Let's break down the basics: dry, flaky skin usually means it lacks moisture. But where does this lack of moisture come from? It may be natural, but you can also develop dry skin from time to time even if you are on the oilier side.
If we dive a little deeper, dry skin actually means your protective skin barrier is not functioning as it should. Your top layer of skin is made up of dead cells and natural, healthy oils––these help trap and retain moisture so your skin stays smooth and hydrated. But if you naturally lack enough protective oils to keep moisture in this top layer, your skin will feel dry, flakey, and in severe cases itchy, cracked and bleeding.
Yet slathering on thick creams and moisturisers is not the only solution––there's much more to it. Additionally, there are other factors that can cause your skin to dry out that you may not have accounted for, including exposure to dry, cold weather and hot water. Below, we've rounded up the leading causes, and actionable remedies to tackle dry skin.
Cause 1: Taking a Really Hot Shower or Bath (& too often)
Ahhh... doesn’t it feel heavenly when you step into a steaming hot shower or slip into a relaxing hot bath? Of course it does, however, your skin doesn’t actually deal too well with high temperatures. A hot bath dries up your skin's natural oils and strips it off of essential nutrients. Additionally, cleansing your skin too often and using harsh soaps filled with fragrances and unclean ingredients can strip the skin of essential moisture.
Solution: Only use lukewarm water and limit your bathing times to 5-10 minutes. Plus, always remember to moisturise as soon as you're done to put all that moisture back into your skin.
Cause 2: Lack of Exfoliation
Exfoliation rids the skin of dead skin cells, which means fresher ones can surface, leaving you with soft, glowing skin. Dead skin cells prevent moisturisers and lotions from penetrating the skin and nourishing it properly, so without exfoliation, you may be wasting your skincare products rather than benefitting from them.
Solution: For best results, use a gentle chemical exfoliant once a week. However, dead skin cells also act as a type of barrier, so when you exfoliate you are stripping your skin of some of its protection. This means your skin will be super sensitive, so you need to take extra care to slather on moisturiser and SPF which will create a protective layer. Additionally, make sure you know how to exfoliate your skin at home. Doing it wrong can end up being counter-productive, and you can damage your skin if you're not careful.
Cause 3: Rubbing Your Skin Too Hard
Your skin is not a magic lamp––you're not getting three wishes out of it! Always remember to be gentle with yourself regardless of whether you're cleansing your face, putting on moisturiser or drying off with a towel, especially if your skin type is dry.
Solution: Instead of rubbing and tugging at your skin vigorously, gently pat it when using a towel or any kind of skincare products.
Cause 4: You're Using the Wrong Skincare Base
If you have dry skin, water-based products won't work as well for you. Water-based moisturisers and serums can escalate dryness, because they are designed to give just enough moisture for those with oilier or combination skin types (these skin types have oils that keep moisture in so they don't need anything that's too thick!)
Solution: Go for oil-based skincare products as these will be able to deliver more nourishing hydration. They will work better to keep as much moisture in your skin as possible.
Cause 5: Not Staying Hydrated Enough
Drinking enough water is one of the easiest and most effective remedies for dry skin, yet it often goes amiss. A Lack of hydration from inside is one of the leading causes of dryness, and your skin can always benefit from more water.
Solution: Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day for healthy, glowing skin.
Cause 6: Artificial Air Conditioners and Heaters
Artificial heaters or coolers are affecting your skin in a bad way: they suck out moisture and humidity from the air, which can disturb your skin’s moisture balance and wreak havoc on your skin.
Solution: Consider installing humidifiers indoors to bring moisture back into the air and in turn, back into your skin.
Remedies for Dry Skin From Your Kitchen
In need of a quick, soothing fix for dry skin? The kitchen can often be your best pharmacy, if used wisely. Here are 3 safe at-home remedies you can turn to (but note that all-natural is not always safe for the skin, so make sure to do your research thoroughly beforehand and do patch tests before trying anything!)
A commonly found ingredient in cosmetic products, aloe vera can do wonders for dryness. You'll need an aloe vera plant for this, but all you have to do is cut open one of its leaves, squeeze out its natural gel and apply it directly to your face like a face mask. You can leave it on for 10-20 minutes or overnight. You can also use it as often as required.
A holy grail ingredient, coconut oil can do it all, including helping dryness and diminishing the appearance of scars. It acts as a natural emollient that locks moisture in your skin. Use it as frequently as required.
In place of coconut oil, you could also try jojoba oil or olive oil.
Avocado is rich in vitamins A, C and E, which work wonders for glowing skin. Mix one avocado with a tablespoon of honey (which has anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties). Apply it as a 10 minute face mask for instant radiance!
If you've tried everything and you're still stuck with dry skin, consider trying Yours. Just tell us about your skin concerns, environment and lifestyle choices with our (free) skin assessment below, and we'll design a unique skincare regimen with nourishing active ingredients to tackle all your skin needs.