Is your skin flaky, itchy, scaly and burns when hot water touches it? These are all common signs you are experiencing dry skin and are what happens when the sebaceous glands don’t produce enough oil (or sebum). Dry skin can also be spurred along by other factors such as seasonal changes (the skin usually becomes a bit drier during winter when moisture levels in the atmosphere drop) and age (the older we get, the more sebum production slows). Along with pronouncing any fine lines and wrinkles, dry skin compromises the skin’s barrier function. Dry skin is not the same as dehydrated skin, dry skin is a common skin type while dehydration is a skin condition caused by a lack of water in the skin. Dry skin is manageable and can be brought back to life by following a simple nourishing skincare routine.
Choose a non-foaming cleanser
Using a harsh cleanser or cleansing too frequently can strip the skin of its natural sebum and interfere with pH levels. Avoid foaming cleansers, which often contain harmful sulphates and can leave the skin feeling tight. Instead reach for a rich oil-based or cream-based cleanser that will clean the skin without agitating the acid mantle (the thin film of sebum, amino acids and sweat which sits on top of the skin’s surface).
Don’t ignore exfoliation
Dry skin like every other skin type benefits from gentle and consistent exfoliation. Use a gentle AHA or enzyme-rich product once or twice a week to encourage cell turnover. Mild acids are a great way to gently remove the uppermost layer of the skin. Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) are great for dry skin. The gentlest option as they don’t penetrate as deeply as AHAs and BHAs, so are less irritating and also have hydrating properties.
Nourish the skin
It is essential to add moisture back into the skin with oil-based lipid-rich formulations. Incorporate a combination of targeted hydrating serums, thicker, heavier creams and natural face oils. Look for products that contain hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalane, ceramides, Vitamin E, glycerin, shea butter and plant oils. Apply while the skin is still damp for optimal absorption.
Eat your way to hydrated skin
A balanced, healthy diet will help you to nourish and hydrate the skin from the inside out. Ensure your diet is rich in good fats found in oily fish, avocado, cold press oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods rich in Vitamin E (essential for daily repair) and Vitamin C (stimulates collagen synthesis) along with an omega-3 supplement. Drink lots of water!