Is your skin feeling particularly uncomfortable these days? And you have no idea why it’s suddenly gone all tight and flaky? Your everyday habits might actually be making things worse.
Why is my skin feeling dry?
Your skin becomes dry when it is unable to hold moisture in. This can lead to an uncomfortable, tight feeling, and possibly a rough texture. Know what I’m talking about?
According to Charmaine Burgers, Medical Representative for Bioderma South Africa, “one cause is an alteration of the hydrolipidic film or lipid-barrier that covers the skin’s outermost layer.” This layer of healthy fats helps to seal in moisture. Another cause could be a problem with the cement between your corneocytes – the surface layer of dead skin cells,” explains Burgers. Normally these are packed tight like a brick wall but if the cement between the bricks is weakened, it can leave big gaps where moisture can escape and irritants can come in.
Do I have eczema?
It can be tricky to know if you just have plain old dry skin, or if you might be suffering from eczema. Essentially, a routine geared towards dry and sensitive skin will also work if you have underlying eczema. If you experience a flare-up, however, you might need to see a doctor for a cortisone prescription.
“One of the first signs of eczema is a feeling of discomfort,” explains Burgers. “During a flare-up you might experience redness, itching, and a scaly texture.” If you are worried, it’s best to head over to a doctor, who will be able to prescribe a topical treatment and a proper skincare regime.
Is my skin sensitive?
“Sensitive skin has a poor barrier function, and because of this, it will react to things like fragrances in products, as well as certain ingredients,” says Burgers. If you find that your skin goes red really easily after applying products, if you experience any tingling or itching sensations, or if you are noticing a patchy texture, you should rather swap to products that have been developed for sensitive skin. Remember that sensitive skin can also be oily — acne-prone skin is particularly sensitive. This skin type does, however, require different care than dry skin to prevent congestion and breakouts.
Are you making your dry skin worse? Drop these habits in the sin bin
Go easy on the exfoliation
So your skin is all dry and flaky, and the first instinct is to scrub-a-dub so that it feels nice and smooth again. I’ve been there. The problem is that you’re actually stripping away the little moisture that’s left on your skin, and thinning out an already thin skin barrier.
“Do not use a washcloth and opt for an ultra-gentle cleanser without soap, fragrance or parabens,” says Burgers. If you want to exfoliate, go for creams with urea and lactic acid instead, which will hydrate and gently loosen dead skin cells.
Avoid those long hot showers
I know, cold winter weather practically pushes you to linger a little longer in a steaming shower, or to dip into that indulgent bathtub. Unfortunately all that heat can leave your skin even dryer!
According to Burgers, “the maximum temperature of water should be around 35-36°C so that you don’t make the itching worse.” She also recommends you opt for a short bath or shower, 5-10 minutes once a day.
After showering, gently pat dry with a soft towel and follow immediately with rich creams and oils to replenish your essential lipid barrier.
Yeah, those heaters aren’t helping either
Air-conditioning and heating units, and even that comforting crackling fire, can all contribute to dry skin. It’s probably a better idea to wrap up in warm clothes and blankets than blasting the heat.
You can also try a humidifier
If you’re really keen on that fireplace (let’s be honest, who isn’t?), you can help to balance out the moisture in the air with a humidifier. This is a fantastic addition to your home in general if you struggle with dry skin.
Don’t skimp on sleep
Not getting enough sleep? This could be another cause of dry, tight skin. Poor sleep can affect your skin’s pH, leading to an imbalance and moisture loss. So make sure you are getting 6-8 hours of quality sleep each night.
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The Hydrabio range is specifically formulated for dehydrated sensitive skin.It contains Aquagenium, a biological patent helps the skin to generate its own hydration while restoring the skin barrier.
One lucky 9Lives reader will win a Bioderma hamper worth R1500, with goodies from their Atoderm and Hydrabio ranges! To enter, share one fact about dry skin from the article in the comments section below.
Competition ends 16 July 2018. One entry per person.
This post was sponsored by Bioderma