Moisture is most important to the skin. It helps to keep the skin soft, smooth and supple. Dryness of the skin is caused by under-activity of the sebaceous, or oil producing glands of the skin.
Due to a lack of oil, the skin’s ability to hold moisture is hampered. Seasonal changes, atmospheric conditions, exposure to the sun, air conditioning and heating, soaps and chlorinated water, make-up cosmetics and air pollution can aggravate the problem, by causing further moisture loss. The lack of moisture in the air during winter also affects the skin. For dry skins, hydrating packs containing natural ingredients like honey, orange juice, aloe vera, cream of milk (malai), curd, pure almond oil, egg yolk, etc. can be used. Fruit packs are also useful. Honey and aloe vera are powerful natural moisturisers. Honey attracts moisture to the skin, while aloe vera softens the skin and moisturises it.
Moisturizing plays an important protective role in skin care, by sealing in natural moisture and also preventing moisture depletion. The skin absorbs moisture in the form of an emulsion of oil and water. Therefore, the only way of dealing with the problem is to apply moisturizers daily, to replenish moisture loss. Dry skins also need daily nourishment with the application of rich creams, so that the skin receives emollients and is able to hold moisture better.
Here are some moisturising face packs:
* Aloe vera gel or juice can be applied directly on the skin daily. Leave on for 20 minutes and wash off with plain water. Aloe vera is a natural moisturiser and helps the skin to retain moisture. It is an antioxidant and protects the skin from oxidation damage, thus delaying the visible signs of ageing on the skin. Aloe Vera keeps the skin soft and has healing properties.
* Mix together 1 ripe avocado, with one teaspoon each olive oil, curd and honey. Apply on the face and leave on for 20 to 30 minutes. Wash off. Avocados are extremely beneficial for the skin. They contain vitamins and fatty acids, which nourish the skin and improve skin texture. Olive oil also nourishes the skin and provides emollients in winter. Curd helps to restore the normal pH balance and honey is a humectant – it attracts moisture to the skin.
* Mix half a teaspoon honey with one teaspoon pure almond oil and one teaspoon dried milk powder. Mix into a paste and apply on the face. Remove after 20 minutes with plain water. Dried milk powder nourishes and softens the skin. Almond oil provides the emollients. Also nourishes and softens the skin.
* Mash a banana and add a little rose water. Apply on the face and wash off after 20 minutes. Banana hydrates, nourishes and tightens the skin, while rose water tones and moisturises.
* Carrots are rich in Vitamin A and are of particular benefit for nourishing dry skin in winter. They have a soothing effect on the skin, making it soft, smooth and supple. In fact, it can be applied to soothe dry, sensitive skin. Carrots can be also be used as a face pack. Boil them in a little water. Cool and mash. Apply the pulp on the face like a pack and wash off with plain water after half an hour.
* Mix half a teaspoon honey with the yolk of an egg and one teaspoon dried milk powder. Mix into a paste and apply on the face. Remove after 20 minutes with plain water.
* Make a pulp of ripe papaya and apply on the face. Papaya has a cleansing action, by softening the dead cells and aiding their removal.
Mix honey with one teaspoon orange juice and apply on the face, to make it soft and smooth. Wash off after 20 minutes. Honey suits all skin types. For oily and acne-prone skin, mix one teaspoon honey with one teaspoon curd and a little turmeric.
Applying mayonnaise or egg yolk on the face also helps to relieve dryness.
Mix 3 teaspoons choker with one teaspoon each of ground almonds, honey, curd and egg yolk. Wash off after 20 minutes.