Moisturiser is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to keeping skin hydrated. If you suffer from dry or dehydrated skin, try these five additional ways of keeping your complexion soft and smooth.
If you suffer from chronic dry skin, address the following five factors to keep your complexion optimally hydrated.
1. Hydrate from within with good nutrition.
'You are what you eat' is a popular saying because it's true! A common cause of dry skin is malnutrition. Simply put, if you don't give skin the building blocks it needs to do its job, it can't.
Skin's main functions are to keep water locked in and irritants, bacteria, and allergens locked out. Dry skin struggles to accomplish both of these jobs.
While a balanced diet is important for many bodily functions, eating enough of the following nutrients is very important if you have dry skin:
- Omega-3 fats (found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines)
- Zinc (found in chickpeas, lentils, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts)
- Vitamin E (almonds, avocados, and kale)
Omega-3 fats are also referred to as 'essential omega fats'. Our bodies need them but cannot make them, so omega-3s must be included in your diet. These fats help skin stay healthy by increasing its ability to hold onto water. Omega-3s also have anti-inflammatory benefits, which is great for eczema or dermatitis.
Zinc is a natural mineral found within our skin. This mineral plays an important role in skin's ability to heal. When zinc levels are low, skin struggles to repair itself.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that defends skin cells from free-radical damage and ageing, which reduces skin's ability to hold onto hydration. This is why mature skin types tend to be drier.
Finally, be sure to drink around 2 litres of water a day. While moisturisers work to hydrate the surface of your skin, drinking water rehydrates the deeper layers.
2. Use a gentle, nondrying cleanser.
Out of all the products we use on our skin, cleansers cause the most damage. Facial cleansers are formulated to remove makeup, sunscreen, sebum, pollution, dead skin, and dirt. However, the top layers of skin, which keep hydration locked in, are oil-based.
This means that cleansers, by their nature, dry out the skin. For a chronically dry skin type, using an appropriately gentle cleanser is very important.
We recommend the following cleansers for dry skin:
- La Roche-Posay Lipikar Replenishing Cleansing Oil
- Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Replenishing Cleansing Oil
- Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm
- asap gentle cleansing gel
3. Limit sun exposure and always use sun cream.
Sun exposure, in addition to heat and dry air, evaporates moisture from your skin. Even five minutes of unprotected exposure to direct sunlight can damage skin enough to reduce skin's ability to retain hydration.
To keep skin as moist as possible, it's best to limit sun exposure and wear a protective sun cream 365 days a year.
For everyday sun protection on dry facial areas, we recommend:
4. Consider installing a water softener.
Hard water is very drying to skin and has also been linked to the development of dry-skin conditions such as eczema. Hard water has a high mineral content, and if you live in an area of hard water, you'll likely notice limescale in your kettle or around taps.
5. Make lifestyle changes.
Many everyday activities and environmental factors suck the hydration from our skin. Below is a list of the most common culprits that you should consider limiting your exposure to:
- Long, hot baths and showers
- Bubble baths and foaming shower products
- Chlorinated pool water
- Air conditioning
- Central heating
When you find central heating and air conditioning essential or unavoidable, consider purchasing a humidifier. Placing a humidifier in your sleeping areas will reduce the amount of water lost by your skin.