Autumn is here and the weather is getting colder and colder. Not only is dry skin uncomfortable, but it also makes your skin look dull, aged, and steals your glow. Cold weather is one of the main causes of dry skin, but there are ways to replace the lost moisture. Express.co.uk chatted to skincare expert for Doctors Formula cosmeceutical brand Diane Ackers to find out how to get rid of dry skin on your face.
Why is skin drier in winter?
Dry skin creeps up on us at this time of year and is normally a temporary condition.
Dry skin, also known as xerosis, is most likely caused by lower temperature and humidity levels.
On top of that, during winter we often turn on our central heating and light our fires, and this reduces humidity and dries out our skin.
Diane explained: “It’s all to do with the change in moisture in the air, central heating, the cooler windy weather and your skins natural response signals.
“We think of winter as being wet, but in actual fact there is less humidity in the air.
“The result, moisture is drawn away from the skin, then combine that with central heating, fluctuating temperatures from the cosy warmth inside to the coldness outside, and our skin is in constant temperature fluctuation.
“Blood circulation can reduce and our pore’s can constrict, slowing sebum production – the natural oil within the skin.”
How to get rid of dry skin on face: Dry skin is normally not a big issue
How to get rid of dry skin on face: Dry skin is often, red, tight, rough, itchy, and flaky
What causes dry skin?
Other than cold weather, there are a number of things that contribute towards dry skin such as medication, hormones, and diet.
Diane said: “Dry skin is usually caused through a lack of, or slowing of sebum in the skin, our skins natural oil production which keeps skin moisturised.
“When sebum depletes, the skin dries out, and feels less conditioned, soft and supple than usual.
“Dry Skin can be caused not only via environmental aggressors and temperature change, it can be affected via medication, hormonal ageing and diet too.”
We all know that you need water to survive, but did you know that not drinking enough water can cause dry skin?
Diane said: “Healthy skin is most definitely hydrated skin.
“Drinking water is great, but consuming anti-oxidant rich foods, grains, protein and good “fats” all play a vital role in the health of our skin.
“As the largest organ of the body, it needs healthy sustenance, water alone will not keep skin luminous and in peak condition.
“Having a healthy, balanced and fresh diet has the biggest impact, so “eating” your water is key.”
Dry skin symptoms
We all know what dry skin feels like, but it’s important to know the symptoms in case what you think is dry skin is really a more serious condition.
The symptoms of dry skin include:
- A feeling of skin tightness, especially after showering, bathing or swimming
- Skin that feels and looks rough
- Itching (pruritus)
- Slight to severe flaking, scaling or peeling
- Fine lines or cracks
- Gray, ashy skin
- Deep cracks that may bleed
How to get rid of dry skin on face: Wrap up warm when you go out
How to get rid of dry skin on face
While a bit of dry skin probably won’t harm you, it’s important not to leave your skin dry.
When dry skin isn’t taken care of it can lead to the activation of atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema.
This is when your skin is red, cracked, and inflamed.
Untreated dry skin will often crack, and this allows bacteria to enter your skin and cause infections.
The Mayo Clinic suggests four tips to battle dry skin.
First of all, it’s important to limit water exposure.
This means cutting your baths and showers to once a day for a maximum of 10 minutes.
Long, hot baths and showers may warm us up when it’s chilly outside, but these will make your skin even drier.
You also need to make sure the temperature of the water is warm rather than hot.
When you leave the house, make sure to cover as much of your face as you can.
Wearing a scarf and a hat will protect part of your face.
When it’s time to wash your face, opt for a gentle cleanser rather than something harsh and full of chemicals.
Try Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser for dry and sensitive skin, or Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm.
If your skin is really dry, only cleanse your face once a day before bed to get rid of dirt and makeup.
If you cleanse too much you will strip your skin of the oil it needs and make your skin even more dry.
How to get rid of dry skin on face: Moisturiser is important when battling dry skin
Of course, moisturising your skin is essential during winter months.
Diane said: “Hydration PLUS Moisturisation is the key to rebalancing skin.
“Drier skin types should step up their exfoliation ritual then focus on a hydrating moisturiser, serum or treatment mask which helps to top up the skins natural water reservoir, whilst at the same time using an occlusive moisturising product, to replenish lost lipids, hold in water and repair the skins natural barrier function.
“When combined this will support the skin’s own repair process and alleviate dry skin conditions.”
You can layer your moisturising products from thinnest texture to thickest to really hold it in place all day.
Start with a hyaluronic acid serum such as The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2 percent + B5 serum to hydrate your pores.
Then, add a layer of broad-spectrum SPF moisturiser to make sure your skin is protected from the sun.
The Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defence SPF 30 by Paula’s Choice will hydrate and give your skin a healthy bronzed tint while acting as a defence from the sun’s harmful rays.
Finally, lock it all in with Weleda’s famous Skin Food.
This rich and intensive moisturiser works for even the driest and roughest skin and is totally affordable.
If your skin doesn’t respond well to any of the above advice, the condition may be more than dry skin.
The Mayo Clinic recommends seeing a doctor if:
- Your skin doesn’t improve in spite of your best efforts
- Dry skin is accompanied by redness
- Dryness and itching interfere with sleeping
- You have open sores or infections from scratching
- You have large areas of scaling or peeling skin