For when your moisturiser isn't making a dent.
There are two types of people. Those wedded to the daily lubrication of their entire body, and those who make do with a slap of moisturiser on their shins on the rare occasion they have to get them out in public. Want to know the kicker? Dry skin can affect both types of people equally.
The weather gets a bad rep, too. Too hot and our skin feels sapped, too cold and... well, our skin still feels sapped.
But these factors can overshadow the real reasons for our sudden skin drought. If your extra layers of body cream don't seem to be satisfying your skin thirst, it could be time to look into other causes...
1. Too many hot showers
It can be tempting to crank up the temperature in the shower, but Rick Woodin, lead dermatologist at ZO Skinhealth, warns against this guilty pleasure, explaining that "excessive heat from hot water combined with body soap will soften skin and slowly begin to strip away its natural protective barriers."
"If you expose your skin to hot water for an extended amount of time, it's more prone to becoming dry, red and itchy," Rick continues. And before you jump in the tub, "baths can even be worse than showers," he says.
Sadly, the best solution is to lower the temperature, or keep showers as short as possible (around 10 minutes). And, if you're having a bath, add a few drops of oil into the water. “Also make sure to only use body soap in the essential areas only (like underarms and groin), and moisturise right after showering," says Rick.
2. Your room isn't 'moist' enough
Central heating in winter, or having your fan on during ultra balmy temperatures can sap skin of moisture. Charlotte Vøhtz, founder of Green People, says to try placing bowls of water near your radiators or windows. Or, invest in a humidifier – this way, moisture will be released back into the air and your skin can benefit. Especially in the bedroom where many of us spend seven to eight hours sleeping.
3. You've ditched fruit
The absence of fruit and vegetables can have a detrimental effect on our skin. The UK’s leading nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar, Dr Marilyn Glenville, explains “what we eat has an effect on the mechanisms that are associated with skin ageing. These benefits will be reflected not only in terms of good health but also in the condition of the skin." For instance, "vitamin C helps in the manufacturing of collagen," says Dr Marilyn, which is essential for keeping our skin looking plump and healthy. Better start packing an orange for your afternoon snack...
4. You're using a moisturiser that's too heavy
If you think your solving the problem by diligently layering up your face and body cream, you could be, quite literally, masking the issue. Many of us respond to dry skin by slathering on the heaviest moisturiser we can find. But Dr Rekha Tailor, Medical Director of the Health & Aesthetics Clinic, says this can do more harm than good.
"Thick and greasy moisturisers can weaken the skin’s barrier function and alter the skin's natural function of self-hydration. The skin becomes addicted to the use of moisturiser and therefore is unable to regulate itself. It is the skin's own self-regulation that keeps it looking youthful, therefore the need for the skin to self-regulate is extremely important."
Charlotte Vøhtz agrees, and suggests that if your skin is feeling tight or dry at night to instead use "a facial oil followed by a light serum." Or stick to a moisturiser that has a light texture, and don't pile it on too thick.
5. You're not drinking enough water
An obvious one, but drinking enough water is an issue that lots of us struggle to keep on top of. "To really hydrate well, the average person should consume approximately 2-3 litres of water per day", says Dr Michael Barnish, Medical Director for REVIV UK. "This is water and not tea, coffee, juice or alcohol, which actually dehydrates the body, meaning we may need more water per day to keep hydrated." So start sipping.
6. Your clothing or bedding isn't clean
We're talking about your Covid face mask recently (the same applies to scarves, hats and beanies in the winter) and your bedding year-round. How regularly do you run them through the wash? While they provide much-needed protection or comfort, the materials can also cause friction and harbour a lot of bacteria if not washed regularly.
"By wearing items of clothing so close to the skin of the neck and face, we are allowing bacteria direct access. These areas tend to be the most sensitive and prone to this", says Dr Michael. Not only can this further irritate dryness, but it can also cause acne.
7. You're skipping SPF
No matter what time of year it is, if it's light outside, that's because the sun is doing it's thing. And if the sun is doing it's thing, it'll be subjecting your skin to a dose of UVA that needs to be protected against. So, SPF is a year-round requirement, sorry.
8. You're not going to bed early enough
No joke, your Netflix addiction could be drying out your skin. As entertaining as The Real Housewives are, limit your episodes and make sure you hit the hay early for the sake of your skin's rejuvenation.
“Getting your eight hours a night promotes a healthy lifestyle, enabling your body to rest properly and your skin to repair each day. The body makes new collagen while we sleep", says Dora Walsh, Registered Nutritionist at mBANT.
“If you’re finding it hard to sleep, you can help your body to drift off by following some key rules: Make sure you don’t eat too late or drink coffee post-lunch or alcohol. And make time to unwind and take a screen break before getting into bed.”
This article originally Glamour UK.