Only half my face is dry (combo girl here), but that’s enough to drive me crazy. My cheeks are ALWAYS thirsty and constantly demand I give them moisture. MORE. MORE. MORE. ALL THE TIME.
I can only imagine how much worse it is when your entire face is dry. How can you put up with it?!
Well, from now on, you don’t have to anymore. I’m going to teach you all the tips I learned during the years to treat dry skin, so it’ll stop being such a nuisance to you:
How Do I Recognize Dry Skin?
Maybe you have dry skin, but you don’t know it yet. Figuring out your skin type can be very confusing. So, here’s how to tell for sure:
- Skin flakes like a bad attack of dandruff, and why is it always so rough?
- You wish you didn’t have to wash your face, it feels so tight and uncomfortable afterwards.
- Inner glow? What’s that? You skin is as dull as dishwater.
- You’re no stranger to itchiness and redness.
- You develop wrinkles, and deeper ones too, earlier than your oily-skinned girlfriends. So unfair!
- On the plus side, your pores are so small, you’re not even sure you have them.
What causes dry skin?
Wondering why you have to deal with all those symptoms? That’s because your skin is damaged.
When the skin’s intercellular matrix (that’s scientists’ fancy way of calling the glue that holds your skin cells together, creating a protective barrier) is intact, your skin retains moisture.
But, when it’s broken down in pieces, this moisture evaporates. Even if you add it back in, it’ll still evaporate, because there’s nothing keeping it in anymore.
So, what damages the skin’s intercellular matrix? Several things:
- Central air conditining or heating
- Cold and humid weather
- Genes (yes, dry skin can be inherited)
- Harsh and irritating skincare products
- Unprotected sun exposure
And, it all gets worse as we age. When we get older, our levels of estrogen decrease, and this makes skin become thinner and unable to retain moisture well. *sighs*Dry, dull skin thirsting for moisture? This will do the trick. http://bit.ly/1XooSNN Click To Tweet
So, how do I Treat Dry Skin?
The key to saying “arrivederci dry skin” is to fix the intercellular matrix. When that’s whole, your skin can retain all the moisture it needs. Finally!
The catch? There’s no magic pill here. There’s not one product that will miraculously cure all your woes. Instead, you need to listen to what your skin is telling you and tweak your skincare routine accordingly. Here’s how:
1. Choose A Moisturizing Cleanser
If you insist on using foaming cleansers or, worse, bar soaps, don’t be surprised your skin always feels so tight after washing. They’re far too harsh for you, and, together with makeup and impurities, remove all the little natural oil your skin produces.
Cream cleansers, cleansing milk, and cleansing oils (my absolute fave), instead, cleanse just as well, but replenish your skin’s oil as they’re stripping it away. That’s why your skin feels so soft afterwards.
- Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser ($17.00)
- Yes to Carrots Fragrance Free Daily Cream Facial Cleanser ($6.99)
2. If you must use a toner…
(And you totally don’t) opt for a hydrating formula. Anything with glycerin and hyaluronic acid is a good idea – they kiss your skin with moisture.
Oh, and don’t even think of using astringents. You know, those formulas with alcohol or witch hazel and little else. They’re terribly drying.
- Clinique Even Better Essence Lotion Very Dry To Dry Combination ($32.00)
- Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner ($23.00)
3. Exfoliate the right away
There’s only one way to exfoliate dry skin. And nope, it’s not with apricot or sugar scrubs (those aren’t good for your skin).
I’m talking about glycolic acid. The star in the alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) family, glycolic acid effortlessly dissolves the bonds that hold dead skin cells together, removing all those rough and dull patches from your skin.
But, that’s something that every good exfoliant does. What sets glycolic acid apart is its ability to hydrate skin, and your skin needs all the help it can get in that department.
P.S. Glycolic acid also boosts collagen production. That means fewer wrinkles, lucky you.
- Derma E Overnight Peel With Alpha Hydroxy Acids ($16.95)
- Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% AHA ($25.50)
4. Use a hydrating serum
The best way to hydrate your skin? A serum with hyaluronic acid (or its close cousin sodium hyaluronate). You can find them in plenty of toners and moisturizers, and should use those too, but serums contain a higher amount of this stuff, so they work better and more quickly. Bonus points if they’re loaded with antioxidants and soothing agents (my best picks are 🙂 ).
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum ($36.00)
- Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum ($32.00)
5. Lock moisture in with a rich moisturizer
It’s not enough to drench skin in moisture. You only need to make sure that moisture stays there, and that’s hard when your skin’s intercellular matrix is damaged.
That’s why you need rich moisturizers loaded with occlusive humectants, like mineral oil and shea butter, that can create a protective barrier on the skin that locks moisture in.
The best ones also contain skin-repairing ingredients. This is the stuff – like ceramides, cholesterol, and free fatty acids – that makes up the skin’s intercellular matrix. By adding them back into the skin, you’re helping fix it.
- Arbonne Calm Gentle Daily Moisturizer ($36.00)
- Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol ($29.00)
Don’t even think of going without it. You know what’s constantly attacking your skin’s intercellular matrix (apart from harsh weather and irritating skincare products)? Yes, the sun. Those pesky UV rays give you wrinkles, dark spots, and cancer, AND destroy your skin’s natural protective barrier. So, pile on that sunscreen!
- MDSolarSciences Mineral Creme Broad Spectrum SPF 50 UVA-UVB Sunscreen ($30.00)
- Sunumbra Sunkids SPF40 ($33.70)
7. Avoid Irritating Ingredients
Harsh and irritating ingredients are another thing that can destroy your skin’s natural protective barrier. The main offenders are:
- Alcohol Denat
- Citrus oils (in high concentrations)
- Sodium lauryl sulfate
- Witch Hazel
8. Take short baths and showers
Man, I hate this one. I LOVE LOVE LOVE long, hot baths, but they are SO drying for my skin. Unless we’re in the depths of winter, I try not to spend more than 10-15 minutes in the bathtub or shower. You should do the same. I know, it sucks, but our skin will thank us.
9. Get a humidifier
My last tip is to get a humidifier. Low humidity causes dry skin skin, too. If you live or work in a place where the central hair conditioning or heating is always on, your skin’ll get stripped of the moisture is so badly needs. A humidifier will add moisture back into the air quickly.
When should I see a doctor?
Don’t panic just yet. Most people with dry skin don’t need to see a doctor at all. But, sometimes, dry skin can become red and inflamed. That could be a sign of dermatitis. And that’s when you should go to your dermatologist. You see, there are several types of dermatitis, so if you don’t know exactly what you’re dealing with, you risk doing more harm than good to your skin.
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