tips on how to treat dry skin in winter
Are you stuck on why your skin is dry AF, and are you unsure of the best way to get that moisture flowing? Let us help.
Dry skin can occur for many reasons like climate (hello, Winter!), lifestyle and even diet. But understanding the best ingredients to help keep your skin protected and moisturised can be tricky.
Check out our top dry skin tips to help you care and soothe dry skin.
What is dry skin?
Dry skin happens when skin loses too much water. While normal skin is soft, supple, and pliable, dry skin can look dull, rough, flaky, tight, and occasionally itchy.
Ideally, the outer layer of the skin should contain at least 10 %- 15% water to remain supple and intact. When it goes below this level, your skin becomes dry and worsens during Winter. Let us guide you through how to fix dry skin in Winter.
How do I get dry skin?
Our skin has a natural barrier, which prevents water loss and infection from different microorganisms. It also reduces sun damage and too much stress on the skin. This barrier has lipids that cement the cells together, keeping them intact. When the skin barrier is damaged, skin dehydration can occur, which leads to dry skin.
What are the top causes of dry skin?
We are going to break these down into sections - physiological and pathological.
Physiological dry skin
This includes ageing effects, climate, sun exposure and lifestyle. We've listed each in more detail for you below.
Our skin undergoes a wear-and-tear process we all know as aging - which can occur either chronologically or prematurely. As you get older, you will experience inevitable age-related (chronological aging) skin changes. As a result, skin becomes thin, with reduced water-binding capacity and a slow renewal rate, longer than the usual 2-4 weeks. Aside from dryness, the skin typically becomes pale and develops fine wrinkles as we age.
On the flip side, newborns are also prone to dry skin because of an immature barrier, making their skin thin and delicate.
Now let's look at external and internal factors that can contribute to dry skin.
Winter: The environment has a lower moisture content (humidity) than the skin during Winter. This means water can be drawn out from your skin, dehydrating it.
How this might look: Dry winter skin can have cracks that bleed and get infected; yikes! During Winter, it is essential to master how to treat dry face skin in Winter to avoid damage to to the skin.
Dry heat: Like the harsh winter winds, the dry heat can also cause skin dryness. Our skin also draws moisture from its surroundings, but little environmental humidity sucks water from the skin. On the other hand, too much heat can also hastens water evaporation from the skin causing it to lose water further.
Sun exposure: UV ray exposure without protection (hello sunscreen!) damages or kills skin cells, leading to premature ageing. It can harm our skin barrier, causing dehydration, making it dry and thick, unlike chronologically aged skin, which is thin. Photoaged skin is also sallow, with fine and deep furrows.
Central heating and air conditioning
Both tend to decrease the humidity of the surroundings making the air dry. This means they draw away moisture from our skin. Dryness can be more evident in areas with less active oil glands like our under eyes and the extremities than areas with more oil glands like the face, chest, back, and shoulders.
Tips: Keep tabs on humidity. Trying to maintain a normal humidity level in your room can help you deal with dry skin in Winter.
Using harsh skincare products and frequent scrubbing, rubbing, or washing the skin can strip natural oils and damage the skin barrier. These can also irritate the skin, making it itchy. Of course, we all know how hard it is to not scratch that itch!
There are common medications that can also cause skin dryness. These are oral retinoids (for acne treatment), diuretics, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and anti-androgens.
Hormonal imbalances such as menopause can cause dry skin. During menopause, estrogen levels drop, causing reduced skin hydration, weak skin barrier integrity, and impaired repair or recovery, leading to dryness.
Some skin conditions and illnesses can cause dry skin. They can be hereditary, like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, or acquired, like cancers (lymphoma), HIV, AIDS, chronic kidney disease, and vitamin deficiency, particularly A, B, C, and E.
How do I treat dry skin?
In general, dealing with dry skin is about being gentle to our skin and regularly moisturising it. In addition, natural oils are a great way to repair a damaged skin barrier.
What are the natural ingredients to look for in moisturisers?
1. Coconut oil
This oil can repair the skin barrier and has been proven to retard skin water loss. It can even improve pathological skin dryness, particularly in those with atopic dermatitis. Coconut oil also contains monolaurin, an antibacterial, which can prevent skin infections commonly found in dry skin.
2. Argan oil
The beauty secret of Moroccan women for centuries! It is not just used to reduce dry skin but also to enhance hair lustre. Application of argan oil can improve skin elasticity. It also has anti-oxidant and anti-aging abilities.
3. Jojoba oil
This oil is a close match to human sebum. This means it can act perfectly as an occlusive and trap moisture on the skin, preventing water loss, dehydration, and dryness.
Cuban Coffee Lip Balm
Moroccan Mint Lip Balm
Body Glow Illuminating Oil
Cleansing Body + Face Oil.
Rose Body Oil
4. Grapeseed oil
Contains a high percentage of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that is an important building block of the skin barrier. Linoleic acid significantly protects the skin from irritating agents like surfactants in soaps. However, those with atopic dermatitis, who have damaged skin barriers, are deficient in linoleic acid.
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