a kitchen knife while slicing vegetables, injuries — and often lingering scars — are bound to happen. Though total scar prevention may be impossible after a cut, there are things you can do to lessen the severity of any lasting marks.

Scar Treatment: The 411 About Scars

The first thing to know is that scar formation is a totally normal part of the healing process. “When the skin is injured, collagen production goes into overdrive to fix the wound as fast as possible,” says Jessica Krant, MD, MPH, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and founder of the Art of Dermatology LLC in New York City. “This healing tissue doesn’t contain all of the normal parts of skin, so it looks different.”

The appearance of any given scar depends on a number of factors. The shape, size, and depth of the wound contribute to the way a scar looks, as do the amount of blood that can get to the area, your skin color, and your skin thickness.

There are three main types of scars. Normal scars are relatively thin, small, and flat. Hypertrophic scars are red, thick, and raised. Keloid scars are also raised, often dark or red, and, unlike hypertrophic scars, expand beyond the contours of the actual wound. Keloid scars tend to be genetic and can be hard to control or predict, says Dr. Krant. They come from an overproduction of collagen and can be treated by injecting steroid medication into the affected area . Consultation with a medical professional is the best route when dealing with a keloid scar.

Scar Prevention: Dos and Don’ts

There are steps you can take — and mistakes to avoid — to help heal skin with as little residual scarring as possible. “The key to lessening scarring is to decrease the amount of work the body has to do to heal the scar,” Krant says. Here’s how:

  • Get stitches if needed. Cuts that are spread apart or are deep often heal better when they are stitched by a medical professional. Keep in mind that stitches must be sewn as soon as possible, while the injury is fresh. If too much time elapses, the wound may become contaminated with germs or bacteria, and a doctor may not want to stitch it closed because of the threat of infection. Also, the wound may start to partially heal, which can hinder successful suturing. If in doubt about whether stitches are in order, see a doctor in a timely manner and let him decide the best treatment for the wound.
  • Keep the wound moist. Apply petroleum jelly to the wound and cover it with a non-stick bandage. This can speed healing and minimize scarring, says Krant.
  • Massage the wound. Massaging a scar daily with a lightening cream, such as Clear Essence Medicated Fade Cream, can help reduce visibility of existing and new scars. Make sure to really massage the skin in order to improve circulation and blood flow while assisting in healing the affected area.
  • Avoid the sun. Keeping the scar away from sunlight can help minimize discoloration.
  • Let it heal naturally. Don’t use hydrogen peroxide too frequently as it can cause continual irritation and slow the healing process. And don’t pick at scabs. “Scabs are nature’s biologic dressing,” Krant says. “Picking off a scab repeatedly when a wound is trying to heal will slow healing and increase scarring. ”
  • Be patient. Healing takes time — possibly a long time. The first phase of healing takes three months, followed by a second phase that lasts another three months. At one year after the injury, the scar has basically formed, but even then it will still change and appear different a year after that. “The truth is, scars never stop changing and improving unless they are keloid scars, which continually worsen unless treated by a physician,” Krant says.

If you have dry skin, you know that lotions and moisturizers, such as Clear Essence Skin Beautifying Milk and My Natural Beauty Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 15, help. But can certain dietary choices combat dry, itchy, scaly skin?

“The most important part of the skin barrier is lipids, including phospholipids, free fatty acids, cholesterol, and ceramides,” says Amy Newburger, MD, an attending physician in the Dermatology Department at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Medical Center. “Skin without enough fat in it has a protein predominance and is kind of like a mess made just of twigs with no glue between them.” Water easily escapes through a barrier without lipids, allowing skin to become dehydrated.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids are necessary for the production of intercellular lipids — the “glue” between the “twigs” in the stratum corneum, or surface of the skin. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect on irritated skin. Two types of fatty acids that are “essential” — that is, they must be obtained through the diet — are omega-3s, and omega-6s.

Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines, as well as flaxseed oil, some types of eggs, and grass-fed beef. Evening primrose oil and borage seed oil, which are high in omega-6s, help hydrate the skin and prevent water from evaporating, says Leslie Baumann, director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute. “If you don’t like fish or are pregnant and can’t eat it, omega-3 supplements are a good option.” Most Americans get enough omega-6s through their diet because they’re contained in corn and safflower oils.


Vitamins and Minerals for Dry Skin

“Vitamin C is necessary for the function of the enzyme that causes collagen to form,” says Dr. Newburger, “and collagen acts as a sponge for moisture.” Clear Essence uses this natural vitamin within its Lemon Plus Vitamin C line. Clear Essence Lemon Plus Vitamin C Smoothing Creme is a thick and velvety cream that can target dry patches and leave a smooth and hydrated complexion.

Newburger adds that copper and zinc are also necessary. Together, vitamin C, zinc, and copper keep collagen denser, which in turn allows for plump, hydrated skin. “Any good multivitamin with trace minerals in it contains zinc and copper,” says Newburger. Zinc has also been found to have anti-inflammatory effects, which is vital for maintaining smooth skin.

Caffeine, Alcohol, and Dry Skin

While consuming caffeine is unlikely to dehydrate you, it does make the blood vessels constrict, which is why it’s used in eye creams (to reduce puffiness). “Long term, this means a reduced amount of blood flow and nutrients though the tissues,” warns Newburger. “And if you don’t have healthy circulation, you won’t have age-appropriate cell turnover.”

In the case of alcohol, Michele Murphy, a registered dietitian at NewYork Presbyterian–Weill Cornell Medical Center, explains that although it’s a diuretic, you’d need to be severely dehydrated to experience any noticeable changes. “The average person having a glass of wine with dinner every night and maintaining adequate fluid intake is unlikely to see any real difference,” she says. 

Don’t Overdo It

If you’re already eating a balanced diet with sufficient fats, adding more fats or taking supplements is not necessarily a quick fix for dry skin. “If you’re deficient in fat or certain vitamins, it does have the potential to affect the look or feel of your skin,” says Murphy. “But supplementing beyond what the body needs has not been shown to improve skin.”

Between Botox and plastic surgery, it can be hard to distinguish a 30-year-old from a 45-year-old, and a 55-year-old from someone in his or her late 60s. All too often, we associate gray hair, wrinkled skin and facial lines with the elderly. But in reality, these signs of aging can come about much earlier in life. Sure, genetics play a part, but so do other changeable environmental factors like a person’s lifestyle. Here’s things you can rid yourself of to making aging come a little later in life.

Sedentary lifestyle
People who lead a sedentary lifestyle often age faster than those who are active. According to Roy Elam, MD, associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and medical director of the Vanderbilt Center for Integrative Health, those who are inactive have more cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes, along with a higher incidence of cancer, memory loss, diabetes and depression.

Exercise stimulates the neural peptides in the brain, which helps the brain make changes, such as growing new memory cells, Dr. Elam explains. “It doesn’t matter if it’s climbing the steps at work, mowing the lawn, swimming, hiking, gardening or working out at the gym—physical activity is very good for you,” he says. “More is better, but even 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week, can make a difference.”

While it’s known that obesity promotes diabetes and cardiovascular disease, mounting scientific evidence suggests the aging process may also be affected. A 2005 study by University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey found a link between increased body weight and accelerated cellular aging. Focusing on the telomeres—caps on the ends of chromosomes that shorten every time a cell divides—of participants’ white blood cells, researchers discovered a correlation between increased weight and decreased telomere length. When the telomere lengths—which serve as a cell’s life timeline—of obese and lean participants were compared, obese cells appeared between eight and nine years older than their leaner counterparts. Again, exercise and mindfulness can help a person to lose weight and improve his or her quality of life, Dr. Elam says.

As associated with anxiety and depression, stress tends to cause a person to overeat and can be damaging to his or her overall health. Dr. Elam says stress increases the body’s “fight or flight” hormones, which release cortisol—a chemical that can have adverse effects on the memory center of the brain. Stress also makes people more prone to cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes, and can contribute to premature death.

“Relationships are most important in reducing stress,” Dr. Elam says. “Exercise, laughter and mindfulness (learning to be in the present) can also diminish stress.”

Excessive alcohol use and/or drug abuse
One glass of wine at dinner may be good for you, but five every night is not. According to Robert Clinton, MD, of Coressence Laser & Skin Center in Fayetteville and Pinehurst, North Carolina, excessive consumption of alcohol and/or drug use causes the breakdown of organs, in addition to liver problems and pancreatic, kidney and reproductive failure. “It can cascade into big, life-changing problems, resulting in decreased energy levels, restricted diet and activities, financial hardship, family struggles and an increased dependence on medicine,” he says.

Besides staining the teeth and making you cough, smoking causes emphysema, lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes and cancer of the throat. More precisely, Dr. Elam explains, the nicotine damages the body’s blood vessels and the smoke harms the lungs. “You can get lung cancer from secondhand smoke,” he says. “The farther away from smoking you are, the better your health will be.”

It’s never too late to stop smoking and reclaim a few years of your life. Smoking cessation classes, the nicotine patch and Chantix—a prescribed drug that minimizes cravings—are just a few ways you can stave off addiction.

Sleep debt/insomnia
“We age faster without proper sleep,” Dr. Elam says. “There is evidence that it may alter the immune system.” Lack of sleep can affect the circadian rhythm, which regulates hormones control, and can create anxiety, depression and a diminished quality of life. The solution is simple: Get more sleep! What could be more important than your health?

Increased sun exposure
Spending too much time in the sun or tanning bed breaks down collagen, causes sun damage and predisposes your skin to cancer, Dr. Clinton says. Sun damage can result in increased wrinkles, deflation of youthful contours, hollowed eyes, deep lines, crow’s feet, sunspots and sunken cheeks.

“Most of the damage is done when you’re young, but often it doesn’t show up until 20 years later,” he says. “It’s never too early or late to start good habits, such as applying sunscreen every couple of hours and wearing at least SPF 15 or 30.” Clear Essence Cosmetics offers many SPF 15 products such as its Skin Beautifying Milk, Medicated Fade Cream and the My Natural Beauty Moisturizing Lotion all containing sunscreen properties.

Certain laser treatments can resurface the skin, thickening the collagen and removing precancerous lesions, but prevention is key.

Maybe you work a lot, live far away from family and don’t have time to date. Those excuses may seem sufficient, but your body doesn’t care—simply put, it doesn’t like feeling lonely. “Humans are ultra-social organisms who thrive on relationships,” Dr. Elam says.

Those who are lonely are more likely to be depressed or anxious, eat lower-quality food and exercise less. “Laughter—often the result of interaction with others—is incredibly important because it helps diminish anxiety and depression, encourage sleep and improve happiness.”

And you thought there was nothing that could be done to avoid aging. Well, take down that white flag and take action! With the right tools and the right mindset, turning back the clock is easier than you thought. And with so many reasons to stay healthy, looking good as you look to the future shouldn’t be that hard. Maybe you’re genetically predisposed to gray hair, but if you treat your body right, you might be able to postpone the aging process—at least for a little while. So exercise, eat right, avoid too much sun and most of all, lighten up and spend time with others. Your body will thank you for it.

Feel that chill in the air? Winter is well on its way. And while many of us look forward to sweater weather with relish, you wouldn’t know it by looking at our skin. Between the icy outdoor air and the desiccating indoor heat, it’s no surprise that the biggest beauty gripe of the season is dry skin. However, what most see as a minor inconvenience could hold serious consequences for your complexion years down the road. In the fight against premature aging, winter hydration is just as important as summer sun protection.

While the cold alone isn’t enough to signal a four-star beauty alarm, the drop in humidity compounded with around-the-clock heating are solid clues that its time to step up your skin care regimen. To keep your home cool in the summer and toasty in the winter, your air conditioner dehumidifies the air to control the climate. While this saves you from constantly bundling up when it’s cold outside, it also throws your skin into a state of panic.

Like a sponge, your skin absorbs moisture from the environment to keep its cells healthy and functioning. It also creates a lipid (fatty) barrier to maintain optimal moisture levels even when the humidity fluctuates, like during the winter. Between this lipid barrier and sebum—natural oils secreted by the sebaceous glands—the skin helps combat trans-epidermal water loss, or TEWL. If these natural defenses are compromised, the skin’s cells can quickly lose vital moisture, dry out and die. Over time, dead cells can build up, creating a dull appearance and blocking topical ingredients from reaching the healthy cells below.

What threatens the skin’s natural defenses? Anything that strips its lipid and sebum barrier leaves skin vulnerable to dehydration. Talc-based cosmetics, common cleanser detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and topical irritants, like alcohol and benzoyl peroxide, that can cause inflammation all pose a threat to skin’s delicate moisture balance. Chronic barrier abuse can lead to cracked, broken skin, contributing to signs of premature aging. With skin immunity and repair function in jeopardy, lines and wrinkles can easily follow.

Fortunately, you can prevent the type of winter damage that can lead to premature aging with topical ingredients that work with the skin’s barrier to minimize moisture loss. In addition to natural emollients like shea butter, moisture-enhancing ingredients like pilewort extract, liquid crystals and heavy water can work wonders on both seasonal and persistent dry skin.

Pilewort extract comes from the pilewort plant, found throughout the southwestern Europe, Asia and North America. Pilewort extract is used for its soothing, calming and antiseptic properties. Also, it aids in healing and repairing the skin. Combined with other key moisturizers in a formula like Clear Essence Skin Beautifying Milk, this highly prized emollient encourages healthy hydration, especially in skin stripped of its own natural oils. Other important moisturizing ingredients include Glycerine (a light, organic, non-greasy fatty acid used as a lubricant), Dimethicone (an organic silicone used as a skin protector and moisturizer), and Camphor (extracted from the bark 50-year-old trees and used as a cooling and antiseptic agent. Also promotes firming and toning of the skin).

By targeting moisture loss from outside and within, multi-active hydrating products like those in Clear Essence Cosmetics’ clincally correct skin care line can help eliminate winter dryness and prevent the aging effects that build with time. Used in conjunction with a skin care regimen customized to your skin’s needs, corrective hydrators can help you give dry skin the cold shoulder this season and every season.

Whether you’re heading back to school or just hanging out with friends, don’t let breakouts bring you down. Take back control of your complexion with commonsense tips and uncommonly effective products from Clear Essence Cosmetics. It’s time to clear up problem skin and greet the day with confidence.

Be Disciplined
While most acne sufferers will see a difference in the first couple weeks of their skincare program, it can take up to 28 days for your skin cells to turn over. Getting your skin in balance requires time, consistency and discipline. Establish a regimen of cleaning and treating your skin twice a day to eliminate pore-clogging excess oil and cellular debris. Using an exfoliating cleanser, like Clear Essence Medicated Cleansing Bar or Blemish Control Wash Formula, is an important first step toward clarifying the appearance of problem skin. As exfoliating beads gently remove dead skin, soothing botanicals calm visible irritation and unsightly redness. These powerful formulas also prep the skin for additional correctives, like Clear Essence Medicated Fade Cream or Skin Lightening Serum.

Don’t Pick
Scratching, pinching and squeezing might feel like the right thing to do, but avoid giving into the temptation. “Popping” blemishes can lead to permanent scarring, increased irritation and redness. Additionally, dirt and bacteria from unclean fingers can find their way into pores, making matters worse. A soothing cleansing of the skin with Clear Essence Blemish Control Wash Formula can keep pores clean and help create a more comfortable complexion. Packed with problem-solving salicylic acid, a non-foaming application in the morning can absorb excess oil and put you in the fast lane to clearer looking skin.

Keep Clean
To minimize the spread of bacteria and other impurities, be sure to wash all pillowcases, towels and makeup brushes weekly. If your skin is particularly sensitive, look for a detergent that’s free of irritating dyes and fragrances. When you’re out and about, avoid over-cleansing your skin, especially with harsh cleansers that contain sodium lauryl sulfate or alcohol. These common additives can rob skin of vital moisture, prompting it to produce more sebum–natural oil that conditions the skin–than normal, increasing the risk of clogged pores and breakouts. Try to also avoid touching your face, and keep long hair tied back throughout the day.

Don’t Sweat It
After exercise, be sure to use a mild cleanser to wash away sweat, which can attract pore-clogging impurities and lead to body acne. For persistent blemishing, turn again to our Medicated Cleansing Bar or Blemish Control Wash Formula. An exfoliating back scrub or loofah can also help slough away potentially pore-clogging dead skin and debris; however, exercise caution when using exfoliating products with an abrasive surface to avoid irritating the skin.