Dry skin guide to silky smooth skin

Combat dry skin

Dry skin occurs when the outer layer of your skin – the epidermis – is unable to produce the amount of natural oils needed to keep the hydrolipic film (the barrier that protects skin frombacteria and keeps in water) healthy. This can be a genetic weakness or can becaused/exacerbated by sun damage, water exposure or the use of harsh cosmetics. Oil production can also decrease with age, explaining the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. As the skin does not have enough moisture to bounce back into position. Check out these tips to combat dry skin.

1. Wrap up against the cold

Colder, drier air during the winter months means the water in your skin evaporates faster. Scientists have estimated that your skin loses more than 25% of its ability to hold moisture in winter, making it feel drier and tighter. You can reduce this by shielding your skin with protective clothing such as gloves and scarves while outdoors.

2.Use a humidifier

Spending more time indoors with the heating on also dries out your skin. In the winter, the cold air that seeps into your home from the outside has a lower humidity. Meaning that it carries very little moisture. You crank up the heat inside your house, which adds warmth but doesn’t increase the amount of moisture in the air. Running a humidifier in the most commonly used living areas in your home can help replenish moisture in the air that has been sucked out by the dry indoor heat.

Dry skin

3. Avoid overly hot showers

Hot water strips oils from the skin faster than warm or lukewarm water. long and hot showers can do more damage than quick, luke warm ones. Try to limit showers to no more than 10 minutes and avoid using bath sponges or scrubbing brushes that can damage and irritate the skin. When towelling dry, pat the skin rather than rubbing vigorously.

4. Moisturise

Regular moisturising is the most effective way of tackling dry skin, but some products are better than others. Use a moisturiser with two main ingredient types. Choose products to provide a barrier and stop water evaporating and those to draw water to the skin. Look for moisturising creams containing lactic acid or ammonium lactate, as these ingredients help seal moisture within your skin. The best moment to apply moisturiser is within three to five minutes of showering, while your skin is still damp.

Dry skin

5. Swap your soap

One of the most common causes of dry skin is harsh soaps, particularly those that promise lots of exfoliation. Soap is an emulsifier, meaning it strips away the moisture within your skin. Look out for Alcohol on the ingredient list – some are beneficial to the skin (Cetyl, Stearyl, and Cetearyl Alcohol), others can dry and irritate skin and should be avoided (Ethanol, SD Alcohol, Denatured Alcohol or Isopropyl Alcohol). Definitely avoid deodorant or perfumed soaps or soaps that contain alcohol – instead, try soap-free cleansing products such as Cetaphil or sanex, which contain added moisturiser.

6. Avoid woollen clothing

Some materials such as wool or synthetic fibres tend to irritate the skin and worsen dry skin – wear soft materials such as cotton. If you are prone to dry skin, you may be better off sticking to softer, smoother fabrics that allow your skin to breathe, such as cotton.

7. Stay hydrated

We tend not to be as thirsty during the winter, compared with the hot summer months, but your body actually loses water through the skin all year round, especially when you spend most of the day in a warm indoor environment. This makes it easy to become dehydrated without realising, which can contribute to dry skin. Drink regularly even if you don’t feel thirsty, and avoid caffeinated drinks, which will dehydrate you even more.

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