Dehydration through natural moisture loss (trans-epidermal water loss) while we sleep, sun damage, lifestyle and general health and well-being can prematurely age our skin.
In both summer and winter, dehydration can be exacerbated by a number of additional factors. In winter, our skin is subjected to the drying effects of cold and wind. In summer, the effect of heat can also damage and dry our skin. So, we need to both prevent and treat our skin for dryness and dehydration all year round. Here are some tips, recommended by dermatologists, to help you relieve dry skin:
Avoid hot baths and showers which can dry skin even further. You can also close the bathroom door to retain moisture in the air. Remember to limit your bath or shower for 5 to 10 minutes. Use warm, rather than hot, water.
Be gentle with your skin as you go. Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free, soap-free cleanser. Avoid exfoliators with harsh microbeads (which also damage our waterways and aquatic wildlife).
Apply just enough cleanser to remove dirt, but not so much that you create a thick layer. Blot your skin gently with a towel to dry.
Avoid using products containing harsh chemicals such as alcohol, artificial fragrance, retinoids, or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHAs) – the latter which also makes your skin more sensitive to sun damage.
Apply an appropriate moisturiser. Moisturisers work best when they trap the existing moisture on your skin, so apply immediately after washing. Use fragrance-free moisturisers which are oil-free if you have oily skin, particularly on your face and neck. Ensure the moisturiser is sheer enough to be absorbed by the skin.
Essential oils are great for areas of your body which need extra nourishment.
Creams and serums are better than lotions, which can sometimes irritate your skin. Look for moisturisers which have ingredients such as shea butter, which contains healthy lipids (fats) which assist the skin’s elasticity and protects from environmental damage and free radicals; and hyaluronic acid, which holds moisture to plump and firm skin.
Don’t forget to also moisturise your lips – essential oils are also good for this, rather than a lip balm which can be irritating for your skin.
Choose non-irritating clothes and laundry detergents. Wear cotton or silk under your clothing, for example and use laundry detergent labelled ‘hypoallergenic’.
Ensure your environment is not too drying. Don’t sit too close to a heater or fire as this can dry out your skin even more. Add moisture to the air, such as using a humidifier.
Our skin is the largest organ in our body, so we need to look after it!