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How to look after dry skin

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In this article

How to avoid dry skin after the shower
Does soft water help dry skin?
What is the best treatment for dry, itchy skin?
How to get rid of dry, dull skin on the face
How to nourish dry skin on the face
How to cure dry skin on the face overnight
Should I exfoliate dry skin on my body?
How to treat dry skin with acne
Is a sauna good for dry skin?
What to eat to get rid of dry skin
How to avoid dry skin in the winter
How to use a humidifier for dry skin
How to moisturise dry skin in the summer
How to rejuvenate dry skin naturally

Having dry skin can be at best annoying and at worst distressing, stressful and upsetting. Knowing how to best care for your dry skin is key to keeping it under control and minimising flare ups, whether it’s on your face or body.

Dry skin can be caused by showering too often or for too long, using harsh products on your skin, extremes of weather and temperature and certain medications or lifestyle choices.

It can be tricky working out what’s best for your skin, so here’s our guide to caring for dry skin.

How to avoid dry skin after the shower

Perhaps one of the most helpful things you can do to care for your dry skin is learning how best and how often to clean your skin. Here’s our top tips:

  • Keep showering to a minimum, as water has a dehydrating effect on the skin stripping it of essential oils
  • Avoid baths, perhaps saving them for special occasions
  • Have no more than one shower a day, less if you can help it
  • Keep the water warm, not hot, as hot water is even more dehydrating
  • Avoid highly scented, chemical based soaps and shower gels and use natural ones instead
  • Try an oil based cleanser Pat your skin dry, don’t rub it excessively
  • Moisturise using a good quality moisturiser designed for dry skin, whilst the skin is still damp

Does soft water help dry skin?

Living in a hard water area can cause havoc with your skin. Hard water contains mineral deposits and heavy metals that can form an invisible film on the top of the skin. This means that the skin can’t breathe as effectively and can lead to dry skin.

Also, these minerals and heavy metals can react with the sebum that naturally sits in the pores producing a thick material that clogs the pores.

Not only can this lead to spots and irritation, it can also mean that applying moisturiser to dry skin is a pointless exercise. If the pores are blocked, any moisturiser will struggle to enter the deeper layers of the skin and will therefore not do its job of rehydrating the skin.

If you live in a hard water area (your local water company will be able to inform you, or you’ll find it on their website) it’s a good idea to invest in a water softener. This is a device that’s usually installed to your water pipes under your sink. Or, you can buy shower heads that soften the water as it comes through during your shower.

What is the best treatment for dry, itchy skin?

Like with many things, the best treatment for dry, itchy or irritated skin will depend on you, your skin and what’s causing your dry skin.

Our article on topical treatments for dry skin details all the treatments available so that you can decide which one might work best for you.

In a nutshell, keeping your skin well hydrated by moisturising daily (and absolutely after each shower or bath or after swimming) will help. As will avoiding harsh soaps and shower gels, extremes of temperature and not using astringent products designed to strip away the natural skin oils.

How to Get rid of dry, dull skin on the face

It can be tempting to want to exfoliate away your dry skin, especially if it’s peeling or flaking. But excessively exfoliating can strip the skin of its natural oils.

This oil, called sebum, helps the skin to retain moisture and stripping it away will cause the skin to lose more moisture. In doing so, it will become drier.

Keep exfoliating to a minimum, no more than once a week, less if possible, and only use a gentle exfoliator. Exfoliating agents such as glycolic acid and other alpha hydroxy acids may be too harsh if you suffer with very dry skin.

Use a gentle cleanser too, designed for dry skin, rather than using soap and water which is very drying.

How to nourish dry skin on the face

When moisturising, use a moisturiser designed for dry skin and apply twice a day. Make sure you don’t miss any areas – take it right up to your hairline, around your jawline and down your neck.

Apply moisturiser when your skin is still damp, as it helps it to sink in.

Sprays designed to deliver moisture to the face are a good idea for topping up moisture levels on the go or whilst at work. They can be used over the top of makeup and feel very refreshing and comforting.

How to cure dry skin on the face overnight

Sadly, we can’t promise you an overnight miracle for dry skin. But there are intensive moisturisers and masks that are designed to be applied to the skin at night to help deeply nourish and moisturise the skin overnight.

Using such a product two or three times a week can help to maintain the moisture levels in the skin. Make sure you wash your skin using a mild soap or cleanser with warm (not hot) water the following morning to prevent pore blockages.

Should I exfoliate dry skin on my body?

As with dry skin on your face, exfoliate the body using gentle exfoliating products designed for the body and don’t overdo things.

Dry brushing for dry skin is usually too harsh, so try to avoid upsetting your skin by vigorously brushing at it.

How to treat dry skin with acne

Acne prone skin can respond well to treatments such as benzoyl peroxide, retinoid creams and salicylic acid. But these can also have an unwelcoming side effect of causing dry skin.

Your acne may respond better to different skincare, so talk to your doctor or dermatologist about potentially changing your acne treatment if it’s causing you to have very dry skin.

Or use an alkalising skincare regime designed with the intricacies of acne and dry skin in mind.

Is a sauna good for dry skin?

Whilst the dry heat of a sauna is great for unblocking the pores and purifying the skin, they also cause excessive sweating.

Sweating without replacing those lost fluids by drinking lots of water before and after will lead to dehydration, which is bad news for dry skin. Use saunas with caution and only for a few minutes at a time.

What to eat to get rid of dry skin

Our diet is another important factor in caring for dry skin. Staying well hydrated by drinking eight glasses of water a day is perhaps the most important dietary factor.

Being well hydrated means that the tiny blood vessels called capillaries that provide all the layers of skin with hydration and nutrients are working efficiently. The more efficiently they can provide water and other essentials, the more hydrated the skin.

Staying hydrated also means cutting back on alcohol and caffeine. Both are known as diuretics, which cause the body to create more urine. You visit the toilet more often which can then result in becoming dehydrated.

Food wise, fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water which also helps to hydrate the body. So make sure you eat plenty – at least five portions a day. They also full of vitamin C which helps to keep the skin cells healthy.

Vitamin E is also good for the skin. Vitamin E rich foods include nuts, seeds, whole grains and avocados.

Omega 3 fatty acids, found in oily fish such as mackerel, sardines and salmon plus walnuts and flaxseeds are also essential for healthy skin.

Our skin truly can be nourished from the inside, so make sure your diet is rich in fresh, whole foods and that you minimise processed, high fat, high salt, high sugar foods.

How to avoid dry skin in the winter

Cold, windy weather can exacerbate dry skin. During the winter, do all you can to cover up from the harsh elements.

This won’t just keep you warm, but gloves, hats and scarves provide a physical barrier against the cold and wind. The face is more difficult to cover up, but when you’re out in the winter weather, pull your hat down low and wear your scarf up high over your mouth and nose.

Not only that, but spending a lot of time indoors in the winter can affect your dry skin too. Homes, offices and cars that have the heating on high dries the air. This means that the skin can only suck minimal moisture from the air, drying the skin.

Also, the air tends to be of a much lower humidity in the winter meaning that it contains less moisture.

Therefore, it’s just as important to stay hydrated during the winter months by drinking plenty of water, as it is in the summer months. Also, try not to sit too close to radiators, or have the heater in the car up too high or directed at areas of skin prone to dryness, such as the face and the shins.

Your skin will also benefit from a thicker moisturiser in the winter.

How to use a humidifier for dry skin

The dry air caused by artificial heating can be remedied by using a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

You can invest in a humidifying unit that plugs in, but these can be expensive to buy and to run.

Alternatively, you can hang wet cloths over radiators in the rooms you spend the most time in, to re-humidify the air. As they dry from the heat of the radiator, the moisture will rise into the air, making it beneficial for dry skin. When the cloths are dry, run them under the tap again and put them back on the radiators.

Or, you could double up and hang wet washing over your radiators. The effect is the same and you get dry clothes!

How to moisturise dry skin in the summer

Similarly, hot weather during the summer months can also cause dry skin to feel worse. Excessive sweating means the skin loses moisture causing dry skin conditions to flare up.

It’s tempting to keep slathering on the thick moisturisers if sweating is causing your skin to dehydrate. But thick moisturisers and sweat can combine to produce a substance that blocks the pores.

Blocked pores mean that less moisturiser will enter the deeper layers of skin. It will then sit on the skin causing you to sweat more and lose even more hydration.

Using a more lightweight, less intensive moisturiser, more frequently if you need to, will help.

How to rejuvenate dry skin naturally

How you look after your skin will depend on your skin. What works best for you, may not work well for someone else.

We hope this article has proved useful and will inspire you to perhaps look at the way you shower or what you use on your skin to see if it helps your dryness.

At Sönd, we fully understand first hand what it’s like to have problem skin. Our range of skincare for dry skin has been specially formulated to support and nourish the skin, and it could be the answer you’re looking for.

Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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