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 across the web on the do’s, the dont’s and the why’s of dry skin.
Then comes winter. In despair, you add more moisturiser. Hoping for relief. A little, you lament. How can you solve your dry skin issues?
With so much information out there. What could I possibly add to your already long list of remedies?
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 just hibernate, although it’s tempting.
I did my research. I can’t help you.
Okay, that’s not true. Of course, I can. But during my research for this article, I discovered not all the advice you’re going to find will help.
I stopped and pondered on some of this well-meaning advice. Some I found surprising some of it just had me rolling my eyes..
So, before you go ‘changing up’ your skin care you might like to check out what I found and what I know to be true.
Avoid acids and vitamin A? Serious?
If you hear any advice like this. Ignore it. Please. Although I am not sure what the author meant by acids, I’m going to hazard a guess they were talking about Alpha Hydroxy Acids.
If anything, you should be upping the ante. Big time!
Alpha Hydroxy Acids, especially lactic acid are brilliant when it comes to increasing the natural hydration in your skin. In fact, you should be bathing in it, like an Egyptian, you know, Cleopatra style.
She knew the only thing that soothed her dry skin was milk and yep; milk contains lactic acid.
Thank you, Cleo! Great advice.
Bathing in ordinary milk may be useful, but using specially formulated products like Elemis, Nourishing Milk Bath will give you the AHA’s you skin needs. You might also like to seek out a body moisturiser with a good dose of lactic acid like Elucent’s Body Moisturiser with 12% AHA’s. Do it every day. The skin of your body, especially those areas that get particularly parched and dry during winter like your legs and hands will become healthier, stronger and moisturised.
As for avoiding retinol products (vitamin A)? Why anyone would avoid the use of retinol during winter is just plain ol’ internet nonsense. Your skin needs topical retinol (vitamin A)! Every. Single. Day!
If you want healthy skin that powers through winter, keep up your allegiance to topical retinol (vitamin A).
Drink more water?
Yeah sure, why not. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a hundred, bajillion times. Drink more water, but the truth is when the heater is turned up, and there is very little moisture in the atmosphere, yes, you’ll get thirsty, and you should drink up, but if you’re hoping a few extra glasses of water is going to solve you dry skin blues?
Nope. Not really.
You’ll get a better result installing a humidifier or failing that, keep it simple with a big bowl of water in the room. A dry and heated atmosphere draws moisture from wherever it can get it. Your skin will dry out. A bowl of water or humidifier will put moisture back into the atmosphere reducing the amount of moisture drawn out from the deep layers of your skin.
Avoiding hot showers?
Of course, you should, this one is true, it’s good advice, but it’s just so nice 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. This will help minimise damage to your lipid barrier and prevent dry, itchy skin, but having said that, the fact is, water alone is going to dry your skin. Hot or cold. There’s no escaping it. It’s just what water does. If you’ve ever sat in a bath for too long, you know what I mean. Prune, right?
You need to solve the problem of constant dry skin, not just during winter, but every day from here on out.
What you should do in the shower or bath.
Turn the temperature down, don’t stay quite so long and 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, even if the lathering action is mild, it is going to dry out your skin. Avoid them. And don’t worry, unless you work in a coal mine, you’re not that dirty. Lathering up to clean the skin is, well, a myth.
Ella Bache has one 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.
Well, sure, but that seems like a waste of product to me, and if you’re using a moisturiser with a lot of water content, then 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 and essential fatty acids.
You might like to try some of the products below to help sort out your dry skin issues.
Ultraceuticals, Ultra Revitalising Treatment Oil
And for extra AHA action, these body creams…
AHA’s will stimulate your skin to produce more hyaluronic acid. (your natural moisturiser).
If all else fails and you’re on a budget, there’s always the amazing, excellent-for-just-about-anything Coconut Oil or Butter. You can use it for cleansing and moisturising.
Your skin is so dry and itchy, you’re practically drawing blood!!
Ouch! Or worse bursting your capillaries! Ouch again!! If it’s gone beyond just a bit of dry tightness and is also 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 now your poor skin has lost its ability to repair itself adequately.
At this point, a steroid cream might be prescribed 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. A conundrum of the Catch 22 variety.
So, short-term (a few weeks or so) use of a steroid cream will help, but, then move on to barrier building creams with low water content. La Roche-Posay has two great products to deal with the dryness that leans towards dermatitis. Lipikar Syndet for all-over balanced cleansing and Lipikar Baume AP body moisturiser to repair and replace your lipid barrier.
Your low-fat diet is ruining your skin.
Yes, it is. Anyone advising you on remedies for dry skin which is worth their salt should be encouraging you to increase the essential fatty acids in your diet.
Don’t go all low fat on me now!
It’s not the way to lose weight, and your skin will just suffer the consequences of your low-fat efforts. 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 will most certainly have a skin that can tough out the worst conditions winter can dish out.
If you take these tips and make them a habit, you will 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 to share? I’d love to hear from you, why not leave a comment below 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.