Do you feel a stretch on your skin all day or carrying a moisturizer in your bag a must? If so, dry and dehydrated skin is the name of this problem. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to your problem. Making certain healthy changes in your daily skincare regimen can ensure soft and supple skin. Let us get a better understanding of what leads to dry skin and how to take care of it.
What is dry skin?
Dry skin is a common condition, which occurs when your skin doesn’t retain enough moisture in the upper layer of the skin, known as the epidermis. Dry skin can develop due to certain lifestyle habits, medication, improper regime or weather changes. It is often temporary, but if not taken good care of, can develop into a lifelong condition.
Dry skin is characterised by one or more of these symptoms:
- Rough or scaly patches
- Redness or deep cracks
- Slight to severe flaking or peeling
- A feeling of tightness in the skin, especially after a shower
What are the main causes of dry skin?
Long hot showers and baths
The thought of long hot showers sounds surreal, especially during winters. However, water does not provide moisture to your skin, rather repels oil which leads to your skin losing its natural oils. Hot showers can cause your skin extreme damage. Hotter the temperature of your water, higher the chances are of your skin getting robbed of its moisture. This when added with longer time spent in the shower, increases the damage more.
During winters, cold weather causes your skin to become dehydrated. Besides, avoiding moisturiser may lead to an increase in stiffness and dryness of your skin, which makes it an easy target for infections and outbreaks. Keeping your skin moisturised and consuming a good amount of water daily is the quick fix for getting supple & soft skin.
Excessive indoor heating
The freezing temperature outside may tempt you to turn on the central heating inside your home. Unfortunately, central heating can be the most damaging factor for your skin, since it steals away all the moisture from your skin, making it appear blotchy, flaky and irritant.
Consumption of unhealthy food can have a drastic effect on your skin, especially during winters. It not only makes your skin appear extremely dry and flaky but can also lead to wrinkles and reduced elasticity.
Common dry skin myths and reality
The coldest season of the year is full of myths and fables. Krampus – The Anti-Santa, dwarfs, winter fairies, and what not. However, the myths and fables don’t just end here. It extends to some bogus skincare advice, clubbed with half information that gets circulated and is blindly followed without any factual evidence. Before we throw light on the remedies, let us separate some facts from fiction for your skincare.
MYTH: Those with dry skin should drink more
REALITY: Dryness in the skin is generally caused due to external factors like weather, environment etc. Drinking water and keeping your body hydrated is good for your health.However, it alone won’t replenish the moisture of your skin. This when complemented with an appropriate skin care regimen and products can deeply nourish and hydrate your skin.
MYTH: Overcast skies imply you can slack off on sunscreen
REALITY: Don’t let the overcast skies and dip in temperature fool you. Winter UV rays are as damaging as summer UV rays. They can affect your skin regardless of how cold or hot it might be outside. So, don’t let winters buff you from applying sunscreen every day.
MYTH: Thick moisturiser clog pores
REALITY: It entirely depends on the ingredients of your skincare products. Some ingredients have a higher comedogenic tendency that is likely to clog pores of your skin. The best way out is to inculcate non-comedogenic moisturizers in your skincare regimen.
MYTH: Exfoliating dry skin can worsen it
REALITY: Dry skin tends to turn flaky, which eventually increases the urge to get rid of these flakes by scrubbing them off. However, hard exfoliation will irritate your skin, leaving it cracked, itchy, red, etc. Instead, you should cleanse your face with a mild exfoliator or cleanser once or twice per week. This will help expedite skin cell turnover without causing skin damage.
Right skincare routine for dry skin
Your skin is the largest barrier against external impurities, bacteria and infections, requires proper daily care. By keeping your skin hydrated and moisturised, you help in keeping that barrier strong. As the season changes, so does your skin conditions.But that doesn’t hint at changing your entire skincare regimen. Maintain a proper skin regimen and follow it religiously, to empower your skin fight any condition all year long.
- Face cleansing
Cleansing is the foremost essential step of a skincare regimen. It aids in removing accumulated dirt, oil or unwanted debris from your face. Cleansing your face twice daily will help you maintain a healthy and soft skin.
Dry skin is more prone to redness, cracking and inflammation. If you are suffering from dry skin, then a gentle and mild cleanser will help you maintain the pH balance of your skin without causing any irritation.
A cleanser containing ingredients such as Alpha HydroxyAcids (AHA)works as a gentle exfoliator for dry skin.AHAs help to lighten skin tone by exfoliating the outermost layer of dead skin cells. This not only helps to improve the texture of your skin but also reduce wrinkles.
Toner is the second most important step not just for dry skin but for all skin types regimen. A good quality toner not only clears the dead skin cells, but also hydrates your skin by neutralizing and maintaining its pH level. If you have dry skin, a hydrating toner should be an integral part of your skincare routine.
Your skin contains the highest percentage of Hyaluronic Acid (HA),which amounts to 50%. It plays a vital role in improving hydration and producing collagen while maintaining skin elasticity. However, over time, your body’s ability to produce HA declines, and that’s where the need for Hyaluronic Acid-based skin care products (such as toners, moisturisers etc) arises.
Vitamin C is considered one of the key powerhouse ingredients for dry skin. Toners infused with vitamin C not only assist in maintaining skin’s pH levels but also refine pores, giving it a smooth, bright glow.
Dry skin tends to make your skin cells vulnerable. Incorporating a dry skin-based moisturizer in your skin care regimen will not only treat the dryness of your skin but also helps with any skin irritation. Moisturizer tends to lock in the hydration within the skin, making it smooth and supple.
As per several studies, ingredients such as Ceramide & Hyaluronic Acid are essential for people dealing with dry skin. Ceramide helps to plump the appearance while locking in moisture in the upper layer of your skin. It also acts as a strong barrier against bacteria and environmental pollutants.
Hyaluronic Acid assists in reducing the appearance of fine lines and signs of ageing which are caused by dry skin. Inculcating a moisturizer which consists of these key ingredients in your daily skincare regimen will assist you in achieving a soft, glowing skin.
- Sun protection
You might be sceptical to using a sunscreen due to overcast skies, but don’t let it coax you into ignoring sun protection. The sun emits two types of invisible radiations i.e. Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB) which are extremely harmful to your skin all year long. The UV rays are one of the main reasons behind premature ageing, skin cancer etc. This is why using a broad-spectrum sunscreen is considered the best precautionary measure from UVA and UVB exposure.
Consider investing in a sunscreen which is free from certain chemical agents such as oxybenzone and OMC. They are deemed harmful since they penetrate deep into your skin which can make it extremely sensitive and may set you off with an allergic reaction.
If you have dealt with dry skin all your life, and accepted that there is no escape, then these essentials are sure to show you a ray of hope. While we don’t make false assumptions that dry skin will be a thing of past, what we do promise is that living with dry skin will become a cakewalk with these easy measures. Here’s to healthy, hydrated, and happy skin, all year round!