Do you have that feeling sometimes that wearing the skin is the hardest thing to do? One day it is glowing and radiant, the next day acne uninvitingly pops up, or it feels itchy and dry. When the skin is dry, it looks dull, tired, lacking that healthy and glowy look.
What is the secret behind healthy and hydrated skin? What should we look for in skincare to prevent dry skin?
Skin - the hardest thing to wear
We all know what dry skin feels like - it’s rough, itchy, tight, chapped and flaky, sensitive, and in extreme cases, the skin starts to crack. The function of the skin is compromised, skin feels uncomfortable and sometimes even sensitive to the touch. Even the application of some creams and oils may be difficult or cause irritation.
Dryness, whether on face or body, can lead to premature ageing, and redness and inflammation may appear. With a lack of moisture in our skin, we start to experience the feeling of tightness, the skin is scaly, chapped and feels rough and very itchy. Some people may suffer Atopic Dermatitis, such as Eczema - their skin is extremely dry and may feel painful, very tight and rough, and leads to inflammation and intensive itchiness.
What are the typical triggers of dry skin?
When our skin is stripped of its natural lipids, the skin barrier function becomes compromised, leading to loss of moisture, itchiness, inflammation and flare-ups. There are several external and internal factors contributing to dryness, such as:
Excessive and unprotected sun exposure can contribute to loss of skin’s moisture and essential oils, leading to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, dry and flaky skin. Sun-damaged skin is one of the reasons for premature ageing. Long term consequences of unprotected sun exposure are wrinkles, dark spots or pigmentation, dull and uneven skin tone, and in the worst cases, damaged DNA or skin cancer.
To prevent sun-damaged skin by using SPF is always better than trying to cure already damaged skin. However, to help you reduce the appearance of sun-damaged skin, look for products that contain plenty of antioxidants and Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
“Skin hydration is defined as the water content of the epidermis and the dermis. The inner milieu of our body consists of about 70% water. Approximately 20% of water present in the body is accumulated in the skin, with 60–70% of this amount being accumulated in the dermis”. Proper hydration is absolutely critical to obtaining healthy skin." (1*)
We swear by a hot shower or long hot bath as incredibly relaxing at the end of the day, yet using hot water dehydrates our skin. Putting a heater or air conditioner on makes us feel comfortable; however, the heat draws the moisture out of our skin and dries it out. Turning down the temperatures and reducing the use of air conditioners can help prevent dehydration and skin dryness.
Harsh chemicals and skincare products
Frequent use and exposure to harsh products, such as detergent or chemicals, or using skincare products with harmful and harsh ingredients strip our skin of its natural moisture leading to dryness. Use gloves when working with detergents and choose skin and body care products made with natural and safe ingredients.
Ways to boost skin hydration
Dryness makes the skin look dull, tired and flaky with uneven tone. It actually doesn’t take much to hydrate the skin and make it look healthy and glowing again.
Cleansing dry skin
The first step to achieving hydrated and healthy-looking skin is clean skin. Use gentle cleansers containing ingredients that lock the moisture into the skin instead of drying it out.
Humectants are ingredients with high water absorption capabilities. Some of the humectants used in skincare for dry skin are honey, glycerin, urea, aloe vera and hyaluronic acid (also known as sodium hyaluronate). Hyaluronic acid is a humectant found in our skin, connective tissues and eyes. It has high water binding capacities, improves skin regeneration and helps reduce inflammation. (2*)
Emollients, such as shea butter, vegetable oils and squalane, are another type of ingredients that provide hydration and softening benefits.
Exfoliating dry skin
Even the best hydrating and moisturising products are not going to work without exfoliating your skin. All the powerful properties of the high-performing serums and moisturisers won’t penetrate the skin if they end up sitting on dead skin cells. After you remove makeup and cleanse your skin, the next step is to clear away dry, flaky skin built up on the skin’s surface.
Using mild natural exfoliators and soft dry body brushes exfoliate and remove dead skin cells without irritation, scratching the skin or taking away its moisture.
Once the skin is smooth and clean, it can absorb moisturisers and creams more effectively and allow them to work their magic.
Our soft jute dry body brush is an excellent exfoliator that does not strip your skin of its natural oils. Instead, they remove dry skin, remaining dirt and impurities with gentle care.
Moisturising dry skin
After you complete cleansing your skin, apply a moisturising and hydrating serum or cream. Choose a product that contains hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, so try to find products that contain it. As already mentioned above, hyaluronic acid locks moisture into the skin and helps maintain a healthy skin barrier.
Also, look for plan oils high in linoleic acid as they are great moisturisers too. Linoleic acid is the major component in ceramides (about 14%). Ceramides are produced by the skin to restore skin’s barrier function, help prevent transepidermal water loss, inflammation and itching.
Sunflower seed oil, prickly pear oil, rice bran oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil or black currant seed oil are just some of the oils with high linoleic acids. Honeysuckle extract is a must-have – it is anti-oxidant, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-oxidant, anti-irritant, and anti-bacterial, and may help with eczema and psoriasis. This beautiful flower is full of vitamins, polyphenols, tannins and catechins!
Apart from the above ways to protect your skin and improve hydration, a healthy diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants and drinking plenty of water helps prevent premature ageing and maintain your skin healthy and glowing.
SHOP OUR GENTLE DRY BODY BRUSHES
(2*) PubMed (US National Library of Medicine): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583886/