Why are some people plagued with really dry skin while others get away with soft supple silky skin?
Some people are just naturally born with a tendency towards dry skin but environmental influences play a major role in most cases of dry, flaky skin. Healing dry skin on the face can be far trickier than it seems.
Before you start you have to battle dry facial skin on three fronts.
- First, PREVENT dry facial skin by finding and eliminating habits that might be causing or worsening it.
- Next, deeply HYDRATE the skin.
- Last, REINFORCE the lipid barrier.
There are various factors that contribute towards dry, cracked skin including:
Medications, sometimes they can make skin feel tight and dehydrated.
Alcohol consumption, smoking , caffeine and sun exposure rob skin of moisture and break down the protective lipid barrier.
Common products like whitening toothpaste can dry the area around the lips and mouth. Air conditioners and heaters can also aggravate dry skin.
The majority of commercial soaps on the market can strip the skin surfaces, leaving you with dry, cracked skin. Invest in cleansers that have added moisturizer and are free of fragrances which can be particularly harsh on dry skin. Even better, stick with a moisturizing cleansing cream and avoid any soap based products completely.
Use a moisturizing toner (no alcohol) after cleansing. Toners and conditioners prepare the skin for better absorption of your skin care products, resulting in far better hydration.
An effective moisturizer doesn’t have to be expensive. Look for one that has humectants such as glycerin, hydroxyl acids, or urea and emollients such as lanolin or mineral oil. Some vitamin additives appear to have a positive effect on dry skin including vitamins A, C, and E. In addition, always look for a product that has a protective sunscreen to shield against photo (light) damage which can further aggravate the problem. A minimum of factor 15 is recommended for very hot countries. Alot of people use complete sunblocks which are on average a factor 30+ but these can be too heavy for some and leave a whitish residue on the skin surface on very dark skins. Find the perfect balance for your skin.
Look for skin care treatments with both humectants and lipid barrier ingredients. Humectants are water-binding agents like hyaluronic acid that attract moisture to your skin. Lipid barrier ingredients, like ceramides, reinforce the natural protective barrier of the skin to keep moisture in. Treatments that also have “time-release” ingredients are helpful. Choose a rich eye cream (not a gel) and apply to the orbital bone around the eye.
Repeated exposure to water, especially hot water, can aggravate dry skin by breaking down lipid barriers that are essential to maintaining skin moisture. It’s best to limit the number of times you have a very hot bath per week and keep your showers and baths as short as possible if you have very dry, flaky skin. Switching to cooler water can also help to preserve the integrity of your skin.
Skin care tips
Remember the basics:
- Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to keep your skin well hydrated;
- Eat a high-quality diet rich in fruits and vegetables; and
- Limit sun exposure.
- Wash your face no more than twice a day with a gentle cleanser formulated for dry skin. Washing more often can dry your skin.
- Take short baths or showers and use warm rather than hot water. Use moisurising body washes rather than soap based products to cleanse the skin.
- Add a few teaspoons of olive oil to your bath.
- Pat your skin dry after washing. Avoid rubbing yourself dry with a towel, which can whisk away essential oils needed for moisture.
- Apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp. Heed the advice of many experts in choosing a moisturizer’less is more when it comes to the ingredient list.
Understand that moisturizers contain barriers, which keep water on the skin, and water binders, which whisk moisture from the inner layer of skin to the top layer. Look for ingredients such as glycerin, alpha hydroxy acids, urea and lactic acids (binders), combined with petrolatum, lanolin or silicone derivatives (barriers). You have a choice of hundreds of products. A dermatologist or other skin care expert may be able to advise you on your specific needs, but trial and error will probably be your best bet in finding the product that’s right for you. Pure oils such as almond and olive oil are great natural alternatives to body creams.
Aim for a comfortable level of humidity in your home or office. Too much heat or too much air-conditioning can rob your skin of moisture.
Once or twice weekly, use a re-hydrating mask to give your face a boost of moisture or invest in a Vitamin C mask to give dull dry skin an immediate glow.
Recommended Products: Germaine de Cappucinni Time Expert C (approx £42) & Liz Earle Intensive Nourishing Mask starter kit (approx £14)
Exfoliate, exfoliate exfoliate! Both your face & body. Use a good loofah brush while you’re in the bath as well as invest in either a very good exfoliator to use at home, or visit a spa for microdermabrasion treatments of a luxurious full body top to toe Hammam Treatment (Available at the Bnatural Spas both in Abuja & Lagos).
Recommended Products: Elemis Papaya Enzime Peel (approx £30)
Sit back, relax and enjoy soft, supple, well hydrated silky skin!