Dry skin is often associated with cold winter months, but it’s a constant problem for some throughout the year. Your skin consists of various layers, namely the epidermis (outermost layer that prevents infection), the dermis (a sort of cushion for the body that also contains glands, follicles, vessels and connective tissue) and the hypodermis (which is not really part of your skin, but helps attach your skin to your bones and muscles).
The epidermis is also responsible for preventing from body from losing moisture. When this barrier fails (epidermal barrier dysfunction), that’s when you get dry skin. Moisturisers don’t actually add ‘moisture’ to your skin. They simple form a layer on your skin to assist your epidermal barrier and prevent moisture, which naturally occurs in your body from escaping.
Dry skin on your face can make skin look dull and older than it is and patchy-looking skin on your body can also be a source of frustration. With summer upon us, it gets trickier to hide dry skin, but with a bit of work, it can be remedied.
‘I recommend face washes that aren’t harsh and abrasive,’ says Thelma Mohape, a Sandton beauty therapist. ‘Products such as Dove soap have added fat to them which goes a long way in moisturising the skin.’
Mohape also suggests using milk on your face twice a week instead of exfoliating. ‘Exfoliating can make dry skin even worse, especially when overdone. One of the beauty secrets I like to share is putting a face cloth drenched in milk on your face. Keep this on for about 10 minutes. The milk helps to moisturise your face and if you do this two or three times a week, you will soon see a difference.’
Your office could be another cause of your skin drying; air conditioners can make a small problem worse. If you work in an air-conditioned environment, Mohape suggests using face mists as a source of rehydration and using a moisturiser suited for your skin type twice a day. ‘The Body Shop has an excellent vitamin E face mist, R99, which I recommend you apply twice a day while in an air conditioned room,’ she says.
Lamelle have recently launched their Serra range, which doesn’t just form a waterproof layer on top of your skin. It actually penetrates your epidermis and then mimics the structure and function of the various layers within the epidermis to trap your body’s moisture within the skin. The cleansers, moisturisers and masks are available selected medical spas from R150 to R495.
Mohape says most people enjoy taking long hot baths and showers but they don’t realise just how drying that is for the skin. ‘Instead of a steaming hot bath, rather go lukewarm. If that’s too much for you, I suggest adding almond or grape seed oil to your bath water. This will create a layer that helps to lock in much-needed moisture,’ she says.
When it comes to your lotions, go for richer lotions like medical creams or body butters. ‘One of the things I live by is adding baby oil to my lotion; this makes sure that I stay moisturised throughout the day, especially during shorts season.’
Don’t forget that drinking water also helps your skin feel and look more hydrated. So getting through the recommended two litres of water daily will also help your problem.
TIP: Don’t forget to make sure your feet are moisturised; dry feet can kill any outfit. Use a pumice stone or foot file on your feet twice a week and moisturise generously twice a week.