As the autumn weather grows chillier every day, you may be busy worrying about the risk of dry skin. Instead of letting the brisk climate ruin your fall festivities, why not take a look at preventative measures?
Whether you experience dry skin in the colder seasons or all year round, fear not: you can heal dry skin at home. All it takes is a bit of research to understand the right products and home remedies for calm and comfortable skin all autumn long.
Dry skin starts with sebum: the substance secreted by the sebaceous glands to lubricate and moisturize the skin. Sometimes, sebum is stripped from over-cleansing or cold weather. Moisture can also be depleted when the sebaceous glands are compromised by stress, poor diet, or a pre-existing condition related to eczema. The two most common forms of these conditions are seborrheic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition caused by an excessive amount of sebum on the upper neck, nose, and scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis is known for its symptoms of red, scaly, flaky skin, with a slightly greasy appearance to it. While seborrheic dermatitis is most common on the scalp, it can appear throughout the body. Cradle cap, which is common in infants, is also a variation of seborrheic dermatitis – but it can appear chronically in adults, as well.
Meanwhile, atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. It includes symptoms of extremely itchy skin, redness and swelling, oozing rashes, and cracked, dry skin. While atopic dermatitis is especially common amongst babies and children, symptoms can continue into adulthood.
Very little is understood about the exact causes of these conditions. It’s been theorized that inflammation can be triggered in adults by stress, hormonal changes, and their environment. While there is no cure for seborrheic or atopic dermatitis, there are ways to treat these symptoms to get day to day relief.
Even those without skin conditions can have their skin impacted by a disrupted pH balance, overwashing, and exposure to dry air.
While every individual’s skin is unique, there tends to be a common group of factors that can trigger an adverse reaction in all humans. One of the most common environmental factors that cause dry facial skin is dry air, which can strip your skin barrier of its natural oils and, quite literally, leave it out to dry. The peak of cold winter weather can leave some with painfully cracked and bleeding skin that may require intensive nourishment.
#1: Turn Down the Tap
Sure, hot showers can be a great way to warm up after being out in the autumn and winter cold. During the winter, it’s recommended to take lukewarm baths and showers rather than hot ones. This is because hot water can dry out skin during periods of cold weather, which is especially true for those with eczema. When stepping out of the bath or shower, resist the urge to rub yourself dry with a towel – pat-dry instead.
#2: Use a Gentle Cleanser
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be someone with sensitive skin, you can still be susceptible to harsh facial cleansers. Surfactants and detergents found in facial cleansers could be the major culprit causing your dry skin – especially if you wash your face with them every day.
You could be disrupting your acid mantle if your cleanser is too harsh, since its chemicals can strip your skin of its natural oils. Keep an eye out for sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) in your face wash, as this ingredient will disrupt your pH balance and dry out your skin with continued use. As a general rule, steer clear of foamy cleansers; while they may leave the skin on your face feeling squeaky clean, it’s also stripping it of essential lipids.
Instead of using harsh surfactants, try a gentle cleanser like Puristry’s Nopal Cactus Cleanser. This ultra gentle formula quenches your skin with antioxidant-rich organic nopal cactus extract and B vitamins, while soothing with calming essential oils.
#3: Use Toner
Toner contains hydrating ingredients and restores skin’s pH balance, both of which can help heal dry skin. Always avoid alcohol in your toner,since it’s designed to completely remove lipids and oils of any kind. For best results pat your toner onto skin right after cleansing, while the face is rinsed clean and still damp.
PRO TIP: If you don’t use serum, follow up your toner with a facial oil. A little surface water on skin will accelerate moisture retention from a concentrated formula, like our Restorative Facial Oil. For extra dry skin, facial oil makes a great primer for your daily moisturizer.
#4: Moisturize Daily
One of the best ingredients for moisturizing is hyaluronic acid, which is a complex sugar derived from collagen that promotes hydration and plumpness in the skin. While hyaluronic acid is naturally produced in our own bodies, the production of it decreases over time, so topically applying hyaluronic acid a few times a week is a recommended step in not only delivering a burst of hydration, but as a preventative measure for anti-aging.
To get the most out of hyaluronic acid, apply it to damp skin and add your face cream on top to lock in moisture. Hyaluronic acid is not recommended for skin that is severely dry.
Ultimately, you should avoid products containing alcohol, and use a moisturizer containing high-quality ingredients. While you don’t need a terribly expensive moisturizer, it’s recommended to opt for products featuring organic botanical ingredients and natural oils, like Puristry’s Seaberry Moisturizer. If you have dry skin on your body, try natural moisture replenishers like coconut oil, shea butter, and aloe vera.
Keep in mind that no matter the severity, dry skin is treatable and happens to everyone. These skin conditions are nothing to be ashamed of, and are deserving of the same love and attention you would give to any other part of your body!