There's nothing worse than seeing the telltale signs of dry skin just as summer arrives. After all, the dewy skin and no-makeup beauty looks that the season calls for are next to impossible to pull off if you're dealing with flaky, scaly skin. Enter dry skin remedies that work—fast. Here, skin-care experts from one of the warmest, driest places in the country, the Arizona desert, share their secrets that'll transform your complexion for summer.
- Drink plenty of water. This may seem obvious, but Erik Sears, treatment manager at Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess hotel in Arizona, says it's the first step to having healthy skin and can go a long way toward helping or hindering your skin's ability to maintain water. If you drink plenty of water and eat hydrating foods (read: fruits and veggies), your skin cells will have a better shot at staying hydrated even in dry, low-humidity weather. Aim for at least eight glasses of H2O a day, plus 10 or more servings of fruits and vegetables.
- Ditch moisture zappers from your life. If your skin is scaly, flaky and dull, you're probably looking for dry skin remedies that work fast, such as a heavy moisturizer or super-hydrating mask. However, Carol Ford, director of Agave, The Arizona Spa at The Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, says it's just as important to stop moisture-zapping habits as it is to slather on a dry skin "cure." "Minimize your exposure to depleting elements such as alcohol, long baths and harsh soaps that can strip the skin of natural oils," Ford says. Instead, opt for hydrating drinks; take quicker, cooler showers; and use creamy cleansers instead of your usual body wash.
- Exfoliate. Dermatologists and estheticians agree that exfoliating twice a week is key when it comes to sloughing off dry, dead skin cells in order to reveal new, hydrated skin. This is especially true when the temperature soars. "Healthy and glowing skin takes a little work, so be sure to exfoliate your face and body twice a week," Ford says. "Your skin produces and sheds thousands of skin cells each day, and some of the cells don't slough off as they should. This causes dull skin and breakouts, so exfoliation is a must for a healthy glow." Angee Smith, senior spa director at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch, agrees: "Freshly exfoliated skin is also better able to accept the hydration in your moisturizer, which will help you see immediate moisture, radiance and luminosity."
- Spend more time on your skin-care routine. When your complexion is glowing, it's fine to take a wake-up-and-go approach to your skin-care routine. On the flip side, it's crucial to spend a few extra minutes if you're in need of dry skin remedies. "Ever wonder why your skin seems so soft, supple and hydrated after coming out of a spa treatment yet if you buy that same scrub and use it at home in the shower you don't get the same results? That's because most of us don't spend enough time applying the product when exfoliating our own skin," Ford says. "When you exfoliate, spend at least two full minutes on each area, gently rubbing the scrub in a circular motion. Keep in mind that's two minutes on your face, two minutes on your left arm, two minutes on your right arm, and so on."
- Look for the right ingredients and products. Wondering if one of those motorized skin brushes is worth the money? Sheryl McCormick, the director of spa and retail for the Centre for Well-Being at The Phoenician in Phoenix, Arizona, says she loves the Clarisonic cleansing brush for face and body. Ford agrees: "This facial brush oscillates without pulling skin, so it gently removes dirt and excess oil from pores while exfoliating the skin," she says. "Your serum and moisturizer will absorb into the skin and be so much more effective after using this amazing brush." A favorite hydrating ingredient of many who live in the dry, Arizona desert is aloe. "Look for raw or 100 percent pure aloe," Sears says. "Put it on your face before you go to bed, and you'll wake up looking amazing. Just be sure to lay a towel over your pillow so you don't get it on your linens."
- Make your own dry skin remedies. Ford, who tries out hundreds of highly effective and high-end products for a living, says she's made some amazing DIY remedies using ingredients straight from her pantry. "My personal favorites are coconut or olive oil in lieu of a body oil or moisturizer," she says. "These everyday ingredients from your pantry and refrigerator can yield some great results."
- Wear your SPF. Want to prevent the need for dry skin remedies in the first place? Make sure you're protecting your skin from sunburn with a broad-spectrum SPF. We know you've had this lecture before so we won't go into the nitty-gritty here, but trust that what you've heard is all true: Wearing sunscreen is the best way to keep your skin looking amazing now and for many years to come.