(Published in The Quint: http://www.thequint.com/life/2016/03/12/when-dry-skin-isnt-just-a-winter-problem-here-are-6-remedies )
If your skin is anything like mine, you have surrounded yourself with hydrating cosmetics of all kinds. From your hand bag to your bedside table to even your gym bag, it’s that ubiquitous item in your possession that you just can’t do without.
The kind of skin we have depends on the level of sebum (natural oil) our skin can retain. The driest skin type retains the least amount of sebum, hence leaving the skin flaky and tight.
Being one of those cream-obsessed individuals (so much so that even my college roommates remember me with a perpetual bottle of cream in my hand), I have discovered a few things from my own experiences that people with dry, irritable skin can try, to somewhat ease their dry skin woes.
1. A New ‘Something’ Called Moroccan Argan Oil
It has taken the cosmetic world by storm. The benefits of this oil extracted from the kernels of the Argan tree endemic to Morocco, are jumping out at us from news articles, magazines, organic offerings and even doctors.
One ‘benefit’ in particular caught my eye: ‘Argan oil is great for dry skin.’ My interest piqued and I decided to try it out.
(Joyous with the results, I ventured to purchase Vatika’s Argan Hair oil and shampoo that have rejuvenated my dry scalp too!)
2. Remember Your Grandma’s Nivea?
I noticed years ago that my skin had developed an alarming resistance to the application of ‘designer’ brands of creams or sunscreens. I would break out into rashes or burning, irritable skin – just seconds after applying a new exotic product.
So I went back to the basics – the evergreen Pond’s, Dove, Nivea and Vaseline. I strongly recommend Dove’s Shea Butter Body lotion which is a permanent fixture in my life. With their combination of moisture-locking cream oil and hydrating shea butter, aloe vera and other natural ingredients, these age-old timers are the only moisturising magicians that can tame dry skin into quiet submission.
3. Make Up Woes? Not Any More
Are you constantly rushing to put on your ‘game face’ for the world? We don’t blame you, make-up can be a pretty great thing.
But it’s more than a little distressing if you have naturally dry skin. Have you noticed it getting even flakier after you remove your make-up at the end of the day? I have – and completely advocate a vigorous moisturising regime before the warpaint comes on. Beauty professionals swear by moisturisers and you can make a best friend out of any pre-make up cream of your choice: Vaseline lotion, Clean & Clear’s Dual Action lotion and Neutrogena’s oil free Moisture lotion.
These help keep the moisture locked in and thwart cracked and flaky skin.
4. You’ll Have to Skip the Steaming Hot Showers
There’s nothing like a good, hot, steaming shower at the beginning or end of a long day. We feel you.
But if you have dry skin, it’s best to keep these to a minimum. Hot water makes skin even dryer – so if you must up the temperature, make sure the water’s lukewarm and you’re using natural, gentle soaps.
5. Sunscreen’s Your Best Friend
Growing up, my skin didn’t exactly have its finest hour in the sun. Pun intended. The worst instances of acne and rashes can impinge upon dry skin on a day when you’re wearing no sunscreen and experience direct sun exposure. Leslie Baumann, MD, Director of the Cosmetic Research at the University of Miami has stressed on the need for dry-skinned people to reach for broader spectrum sunscreens that protect from both UVA and UVB rays.
You’ll also need to constantly reapply EVERY 2-3 hours.
6. The Right Diet’s a Clincher
Keep in mind that the food you eat also influences hydration. Fish like salmon, mackerel, anchovies contain omega-3 fats that protect skin from sun damage and cells from cancer. Avocados are rich in vitamins C and E and lock in moisture.
You’d also be better advised to sauté or roast veggies than to cook them.
For dry skinned individuals, orange and yellow vegetables like carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, mangoes and apricots need to be a part of your diet immediately!