Now that the colder weather has set in, dry chapped skin can become a problem. When skin gets chapped, it can feel sore, tight and uncomfortable. Although dry skin can be a year-round problem, it tends to be worse during the autumn and winter. Dry skin can also be caused by medical conditions like asthma, or skin sensitivity to harsh soaps and detergents.
Most dry skin problems are caused by external factors. Some areas of the skin will be more prone to dryness than others, such as the face and hands, this is because they are the part of the body most exposed to the elements. Dry patches can also show up on other areas of the body, like arms, lower legs, ankles, thighs, abdomen, and the soles of the feet.
What is Dry Skin?
Dry skin happens when your skin does not retain moisture efficiently. Several things can cause this, for instance over bathing or skin exposed to low humidity. In cold climates, the humidity is low, meaning that there is not a lot of moisture in the air. The epidermis will reflect the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. Our skin loses around 25% of moisture through trans epidermal water loss - no wonder skin feels drier in winter!
Dry skin can be a seasonal problem or a life-long condition, if you suffer from it you will probably notice your skin feeling tight, rough, sore, flaky, itchy, cracked, red, and blotchy.
How to Care for Dry Skin
Very dry skin requires a special skin care routine to keep it healthy. Jade Dowling, senior beauty therapist at Recreate Yourself, told Harper’s Bazaar, “Try a good quality oil for the skin, like rosehip or evening primrose. These plant oils create a protective barrier between your skin and the elements while also adding moisture.”
When it comes to cleansing and moisturising, use a gentle cleanser to remove make up and dirt residue from your skin, then apply your moisturiser straight away to allow time for it to penetrate your skin before applying foundation.
Even if your skin is dry, it is still important that you exfoliate to remove dead skin cells. Choose a natural facial scrub, that is gentle on dry chapped skin. Using a scrub once or twice a week after cleansing, will help moisturiser sink into your skin better and make your foundation go on smoother.
Skin around your eyes is thinner than skin elsewhere on your face, making this area more prone to dryness and redness. Puffy dry skin around the eyes require a gentle but rich moisturising eye treatment applied as part of your morning and evening skin care routine.
Lips are another area that is prone to get extra chapped. Use a gentle sugar scrub on your lips to remove dry skin, then use a rich lip salve to protect against the harsh elements.
Your hands are constantly exposed to the elements, making them one of the worst areas affected by dry skin. Give your hands a treat by giving them a moisturising soak twice a week.
Fill a small bowl with warm water, add buttermilk or plain live yogurt to soften skin. Add a few drops of essential oil, lavender is a great choice as it helps to heal skin and smells lovely too. Soak hands for around 10 minutes, rinse and pat dry with a warm soft towel. Apply a generous application of hand cream, opt for one the doesn’t contain mineral oil, instead choose plant oil-based hand creams as these will keep your skin moisturised for longer.