Emergency solutions for tight, dry skin.
Tight, dry skin so uncomfortable it was cracking, literally! That was me a few years back. You see, I found myself in a situation that I was, to be honest, uncharacteristically ill-prepared. Hence, my skin, suddenly as dry as the desert in springtime, which, funnily enough, is exactly where I was.
But I’ve jumped ahead. You see, there was a time for me when packing to travel was something akin to a girl scout experience. As a frequent corporate traveller, I was prepared for everything. The solution to making constant travel easier? Two of everything. One for home, one for away.
I had a fully stocked travel case permanently in the ready. With all the essentials; cleanser, moisturiser, serums, face mask, skin boosters, toiletries, makeup, first aid, buttons, batteries…
But not this time. A trip to Alice Springs in Central Australia to visit family left me unprepared and my skin as parched as the landscape around me.
Humidity? 18 per cent. UV rating? Extremely High. Overnight chill factor -3 degrees. Skin? Dry, parched, itchy and red.
With my history as a constant traveller, you’d think I’d know better. Not so. I packed the absolute basics: cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen. What had happened to me?
It was so obvious. Yet, I found myself surprised when my skin dried to a crisp. After all, I’d travelled to arid locations before. Even so, this time? Not so resilient. My poor skin. An emergency mercy dash to the nearest pharmacy was in order.
Tight and dry skin can happen anywhere.
Of course, you don’t need to travel to the centre of Australia to find your skin becoming dehydrated. Dry winter conditions with too much time in front of the fire are guaranteed to dry out your skin. Likewise, in summer, overexposure to the sun can bring about unyielding dehydration.
And, should you change your skincare routine when the season changes?
If you’ve got a good skincare routine, then the answer is usually no. However, this does come with a caveat. You may need to tweak it or increase the frequency of some aspects of your usual routine.
What should you do when your skin feels tight, dry and dehydrated?
If you find yourself in an environment where the humidity is at an all-time low?
Adding moisture to your skin is not the answer; instead, opt for a facial oil followed by your moisturiser.
During times of low humidity, such as when you’re in a dry arid climate or just spending too much time in artificially heated or cooled rooms. A dry atmosphere will draw moisture directly from your skin.
Adding facial oils instead of a hydrating serum or moisturiser is a better solution and seek out an emollient moisturiser with low water content. And, if you suffer from chronic dehydration in your skin, you may like to read this articlehere.
Some may say, apply more moisturiser for dehydrated skin?
That’s a nice idea, but doubtful it will help. You’ll end up wasting your moisturiser and still suffer the consequence of parch dehydrated skin. You see, if you add more water to your skin when the air is already lacking in moisture, then the atmosphere will suck the moisture or water in your moisturiser back into the atmosphere.
So while it may give you instant relief, it’s not going to solve the problem. Even so, a good moisturiser is always essential.
There are so many great facial and body oils on the market these days, and it won’t be hard to find one that’s right for you. Even an inexpensive oil can do the trick during intensely dry conditions. I prefer oils with minimal fragrance or essential oils as, even though they may smell lovely, they’re not as nourishing and can irritate the skin.
A facial and body oil replicated my lipid barrier to retain the water in the deeper layers of my skin.
Look for plant-based oils rich in essential fatty acids, like jojoba seed oil, avocado oil, starflower oil, olive oil or even coconut oil. The level of heaviness in these oils will depend on the amount of saturated fat and the percentage contained within the product.
Check your cleanser.
Some cleansers will strip valuable moisture from your skin. However, if it lathers up, then it’s probably going to dehydrate your skin. Combine this with a dry environment, and you’ll have a big problem with dry/dehydrated skin.
Even oily skins get tight and dry.
You may be thinking your natural oil flow protects you from dehydration. Sometimes it does, but the oil that was flowing freely in the warmer months begins to solidify in your follicles during winter, leaving the surface of your skin much drier than usual; when the weather or environment is arid, so too your skin. So while you may not need a facial oil or heavier moisturiser, you would benefit from a niacinamide formulation to improve your lipid barrier matrix.
Hydrate your skin with chemical exfoliation.
It’s a good idea to increase home care exfoliation to make sure the dead cells on the surface of your skin are regularly cleared away and keeping your skin in good shape. However, if you’re going to increase your exfoliation choose a serum or cream exfoliant.
For example, you might like to try Environ’s Alpha Hydroxy Night Cream.
It’s also a great time to invest in a professional Lactic or Mandelic Acid Chemical Peel, not just to improve cell turnover but to stimulate moisture-loving hyaluronic acid in your skin.
You can read more about activating hyaluronic acid within the skin over here.
What did I do?
My emergency dash to the local pharmacy for a nourishing facial oil relieved my tight, dry and dehydrated skin quickly.
Still, it’s important to note.
Even though my skin was losing valuable moisture, it wasn’t moisture my skin needed.
A facial oil replicated my lipid barrier to retain the water in the deeper layers of my skin. Normally a well-formulated moisturiser for dehydrated skin will do this beautifully. However, when faced with environmental extremes, well, facial and body oils are your best option.
And now you?
Have you found a facial oil that you love? Need advice? You can find me here.
Did you like this article or know someone who would find it helpful? Why not share it on social media?
See you next time,