It’s that time of year where no matter how much moisturiser you slap on and on and on, your skin is just crying out for some TLC. We’ve all been there. Dry skin can be difficult to treat, but there’s more to it than just using a moisturiser and hoping for the best. Once you understand how the skin works, you can start to understand the processes of keeping the moisture locked in and what not to do.
Understanding dry skin
Dry skin is the lack of water in the epidermis (the most superficial layer of skin). The epidermis contains fatty oils that act as a defence and retain water. When these are removed, the skin loses water more easily.
How to treat dry skin
Exfoliate then moisturize
It seems simple but a lot of us tend to forget to exfoliate. Exfoliation removes the dead skin and increases your skin’s ability to absorb your mosturiser. So you’re not only making your skin softer but boosting the power of your moituriser.
The long-term effects of exfoliation can boost the production of collagen, so it’s worth working it into your skincare routine.
Don’t go overboard with the exfoliation, try it once or twice a week and see how your skin reacts. But make sure to moisturize daily. Particularly your face, which is often taking the brunt of the weather as it’s almost always exposed.
Your face might need a little more work because of this. Try gently exfoliating in the evening a few times a week and then applying an intensive moisturizing treatment that can soak in overnight.
Use warm, not hot water
When you wash your face or have a shower, try not to use really hot water. It can strip the skin of its natural oils, making it dryer and exacerbating any existing dry patches or problems. I can eventually have the reverse effect and make your skin very oily because the skin starts producing more oil than usual to try and replace the oil it keeps losing.
Have short showers
Following on from this, try to reduce your skin’s exposure to hot water. You don’t need to start having cold showers but just reduce your shower or bath time. A good rule to go by is how a heated pool would feel. It’s just warm enough that it’s comfortable but isn’t scolding. Keep a shower to about 10 minutes if possible.
Even though sitting in a bath might feel like it’s helpful in adding water to the skin, if it’s too hot it can strip the natural oils (the defence) and cause the water to evaporate.
Use natural ingredients
This one’s a biggie. Nasty chemicals can upset the balance of the skin and cause more problem down the line. Try to stick with products that are paraben, phthalates and alcohol free.
While some of these ingredients don’t appear to have immediate effects, studies have shown that long-term exposure to these points to a lot of significant health issues, in addition to the damage to the skin.
The goal is to get your skin back to a natural rhythm that is just enhanced by the products you use. Your skin will try and absorb everything that you put on to it so consider whether you want those ingredients to get into your system. You want to be confident that they won’t upset the natural order of your body.
There are ingredients that have chemical names but aren’t harsh or toxic to the skin, they’ve just been processed from their original state – and that’s ok. In essence, everything is a chemical but some are worse than others.
Additionally, some natural ingredients, like vitamin c, might be produced synthetically but is the same potent ingredient as it’s naturally sourced counterpart. It doesn’t come with any other nasties, it’s just been sourced more efficiently.
What products should you use for dry skin?
A great exfoliator to use is one that has a moisturizing element to it. The sugar scrub from Green People is a favourite because it isn’t too harsh on the skin and contains oils that soften the skin. Because it’s gentle, you can use it more often in the cold weather and don’t have to worry about irritating your skin.
When you use it, your skin is instantly so soft and feels so nourished. It leaves a slight sheen to the skin from the oils, which makes it look dewy and youthful. The oils also helped to prevent moisture leaving the skin too.
Use a general daily moisturizer or facial oil every morning – try using a hyaluronic acid first to increase the absorption.
In the evenings, use an intensive treatment like Green People’s Beauty Boost Skin Restore. The ingredients work to firm the skin, increase collagen production and delivers intense hydration. Once you’ve removed the dead layers of skin, apply the moisturizer straight away. It can then penetrate the skin and get to work.
Stick to this routine and you should see great improvement in your skin.
Photography: Rhys Herbert