Help Me Choose: Dry Skin Care

    What Is Dry Skin?

    Dry skin is a result of a decrease in sebum production, the natural skin oil necessary to keep the skin moist and lubricated. Since dry skin has a decreased oil barrier, water easily evaporates through the skin.

    Natural Organic Warm Body Lotion CandlesDry skin is a common condition that affects people of all ages.

    You may have naturally dry skin, but even people with oily skin can develop dry skin from time to time.

    Dry skin often feels tight and dehydrated and looks rough, itchy, flaky or scaly. The location where dry patches form vary from person to person.

    Although dry skin can affect any part of your body, it commonly affects hands, arms, and legs.

    Exposure to dry weather conditions, hot water, chemicals, and underlying medical conditions can cause skin to dry out. Frequent hand-washing and using hand sanitizer can cause hands to become dry. It can be helpful to apply moisturizer after each time you wash your hands.

    Dry Skin is More Common In:

    • Cold winter months and dry climates
    • Individuals with a history of eczema
    • The elderly

    For specific information on products for dry facial skin, please see "Help Me Choose: Facial Skin Care"


    Recommended Products for Dry Skin



    Signs and symptoms of dry skin might vary based on your age, health status, skin tone, living environment and season. They include:

    • Itchy and easily irritated skin
    • Skin looks rough with fine flakes and dry patches
    • Skin may appear red, or gray and ashy
    • Skin is more prone to fine lines, wrinkles, and cracks
    • Sensation of skin tightness, especially after showering, bathing, or swimming.
    • Skin that feels and looks rough
    • Skin has that cracked alligator look
    • Skin appears reddish on white skin and grayish or ashy on brown and black skin
    • Skin has deep cracks that may bleed



    Dry skin is often temporary or seasonal. Winter itch is caused by excessively dry skin in the winter. Cool temperatures, dry heat, and lower humidity drain moisture causing dry, flaky, and itchy skin.

    For those with normally dry or sensitive skin, it will often worsen during the winter months.

    Keeping skin well hydrated and replacing natural oils with a natural body moisturizers can help. The best time to moisturize is after showering or bathing, while the skin is still damp, to help lock in moisture.

    Learn More Blog: "8 Tips to Help Eliminate Dry Winter Skin"



    Dry skin often becomes more of an issue as people get older. As we get age, our skin produces less oil and gets drier. For women, it may also be due to the hormone changes associated with menopause.

    Help with Dry Skin



    MoisturizingIt goes without saying that the best treatment for dry skin is daily lubrication with a pure and natural emollient to help decrease the evaporation of moisture from the skin.

    The main goal for dry skin treatment is to use a good moisturizer to put a barrier between your skin and dry air in order to help prevent moisture loss and stop the itching.

    Dermatologists recommend non-water-based, natural creams or oils to restore skin hydration. Oil and rich creams have more staying power than water-based lotions and help prevent the evaporation of water from the surface of your skin.

    The best time to moisturize is after showering or bathing, while the skin is still warm and damp while the pores are open to help increase absorption and lock in moisture.

    Moisturizing is especially important to help prevent "winter itch." Keeping skin well hydrated and replacing natural oils with natural oils can help.

    Depending on your dryness level and personal preferences we have many types of moisturizers:

    Organic Body Creams: Our Whipped Body Butters and more concentrated Body Balms are super rich and moisturizing organic creams jam-packed with nourishing plant butters and oils that ultra dry skin.

    Bath & Body Oils:  Our organic multipurpose bath, body, and massage oils are made with therapeutic organic botanicals infused in skin-nourishing vegan, plant oils and blended with organic essential oil aromatherapy blends.

    Natural Organic Cuticle & Hand CreamShower Lotion Bars: These are nourishing, after-shower moisturizers made with wholesome ingredients combined in a unique formula that is solid at room temperature but easily melts on your warm wet skin.

    Warm Body Lotion Candles: Once lit, the nourishing oils and butters melt at a warm temperature that can be poured directly into your hand and massaged into the skin. Our candles are a wonderful intensive treatment for dry skin.

    Facial Moisturizers: Our organic facial moisturizers contain simple, organic ingredients that are easily absorbed and allow the skin to breathe.

    Keep a travel-size organic moisturizer, like a lotion bar, in your purse, briefcase, school bag, or gym bag so it is always handy when you need a quick dose of moisture, especially after hand washing.



    The Right Natural SoapThere are many causes of dry skin – like dry air or aging – but ironically, one of the most common causes of dry skin is your commercial soap.

    If you recently bought commercial soap from a major chain store, take a look at the ingredients on the label.

    While these artificial ingredients make your soap lather nicely and smell great, dry skin conditions are often exacerbated by detergent soaps. These soaps can cause skin irritation and dryness, especially in people with sensitive skin or who have skin conditions like eczema.

    A mild, moisturizing, natural soap is recommended for dry skin. The best is glycerin-rich natural handmade soap that contains no drying or irritating ingredients, such as synthetic cleansers, colors, fragrances, colors, or preservatives.

    Some customers with dry skin love natural soaps with extra butters, like shea, mango, and cocoa. Others love oils rich in a fatty acid called linoleic acid, such as grapeseed, sunflower, and hemp. Still, others like soaps rich in honey or coconut milk.

    Our natural Winter Survival Soap has become a seasonal favorite. The cooling, clearing, revitalizing scent of this moisturizing bar helps soothe dry, itchy skin and energize your spirit on cold winter mornings!

    See our "Help Me Choose Soap" page for more information OR when on our Natural Soap page use the filters on the left to help narrow your search for soap that are especially good for dry skin.



    Buttercream Cleansing Face WashOur Buttercream Cleansing Face Wash is such a unique product that I have put it in a category all by itself.

    It is a natural organic facial cleansing cream that moisturizes and gently cleans at the same time.

    Just imagine nourishing organic plant oils and botanical butters whipped into soft, delightful cream.

    The cream is then whipped with our moisturizing organic Aloe Soap to create a gentle cleansing and hydrating face wash! You may even feel some little bits of soap!

    • The yellowish color comes from sustainable Organic Virgin Palm Oil, one of the richest plant sources of carotenes and antioxidants
    • Organic mango butter, avocado oil, and virgin shea butter are excellent for dry, aging, or irritated skin



    ExfoliatingExfoliation for those with dry skin is very important, especially in winter.

    When our skin feels dry we too often slather on heavy creams to compensate for the dryness. But dry skin flaky skin means that you have a build-up of dead, dry skin cells. Why would you want to moisturize dry, dead skin cells? What you really want to do is exfoliate those dead skin cells away and then moisturize the skin.

    Many customers ask, "How Do I Know If I Need To Exfoliate?" A simple test you can do at home to see if you have surface dry skin cells on your skin is to take a piece of clear tape and apply it to the forehead. Rub it gently and remove. Look at the tape, and if there are little pieces of flaky skin, then you need to exfoliate!

    We have many gentle exfoliating organic Body Sugar Scrubs and Facial Sugar Scrubs.

    A great product for dry facial skin in need of exfoliation is our gentle Adzuki Bean Scrub.

    For more help see Help Me Choose Natural Skin Care For Exfoliation

    Learn More Blog: The Nitty Gritty of Exfoliation

    Things to Avoid


    Dry skin conditions are often exacerbated by commercial soaps that contain harsh detergents that wash off natural skin-protecting oils. Choose mild soaps that have added oils and fats.

    Avoid products containing detergents, alcohol, and other synthetic chemicals that can also dry skin and cause irritation.

    Synthetic fragrances have a tendency to irritate dry skin or make it worse. Check the ingredients list for the word "fragrance" and avoid soap and other skin-care products that contain it.


    While a hot steamy shower or bath often feels so nice and relaxing, hot water especially during winter can lead to excessively dry skin.

    The hotter the water and the longer you remain in the shower or tub, the more natural oil is removed from your skin. Taking shorter warm showers is the best thing you can do for happier skin.

    Since moisturizers work best on damp skin, remember to apply a moisturizer within minutes of getting out of the bath or shower.


    Stay away from lotions. Not only are they mostly water (notice that water is usually the first ingredient) they often contain preservatives and fragrances that can irritate sensitive skin. Although lotions are absorbed more quickly, they do not contain enough emollients to offer long-term protection against dryness.

    If you enjoy the application "feeling" of a lotion better than a cream, try applying a rich cream, like our organic Whipped Cocoa Butter or a Whipped Shea Butter to warm, wet skin right after a bath or shower. Wait a few moments and gently pat dry. (Do not rub skin dry!)

    You can do the same with our Bath & Body Oils. Massage onto warm, wet skin right after a bath or shower. Wait a few moments and gently pat dry.

    Since a lotion is just water mixed with oils and/or butters, a rich organic butter or oil on warm wet skin will have a similar feel.


    Natural lighter fibers such as cotton are kind to your skin and allow the skin to breathe. Some fibers like wool, although natural, may irritate even normal skin. Wash clothes with mild detergents without dyes or perfumes, both of which can irritate your skin.


    Often times the air inside can be as harsh on your skin as the air outside. Hot, dry, indoor heat and even air conditioning, can draw humidity levels down, parch dry or sensitive skin making the skin dry, flaky, and itchy. A humidifier can help restore moisture to the air in your home.



    • avoid using hot water to bathe or shower
    • keep your shower time short
    • use a moisturizing natural soap
    • apply moisturizer immediately after bathing or showering
    • pat skin dry with a soft towel (do not rub!)
    • avoid scratching irritated skin
    • use a humidifier
    • drink plenty of water


    For specific information on products for dry facial skin, please see "Help Me Choose: Facial Skin Care"


    Recommended Products for Dry Skin

    Frequently Asked Questions

    12 Reasons to Use Handmade Natural Soap

    After all these years in business, the most often asked question we hear remains, “Why is natural soap better?”

    I have been using only natural soap on my face and body for over 20 years. It is the first product I learned to make.

    Natural Organic Bamboo Charcoal Soap for Oily Skin

    My skin has become so accustomed to the benefits of these lovely bars, that everything else makes my skin itch.

    Our soap bars travel with me everywhere I go. I even keep one-time-use scraps in my purse to use in public restrooms!

    While I believe that many of the "reasons" listed below may apply to some natural handmade soap companies, I will focus on the one company with which I have intimate knowledge and experience--CHAGRIN VALLEY.

    1. Handmade Soap is Actually Soap

    Most of the soap you purchase today is a commercially manufactured chemical cocktail of ingredients. It is not natural and is not even really “soap.” They are nothing more than detergents in disguise.

    Here is what the FDA has to say:

    “Today there are very few true soaps on the market. Most body cleansers, both liquid and solid, are actually synthetic detergent products. Detergent cleansers are popular because they make suds easily in water and don't form gummy deposits. Some of these detergent products are actually marketed as "soap" but are not true soap according to the regulatory definition of the word.” Source

    2. Natural Soap is Made With Natural Ingredients

    The very best reason to use natural soap is the ingredients. A product is only as good as the ingredients used to make it. 

    OUR skin-nourishing ingredients are USDA Certified Organic, sustainably produced, cruelty-free, and ethically traded.

    Harnessing the Power of Nature we make each soap bar unique by adding a variety of organic butters, purifying natural clays, organic herbs, seeds, grains, spices, flowers, vegetables, fruits, chocolate, and pure botanical essential oils to provide natural color, aromatherapy, texture, and gentle exfoliation.

    3. Natural Soap Is NOT Made With...

    • synthetic ingredients
    • artificial fragrances or perfumes
    • artificial colors
    • detergents
    • synthetic preservatives

    Our soap bars contain only the ingredients that they need—no extra preservatives that liquid body washes or commercial bar "soaps" require to increase their shelf life to years, and no foam boosters to make them lather.

    4. Natural Soaps Are Moisturizing

    Organic Jojoba & Coconut Oils

    Sadly many people have the misguided perception that all bar soaps will dry your skin. The problem is that most commercial bar “soaps” are detergents and not real soap.

    So why are natural soaps so moisturizing? Of course, it's the ingredients! Natural soap made of pure ingredients derived directly from nature is a rare find these days. Here are a few other reasons. 


    Superfatting is the process of adding extra fats (oils or butters) when formulating a soap recipe so there is more fat in the mixture than the lye can react with during the chemical reaction. This process creates a more hydrating bar with superior moisturizing and emollient qualities.

    Our soap bars are formulated with lots of extra plant oils and butters. We superfat our bars at a higher rate than most soapmakers.

    Natural Glycerin

    Glycerin is not added to a natural handmade soap recipe – it is created during the natural soap making process called saponification. Once saponification is complete, the ingredients have combined and chemically changed into soap, glycerin, and a bit of water.

    Glycerin, a precious and gentle emollient, is a humectant that draws moisture from the air to the skin creating a moisturizing protective layer.

    Commercial soap manufacturers remove the glycerin from their soaps because excess glycerin decreases the shelf-life of soap and they can sell the glycerin or use it in products that command a higher price like the lotion.

    Think about it! Commercial soap companies remove the moisturizing ingredient (the glycerin) which in turn creates a soap that dries your skin and then they use the glycerin they removed to sell you a skin-moisturizing lotion. Quite an ingenious profit-making strategy!

    Thus skin-nourishing ingredients, plus superfatting and natural saponification create a soap bar full of moisturizing, natural oils, and natural glycerin.


    5. Scented Natural Soap Provides Real Aromatherapy

    Natural Organic Aromatherapy Lavender Soap

    Our scented natural soaps are made with pure essential oils, not fragrance oils, and offer aromatherapeutic benefits.

    Fragrance oils, whether artificially created or derived from natural components, may duplicate the smell of a flower or herb, but they do not offer the therapeutic advantages of essential oils. 

    Furthermore, the generic term, “fragrance” or “parfum” on a label can indicate the presence of up to 3,000 separate ingredients and the FDA does not require companies to disclose what is in a “fragrance,” because it is considered a “trade secret.”

    BLOG: Why We Use Only Real Plant Essential Oils

    6. Natural Soap Helps Maintain Healthy Skin

    The body’s largest organ, our skin, is incredibly porous and absorbent. How we treat our skin can have a major impact on our overall health as well as the look and feel of our skin.

    Everyone wants healthy skin and our skin is not a fan of synthetic chemicals. I cannot count how many times customers have told us that our natural soap has not only helped improve their skin but has improved their lives by relieving itchiness and dryness, and easing irritated skin conditions such as eczema and acne.

    7. Natural Soap Provides Rich Lather Without Synthetic Foam Boosters

    People absolutely love bubbly lather. The foam, bubbles, and lather we know and love from commercial liquid and bar soaps are produced by surfactants--synthetic foam boosters, lathering agents, and detergents.

    A properly formulated and cured bar of natural soap needs no synthetic additives to create a lather or to clean because natural soap is a natural surfactant. So it not only makes great bubbles and lather, but it also helps clean oily dirt from your skin--naturally!

    BLOG: "How Does Natural Soap Create Lather?"


    8. Natural Soap is Economical

    Some consumers are put off by the cost of handmade soap. You probably look at a bar of natural soap and wonder why it costs more. I mean, soap is soap, right? Both bars clean your skin, right?

    While I may agree that both bars clean the skin, the similarity goes no further. Simply put, commercial soaps contain synthetic ingredients that are very cheap to produce in a lab.

    If you use a liquid body wash the main ingredient is water. You pay for water. A properly cured soap bar has very little water remaining, meaning you are getting exactly what you pay for.

    I believe that old saying, "You get what you pay for," rings true when comparing a handmade bar of a natural soap to a commercial brand!

    BLOG: "The True Cost of Commercial Soap"


    9. Natural Soap Has a Smaller Environmental Impact

    It may seem odd that a product we use to keep our bodies clean is doing quite the opposite for our environment.

    If you are not using a natural soap, as you take a bath or shower you coat your skin with synthetic compounds like fragrances, dyes, preservatives, and detergents. These synthetic ingredients wash down our drains into our septic fields or water treatment facilities. Now imagine the millions of people who use these soaps each day.

    Also, if you use a liquid body wash, how many plastic bottles and pumps do you dispose of in a single year?

    10. Natural Soaps are Unique

    Natural Organic Soap Chocolate Honey

    I make handmade natural soap. I did not invent anything new.

    But what I know is that our natural soap is made in small batches by people who have a passion as well as a mission for making natural products.

    For me, soapmaking is a synergy of science and art that took years to perfect. It is a labor of love. I take the time to create wholesome soap recipes that do not sacrifice beauty or scent while incorporating amazing natural and organic ingredients.

    11. A Natural Soap Company Has Social Consciousness

    While I am sure there are some large commercial soap companies with a social conscience, natural soapmakers tend to have the utmost respect for the earth and all its creatures.

    Environmental stewardship is not a buzzword for us. It is not a talking point, not a political stance nor is it about optics!

    At Chagrin Valley it is our practice to use raw materials that are sourced in an environmentally and ethically responsible manner.

    • We use organic ingredients which supports organic farming
    • We are Leaping Bunny Certified--Cruelty-Free
    • Our palm oil and other ingredients are certified sustainable
    • We buy Fair Trade whenever possible
    • Our products are biodegradable and minimally packaged with recycled and recyclable materials
    • Our packaging is over 99% plastic-free
    • Our natural ingredients will not add synthetic chemicals to our ecosystems

     Dedication to a kinder and gentler way of living is a big part of why we do what we do.


    12. You Are Supporting A Small Business

    Chagrin Valley Soap a Small Family BusinessIf you are holding this soap in your hand, I probably don't need to convince you that shopping small business is important. Your purchase really does make a difference.

    When you buy a handmade bar of natural soap, you are supporting a small business that truly cares about and believes in the products they make.

    Small businesses are run by people - not by boards or stockholders. They are often entrepreneurs who bring a creative freshness into an otherwise regimented world.


    We do it all ourselves--from start to finish--from our hands to your hands--from our family to yours! Thank you!


    Before I conclude I would like to add one final reason to the question of "Why You Should Switch To Natural Soap Bars."

    The simplest answer is, Why Not?

    From its composition to its benefits for the skin and health, to its impact on the environment, natural soap is very different from commercial liquid “soap,” bar “soap,” or syndet bars.


    This list is a scaled-down version of a blog I wrote that shares the same name. For more detail please read our blog, “12 Reasons to Use Natural Soap"


    View Answer Page
    Which clay mask do I use if my skin is dry, oily and normal?

    Our face has different zones in which the skin can vary in thickness, texture, pore size and the number of oil-producing glands.

    Each zone may have very different needs and require individual attention.

    So, what happens if you have multiple facial skin issues, like dryness, oily spots, and blemishes?

    The answer is Multi-Masking . . .

    What is Multi-Masking

    Multi-masking is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of applying one face mask over your entire face, you apply different masks to different areas of the face in order to treat multiple skincare concerns at the same time.

    For more information please read our blog Multi-Masking and Targeted Application For Combination Facial Skin

    View Answer Page
    How Does a Facial Cleansing Oil Work?

    How Does a Facial Cleansing Oil Work?

    Natural Organic Facial Cleansing Oil Makeup RemoverA cleansing oil works its magic in two simple ways . . .

    • oil dissolves oil
    • skin with balanced oil production is happy skin

    1. The concept of the oil cleansing method is rooted in one of the most basic principles of chemistry, “like dissolves like.”

    Since water does not dissolve oil, if you wash with water you need some sort of soap or detergent. Think of soap as the middle-man that helps bring oil and water together so that the dirt and grease on your skin can be easily rinsed away.

    Oils are what chemists call lipophilic, meaning that they are naturally attracted to other oils, including the excess skin oil (sebum) that causes breakouts and the oil by-products found in most makeup.

    Even if you use water-based makeup, throughout the course of a day the makeup will mix with your natural facial oil.

    A facial cleansing oil will dissolve away the dirty oil and makeup from your face and replenish it with clean, nourishing oil that protects and moisturizes throughout the day.

    2. Using some good, natural, organic oil on your skin actually slows down its own oil production to maintain balance.

    There is a huge misconception that using any oil on your face only creates more oil, more breakouts and leaves an oily residue. For years commercial skin care companies have told us we need to remove the oil from our skin, especially our faces.

    The problem is that drying out your facial skin actually stimulates increase oil production--which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

    Our facial cleansing oil is formulated with a blend of organic oils and herbal infused oils that will balance sebum production and bind with the existing oil to unclog pores and cleanse impurities.

    Using pure, organic oils whether to cleanse or simply moisturize will help balance sebum (natural skin oil) production, protect skin and keep it soft, smooth, and hydrated.

    For more information please read our blog, "What Is A Facial Cleaning Oil? How Do I Use It?"

    View Answer Page

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    People with severe allergies—please note: If you have severe anaphylactic-type reactions to ANY of the ingredients in ANY of our products, please do not buy our products. We have dedicated soap rooms and product rooms that are kept meticulously clean, but we cannot guarantee against possible cross-contamination of individual ingredients.

    Chagrin Valley Soap & Craft is not responsible for any individual reaction to any particular ingredient. Each product description on our website includes a complete list of ingredients. People with sensitivities to any listed ingredient should not use the product. In case you are in doubt always try an allergy patch test and if at any time irritation occurs, discontinue use of the product.

    Medical Disclaimer

    The content and information on this website, provided by The Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Company, is for educational purposes only and is in no way intended and should not be construed as medical advice to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information regarding folklore or health-related benefits of certain ingredients is for educational purposes only. The information provided is not intended to prescribe or be taken as medical advice.

    The information provided is not meant to substitute the advice provided by your personal physician or other medical professionals. Do not use the information found on this website to self-diagnose any medical conditions or treat any health problems or diseases. If you have medical concerns regarding yourself or your family you should seek the advice of qualified, licensed health professionals. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

    This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

    Read our Full Medical Disclaimer.