What causes dry skin, particularly on the face?
There are many reasons why skin becomes dry, but fundamentally it happens when the skin’s surface becomes aggravated and steadily dismantled. Genetics, environmental damage, your health, and lifestyle factors can also have an impact on dry skin. Some of these lifestyle factors include:
1.Alcohol plays a big factor in dry and dehydrated skin - this is because it is a diuretic so when you are drinking alcoholic beverages, you will lose more water than normal by going to the toilet more frequently. As a result, your skin will appear dryer, duller, and fine lines and wrinkles will be more visible. With the cold weather, it’s extra important to keep your system as hydrated as possible. Match each alcoholic drink with a glass of water to maintain your hydration levels.
- As the weather gets cooler we tend to turn up the central heating - as much as this keeps us cosy and warm, central heating is known to dry out the air that surrounds us. This results on it turning to your skin to replenish its moisture levels, literally stealing your skin’s hydration! Keep a bowl of water near your radiators to help maintain the humidity levels.
- Over-cleansing can play havoc with your skin - stripping it of its natural oils and unbalancing pH levels. After cleansing skin shouldn't feel tight, if it does this is a tell-tale sign you are overdoing it. Choose a pH balanced cleanser and toner to protect you skin’s defence barrier.
- Whilst eating a balanced diet does wonders for your skin, weight loss diets can often leave your skin in need of a little extra TLC. Depriving yourself of good ‘fats’ such as oily fish and nuts can leave your skin dryer than usual. Make sure you get lots of omega-3 in your diet or take a fish supplement to maintain moisture levels.
- Often dry skin can be genetic - ichthyosis leaves skin extra dry and scaly, almost like ‘fish scales’. If your skin is severely dry be sure to visit a dermatologist who can advise you of the best treatment for you.
What skincare routine steps are essential to combat dry skin?
For beautifully healthy skin use a gentle scrub (ideally an AHA exfoliant) once or twice a week to help skin remove the surface layers of dead skin - as a result it will appear more hydrated and healthy. Also, choose a moisturiser than contains lots of antioxidants to help the skin cells rejuvenate without stripping its moisture levels.
Are there any key ingredients we should look to?
Hyaluronic acid is critical in maintaining skin hydration, it is naturally occurring in the human body and works as a magnet for moisture - in fact, hyaluronic acid can absorb up to 1000 times its weight in water, this turns your skin into an absorbing super sponge – soaking up the hydration and effectively plumping out the skin.
Can diet help - or are there supplements that are good to take?
Yes, diet certainly impacts our skin on all levels. Try to get plenty of omega-3 from oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, as well as healthy nuts to really help support the moisture levels in your skin.
If you struggle to consume these in your diet the supplements are a great way of ensuring you get your daily dose.
Vitamin E supplements will aid in moisture and daily repair of your skin. Omega-3 acts as a natural moisturiser so any fish oils such as cod liver oil would be a fantastic choice. Vitamin C is also essential for healthy collagen formation so a great add-on supplement for beautiful luminous skin.
Anything we should avoid doing that might worsen dry skin?
Avoid soap, any products with harsh or skin-aggravating ingredients (such as alcohol, eucalyptus, and peppermint). Stay clear of any abrasive products such as cleansing brushes, harsh exfoliants, or loofahs, which can cause tiny tears in skin’s surface. Try to look after your body and health as much as possibly exercising regularly, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and keeping alcohol consumption down to 1-2 units per day. If you must drink, make sure you have a glass of water after each alcoholic beverage to minimise the dehydrating effects of alcohol.