Does your skin feel drier then the Sahara Desert?
Maybe flaky, irritated or even a little dehydrated.
Then chances are you have dry skin.
When your skin feels rough and tight, its natural to want to add more moisture.
But interestingly, adding to much moisture can be counter productive.
DRY SKIN IS TRICKY TO TREAT
You’d think soaking in a bath would be good for a dry skin.
But actually it can do more harm then good, disrupting your skin’s outer layer and depleting surface oils.
An interesting study carried out on dry skin, compared the water content of dry to normal and oily skin, and no significant difference was found between them.
In fact the suprising outcome was, that a healthy skin contains only about 30% water.
This is why I say treating dry skin on face is tricky, because in order to give your skin exactly what it needs, you have to realise that the frequency and consistency of treatments is super important.
A dry skin that produces little sebum, requires surface protection in the form of emollients, these ingredients provide a protective layer on the skin, allowing the barrier function to repair itself, whilst preventing dehydration.
Moisturisers for dry, dehydrated skin require humectants referred to as hydrohilic agents, they attract water and bind moisture to the skins cells.
Humectants and emollients work in unison; emollients guard against evaporation, whilst humectants attract moisture to the skin.
Different combinations and concentrations of emollients and humectants, work for different skin types.
For instance, a product designed for an oil dry skin will be thick and heavy, this is due to the rich emollient content and will usually be in the form of a cream, whilst a lighter lotion will be required for a dehydrated, combination skin.
DRY SKIN TREATMENT
This is the skincare routine I recommend for my clients.
Sunscreen: Wear sunscreen religiously, many dry skin concerns stem from cumulative sun exposure.
Cleanse: Apply a cream based cleanser and gently massage in, this will help to break down the stubborn make up bonds.
The best technique is to wet your skin with tepid water, because a damp skin will help to seal in valuable ingredients, next gently remove with a damp muslin cloth so you don’t cause friction.
Tone: To prepare the skin for much needed moisture, spray the skin with a nonalcoholic toner, preferably one full of lovely humectants and gently pat your skin dry.
Moisturise: What your dry skin now requires is barrier-repairing ingredients, so it can sustain a healthy water balance.
A good moisturiser will help to reconstitute the skins hydro-lipidic film, locking water into the outer layer of skin.
It will preserve your skins natural lipids (oils), trapping and locking water into the tissues whilst helping to increase hydration.
Exfoliant: Gentle stimulation of the cell renewal cycle, will promote healthy function of your skins cells.
Dry skin requires help with this process, a gentle exfoliant containing alpha hydroxy acids, will gently buff away dead skin cells, improving hydration and the natural production of intercellular lipids.
Treating dry skin on face is not easy, but a well-formulated AHA product will help to gently loosen stubborn skin cells, removing cellular build up and replacing them with newer, smoother ones.
Be sure to only use gentle exfoliants, nothing that uses irregular abrasive grains that may cause inflammation and damage the skin.
Serums: These offer your skin an additional layer of moisturisation and protection, I like to refer to them as layering, which is perfect for treating dry skin on face.
The other great thing about serums is that they are water based, so the ingredients go straight to the source.
Masks: A hydrating algae or gel based mask, again loaded with lovely water loving humectants is perfect for soothing a dry, irritated skin.
Oils: For smooth supple skin a good night oil will become your new best friend, plantascription for dry skin lists the oils for this skin type.
WHAT NOT TO DO
The key is to bring your barrier function back into balance, this you can do by avoiding the following:
- Avoid products with high or low pHs.
- Rough scrubs with irregular balls, will cause tiny micro tears in the skin
- Never over stimulate your skin with astringents or alcohol based ingredients
- Avoid harsh cleansing ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate, dry skin can be sensitive to contact irritants
- Irritating fragrances and essential oils, including peppermint, citrus and eucalyptus will dry your skin
- Treating dry skin on face also means that soap must be off limits, this is because of it’s high pH which strips the skin’s barrier, and impairs the acid mantle
After bathing your skin dries out quickly because moisture evaporates into dry air, so be sure to apply a moisturiser immediately after taking a bath or shower, which will help to seal in that much needed moisture, rather than it evaporating.
For your body use a good combination of hyaluronic acid and emollients, an alpha hydroxy acid such as glycolic or lactic acid, will help to slouch off dead skin cells and flakiness.