Every skin needs moisture, from young to old, oily to wrinkled. Some people are prone to having persistent dry skin which could be due to external causes such as living in a cold climate or occupations which require constant hand washing like hairdressers and nurses. Other common causes of dry skin include ageing, chronic skin conditions such as eczema or medications that cause skin dryness.
Moisturisers are the mainstay in caring for dry skin but here are some other helpful tips to help your skin stay soft and hydrated:
- Choose your soaps well
Avoid sulphates, such as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) or sodium lauryl ether sulphate (SLES), in your cleansers and soaps. These sulphates help to form a nice lather but they also disrupt the natural protective skin barrier. This leads to your skin losing moisture easily.
Amino acids are a great alternative as cleansing agents as they form your skin’s Natural Moisturising Factor and replenish the lost moisture. And best of all, they do not affect the integrity of your skin barrier.
- Moisturise immediately after washing
After drying yourself with a towel, apply a body cream or moisturiser immediately. This helps to trap any remnant moisture on your skin to increase hydration.
- Moisturise frequently
If your skin is very dry, carry around a bottle of moisturiser and apply as often as needed. This can also provide relief to parched, cracked skin throughout the day. You can’t overdose on a moisturiser!
- Evaluate your skincare products
Are your skincare products appropriate for your skin type? Very dry skin may require heavy duty creams as moisturisers instead of lightweight lotions. At The Skin Pharmacy, products can be customised to suit the level of dryness of your skin by adding in stronger moisturising ingredients
- Humidify your environment
If you are in a dry environment, be it artificial such as in air-conditioning or heating, or natural, for example in winter, invest in a good humidifier. Some humidifiers allow the addition of essential oils which give you the added benefits of aromatherapy.
- Stop the itch and scratch cycle
Dry skin is itchy skin, and itchy skin tends to lead to scratching which worsens the skin integrity. It’s important to seek help from a doctor or pharmacist if your dry skin is starting to itch. Mild steroids or antihistamines may help to break this itch-scratch-itch cycle and allow your skin to heal.
- Wear gloves
Don’t skip this very basic step if you are in a job that requires constant handwashing or sanitising. Wearing protective gloves not only keeps things clean, it preserves your skin.
- Keep a healthy lifestyle
Yes, smoking can cause dry skin too! And so can a poor diet and insufficient water consumption. So take care of your health first and the benefits are enormous!