With the Harmattan season somehow finding its way into February, people with dry skin must be finding it hard. Also known as Xeroderma, dry skin is a common skin type caused by the absence of enough water (moisture) in the skin’s upper layer (epidermis).
Dry skin can be genetic and also caused by environmental factors as well as lack of proper hydration. Dry skin can also be caused by using moisture stripping soaps on the skin, leading to skin dryness and wrinkles.
The Harmattan season makes it a lot harder for anyone with dry skin as it also works to strip the skin of moisture. However, do not be dismayed, as you can still fix this to get the moisturised and hydrating skin you have always wanted. To help you with hydrating your dry skin, we have sourced 8 expert tips to help you tackle skin dryness:
Start By Identifying If You Are Dehydrated
One mistake people often make is confusing dry skin for dehydrated skin. To clarify this, you must first understand that dry skin is a skin type similar to oily and combination skin, while dehydrated skin is a skin condition.
Dry skin lacks oil and is often flaky and rough, caused by genetics or environmental factors. Dehydrated skin is caused by a lack of hydration and is dull and tight in appearance. While dry skin lacks the oil needed to enlarge the skin’s follicles and breed bacteria, thus preventing breakouts, the absence of this oil prevents the skin from holding moisture, causing wrinkles.
If you notice that your skin doesn’t produce as much oil and experience flakiness and irritation, you probably have dry skin. But if your skin’s complexion is dull and your skin feels tight, then you might be dehydrated.
Stop Over-Exfoliating Your Skin
While exfoliating removes dead skin cells from the skin, allowing the growth of new ones, over-exfoliating can also strip your skin’s moisture. So using a facial cleansing brush twice daily, overusing retinol and acid serums cause even more damage to your skin’s moisture barrier, causing dryness.
Exfoliation generally affects the protective skin barrier, also triggering an inflammatory response in the skin, which stimulates collagen and elastin synthesis. Long-term inflammation and damage to the skin barrier could cause skin dryness.
However, this should not keep you from exfoliating at all, as it is essential to strip away the dead skin on the surface of your skin. Exfoliating is also necessary to ensure your treatments and products work effectively. Opt for chemical exfoliants over physical exfoliants.
Use Sulphate-Free Cleansers
When choosing face cleansers, be sure to opt for sulphate-free cleansers. Cleansers with ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium Laureth sulfate, or ammonium laureth sulfate are surfactants that dry oil from the skin after each wash, making them too harsh for the skin.
When too much oil is removed from the skin, the protective skin barrier starts to break down. This is because the oils act as the glue holding the skin barrier in place. As such, choosing a cleanser is one of the most crucial parts of every skincare routine. Once you cleanse with a sulphate-free cleanser, remember to also go in with a hydrating moisturiser to replenish the oil your skin might have lost.
Be Fast With Your Skincare Routine
One trick to reducing skin dryness is to be as fast as you can with your skincare routine while giving your products enough time to soak in. Once you cleanse, be sure to tone immediately with an alcohol-free formula and finish up with a moisturiser.
This is because leaving your skin bare for even one minute can cause your skin to dehydrate almost immediately. While making sure you do your routine in time, also remember to use each product as it should be used. For instance, use toners on damp skin and also moisturisers.
Use A Night Cream To Repair Dryness Overnight
While many people would rather let their skin “breathe” overnight, it is also vital that you moisturise at night. The skin repairs itself best at night while you sleep, which makes using a night cream very important.
Daytime treatments are not as effective as night treatments as the skin is exposed to environmental pollutants during the day. The skin’s permeability is at its highest at night, allowing the active ingredients to be absorbed deep within the skin,
Use A Humidifier
Using products is not enough moisture for your skin, in some cases. This is why you would also need to add moisture to the air using a humidifier, no matter the season. Using a humidifier adds moisture to your skin, allowing your skin to remain hydrated all night and also helping with any allergies or asthma.
Use A Hydrating Serum
To reduce skin dryness, your skin products must contain oils found in the skin. So make sure your skin products do not just contain hydration ingredients, but also oils.
Another way to reduce skin dryness is to make sure your moisturiser contains SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays’ damaging effects. These UV rays not only strip your skin of moisture but also leaves the skin exposed to other skin problems, including skin cancer.
Choose a sunscreen, or moisturiser with SPF from 55 for total protection.
Dry skin is not the end of the world; it can easily be fixed just like other skin conditions. Following this guide would help your dry skin be the best it can be, keeping it hydrated and moisturised.