Arggghhh!! Dry, itchy skin.
If you’ve been struggling with dry skin for a while, then you’ve probably read your fair share of articles offering solutions. Some work, many don’t.
Then comes winter. In despair, you add more moisturiser. You’re hoping for relief. It helps a little, but you lament, how can you solve your dry skin issues not just in winter but forever?
What could I possibly add to your already long list of remedies with so much information out there?
It’s not like you’re going to stop sitting in front of the fire during winter. Neither am I. It’s not like we can all hibernate, although it’s tempting. I did my research it seems I can’t help you. Okay, hold up, that’s not true. Of course, I can. It’s just that in my quest and research for this article, I discovered not all the advice you’re going to find will actually help, so I thought perhaps a bit of myth-busting was required. Or what not to do.
I stopped and pondered some of this suposedly well-meaning advice. Some I found surprising some of it just had me rolling my eyes… So, before you go ‘changing up’ your skincare you might like to check out what I found out and what I know to be true.
Avoid acids and vitamin A? Serious?
So let’s suppose you hear advice like this. Please ignore it. Please. Although to be fair, I’m not sure what the author meant by acids, but I’m going to hazard a guess they were talking about Alpha Hydroxy Acids.
If that’s the case? No! If anything, you should be increasing the use of Alpha Hydroxy Acids, particularly Lactic Acid. Big time!
Alpha Hydroxy Acids, especially lactic acid, are brilliant in increasing the natural hydration in your skin.
Thank you, Cleopatra!
She knew the only thing to soothe her dry skin was milk, and yep, milk happens to contains lactic acid.
But wait. Bathing in ordinary milk may be useful, but using specially formulated products with AHA’s is what your skin needs.
Body lotions and moisturisers with a good dose of lactic acid will help you solve your dry skin troubles.
The skin of your body, especially those areas that get particularly parched and dry during winter, like your legs and hands, will become healthier, hydrated and resilient to harsh winter weather conditions.
As for avoiding vitamin A? Why anyone would avoid using vitamin A in the form of Retinol, Retinyl Palmitate or Retinaldehyde during winter is just internet nonsense. Your skin needs topical (vitamin A)! Every. Single. Day!
If you want healthy skin that powers through winter, keep up your allegiance to topical vitamin A. It will be a lifesaver for your dry skin.
Drink more water?
Yeah, sure, why not. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a hundred, bajillion times. Drink more water. Will it help your dry skin? Nope. Not really.
Of course, you should hydrate your body. It’s important, and if you’re working or living in an environment with the heater turned up, then yes, increase your water intake. However, it’s not the solution to dry skin.
A dry and heated atmosphere draws moisture from wherever it can find it, including your skin, which is why your skin becomes parched and dehydrated. The solution is simple. Put a bowl of water or humidifier in the room to put moisture back into the atmosphere, which reduces the amount of moisture drawn from your skin.
Are you avoiding hot showers?
Hot showers? Yes, of course, you should, this one is true, it’s good advice, but it’s just so lovely having a beautiful hot shower in winter, right? Okay, so here’s what you do. Let’s compromise a little.
If you can, turn the water temperature down just a little to minimise damage to your skin’s protective lipid barrier and prevent dry, itchy skin. But even so, the fact is, water alone is going to dry your skin. Hot or cold. There’s no escaping it. If you’ve ever sat in a bath for too long, you know what I mean? Prune, right?
So we compromise, and then we do one more thing because you need to solve the problem of suffering continuously with dry skin, not just during winter, but every day from here on in/out.
What’s the solution?
Prepare your skin before your shower or bath?
Firstly, turn the temperature down and don’t stay quite so long. Next, swap your usual body cleansing gel, cream, milk, or, perish the thought, soap for a high-quality cleansing oil.
I’ve looked around, and many of the body cleansers on the market have lathering agents, and even if the lathering action is mild, it’s going to dry out your skin. Avoid them.
And don’t worry, unless you work in a coal mine or some other dirty job like that, you’re not that dirty. Lathering up to clean the skin is, well, a myth. Try using an oil cleanser instead.
Ella Bache has a cleansing oil for the body that I love; it’s beautiful!! It’s called Floral Oil. Apply it all over before you hop in the shower, and it will provide your skin with a protective barrier and cleanse your skin at the same time. Perfect.
Just add more moisturiser?
Sure, you could layer up with richer creams, but that seems like a waste of product to me, and if you’re using a moisturiser with a lot of water content, it’s not going to do anything to solve your dry skin issues. Don’t waste your money or your product. Instead, invest in an excellent body oil or specifically targeted body moisturiser with AHA’s essential fatty acids.
AHA’s will exfoliate away surface dryness while stimulating your skin to produce more hyaluronic acid (your natural moisturiser).
Environ’s Body EssentiA is a complete solution to dry skin. Whether your dry skin is caused by seasonal changes in the environment or something more irritating like dermatitis, these products will provide remarkable results within a short amount of time.
Body EssentiA – Alpha Hydroxy Derma-Lac Lotion will provide Lactic Acid to slough away dead skin cells, activate hydration and prepare the skin for nourishing oils.
Body Essentia – Vitamin A, C & E Body Oil, once you’ve prepared your skin, you can apply a small amount of this oil all over the body. Vitamin A, C & E in a Jojoba Oil base will give the skin what’s missing. Once skin nutrition is balanced, the skin will begin to recover, and the vitamins will restore the natural protective lipids.
Body EssentiA – Vitamin A, C & E Body Oil Forte is one step up from the Body EssentiA – Vitamin A, C & E Body Oil for those who have a greater need to fortify the skin with essential nutrients.
Your skin is so dry and itchy; you’re practically drawing blood?
Ouch! Or worse, rupturing your capillaries! Ouch again!! If it’s gone beyond just a bit of dry tightness and is becoming itchy, red and sensitive, then you may need to see a dermatologist. You either have a genetic inability to retain adequate barrier function, or you’ve been stressing your skin out for so long your poor skin has lost its ability to repair itself adequately.
At this point, your medical professional might prescribe a steroid cream to break the cycle.
A short-term solution.
While it’s true, steroids will settle down dermatitis conditions, with long-term use, steroid creams thin the skin. I know, a catch 22 situation.
So, the short-term (a few weeks or so) application of a steroid cream will help, and once under control, try and move to barrier building creams with low water content. La Roche-Posay has two great products to deal with chronic dryness caused by dermatitis.
Lipikar Syndet for all-over balanced cleansing and Lipikar Baume AP is a body moisturiser to repair and replace your lipid barrier.
Your low-fat diet is ruining your skin.
Yes, it is. Anyone advising you on dry skin remedies should encourage you to increase the essential fatty acids in your diet.
Please don’t go all low fat on me now!
Your skin will suffer the consequences of a diet that’s void of healthy fats. You don’t want that. You want glowing, plump, luminous skin.
Your skin, along with every other organ of your body, needs essential fatty acids. Omega 3, 6 and 9 should be standards in your diet, especially Omega 3 from Fatty fish, flaxseed, cod liver oil, raw nuts and seeds.
You’ll have no regrets; you’ll be so much healthier, and you’ll most certainly have skin that can tough out the worst conditions winter can dish out.
If you take these tips and make them a habit, you’ll have far less issues once winter comes to town.
And now you?
Is your skin so dry it hurts? What have you found to solve your dry skin problems? Got a product you’d like me to review? I’d love to hear from you, or if you found this article useful, why not share it. It could help someone with terribly dry skin that’s just itching to sort it out. Or if you have a question just for me, shoot me an email over here.
See you next time.
This is Part 2 of my series on Dry Skin. You can find Part 1 here.