Caring for dry skin is a tough job, ladies, but it’s something that needs to be done. I always describe my skin as moody because I have had dry skin, oily skin, combination skin, very oily skin, and now I’m back to having normal skin leaning to oily. Before anyone says anything, these changes took place because I moved countries (and continents) and was taking different types of meds which changed my skin too.
Throughout all these experiences, I have to say that dry skin was the hardest to care for, because it needs so much care constantly.
How do you know if you have dry skin?
Sometimes it can be hard to understand exactly what your skin type is. I love this video by Beauty Within, which I’ve talked about before in my blog, which helps you understand what your skin type is.
To recap, you have dry skin if:
- Your skin feels taut and tight when you wake up
- Flaky skin, redness
- More sensitive skin
Dry skin isn’t something that is transient; you can’t just apply some heavy duty moisturiser and expect the dry skin to magically become normal overnight. Dry skin has a weaker barrier function and doesn’t produce as much oil as normal skin people. You need to use products that will make up for this deficiency.
Is your skin dry or dehydrated?
First and foremost, dry skin is a skin type, not a skin condition (which is temporary).
Dry skin produces less sebum than other skin types, and hence, lacks oil, whereas dehydrated skin lacks water. To combat this water loss, dehydrated skin can actually produce more oil, so your skin might feel oily and a bit flaky at the same time (which can confuse the hell out of you)
To combat dehydrated skin, you need products that will draw water to your skin and keep it there, for example, Hyaluronic Acid, honey, aloe vera. These are called humectants.
Your skin can be dry and dehydrated at the same time and that is not something you’d wish for. You need to learn to take care of your skin type and skin conditions at the same time.
What makes dry skin worse?
There are several factors that exacerbate dryness:
- Diet – it’s best to reduce alcohol intake and smoking, remember to drink a lot of water, and eat foods that hydrate your skin
- Environmental factors can play a role too (in my case, for example). It is well-known that winters aren’t welcoming for people with dry skin, but travel and lifestyle changes can also affect your skin
- Not using the right products for your skin – I think this is one of the biggest problems. People are uninformed about the efficacy of products and what is good for them and what isn’t. This is discussed in more detail below.
SKINCARE ROUTINE CHANGES TO INCORPORATE
1. Adopt light exfoliation
If you aren’t already exfoliating, then GET ON IT! Or if you are, then great, just make sure you’re not using harsh products. Your skin barrier is already a bit compromised so it’s best to stay away from stronger acids, which can further worsen the problem. Opt for products with low quantities of lactic acid, as it hydrates while exfoliating and is less potent than glycolic acid. I recommend The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid 5% HA2%. It contains hyaluronic acid ad well and you can move up to 10% after a while if you feel comfortable.
2. Make mists and sprays your BFF
You need constant moisture headed your way, so gather your facial sprays and mists and keep them in one handbag each, for easy access! It’s best to go with mists that don’t just contain water, as that’ll make things worse for you. The water will just evaporate from your face and leave your face drier than before. My current favourite is the Youth to the People Adaptogen Mist.
3. Mask Regularly
Makss provide an intense boost of hydration and your dry skin would be very happy if you started applying masks (either sheet masks or cream masks) on the reg. A few of my favourites are the TonyMoly Snail Mask, The Body Shop Rose mask, Summer Fridays Jetlag Mask, and the Glow Recipe Watermelon Sleeping Mask.
4. Adopt more steps in your skincare routine
If you already have a 10 step, or even a 6 step routine, that’s great. I’m not saying it’s necessary, but it’s great. However, if you face your face and then apply moisturiser and that’s it, you might want to start including a few more steps. Adding more, thinner layers to your skin has more benefits than just having one thick layer.
I usually go for double cleansing, toner, serum, eye cream, moisturiser, (and SPF if it’s the morning) which is a modest 6 step routine but it keeps my skin more hydrated than just slapping on a heavy duty moisturiser.
SKINCARE INGREDIENTS TO ADD TO YOUR ROUTINE
If you have dry skin, you need to add ingredients that will strengthen your skin barrier, attract moisture to your skin, seal the moisture in your skin, and soothe the dryness.
1. Regenerating ingredients
Ceramides, Hyaluronic acid and cholesterol are all ingredients that will help reinforce your skin barrier that is a bit compromised already. I loved The Plant Base’s Quesera Ceramide serum.
2. Look for emollient rich moisturisers
Be on the lookout for glycerin, triglycerides (coconut oil derivative) and other emollients which will lock the moisture in your skin and prevent it from escaping. Oils and butters are also emollients, but be careful of which one you choose. Coconut oil and shea butter can clog pores but if they work fine for you, that’s great! My favourites are The Ordinary’s Virgin Marula Oil, almond oil, and rosehip oil.
3. Less potent acids
As I mentioned above, add some light exfoliation to your routine, and I recommend lactic acid. You can also try some other acids which are even less
4. Soothing ingredients
Ingredients like centella asiatica, allantoin, and aloe vera can help a lot to soothe your skin when it feels more irritated than normal (and that might happen frequently if you have dry skin).
Products to avoid
- Clay masks – they’re usually used to suck out the excess oil, hence, stay miles away from clay masks as they can also suck out the little oil you have in your skin
- High levels of acid – your skin barrier needs care and love, not intense exfoliation
- Astringents – please don’t
- Fragrances and essential oils – it’s best to avoid them as they can irritate your skin
- Isopropyl alcohol – or any other type of ‘bad alcohol’ for your skin. Just avoid it at all costs.
Some Questions Asked by You:
My skin gets dry throughout the day no matter what I use!
In this case, do you really have dry skin, or dehydrated skin? Some people can mistake dehydrated skin for dry skin.
Secondly, are you using the right products for dry skin (if you do, indeed, have dry skin)?
Are you exfoliating regularly and avoiding drying products?
If you’re not ticking all the boxes, I suggest you go through my article again and see what you can.
What’s the difference between dry and dehydrated skin?
Already answered that above! Check the beginning of the article.
Can dry skin be genetic?
If one of your parent has dry skin, then it’s more likely that you might have it too. But no, the type of skin isn’t based majorly on genetics. So don’t blame your poor mom or dad for your dry skin!
I hope this article helped shed some light on dealing with dry skin and do let me know in the comments below if you’re tried any of my recommended products and if I missed anything!
Until then, á bientôt!