By Dr Henri Knafo, ISKA Cosmetics
Dry Skin is a very common condition. Most of us in Canada have dry skin during the winter. This is caused by the low relative humidity since the air outside is cold and the air inside is hot. The skin loses its moisture and the skin may crack and peel. Taking long and frequent showers or washing the hands too frequently or with a harsh soap can also result in dry skin.
When the skin is deficient in Vitamin A, vitamin D or when it is exposed to frequently to the sun the skin loses its moisture leading to dry and cracked skin. Chronic disease can also lead to very dry skin. As the skin ages it becomes thinner and loses its moisture.
How can you prevent dry skin ?
Removing the cause can certainly help you reduce your dry skin condition.
1. Protect your skin from cold/hot conditions.
This can be done by limiting important unprotected exposure to cold conditions. Always wear gloves when going out during the winter. Protect your face and put a hydrating cream if you are going out for a long period of time.
2. Avoid long hot showers
Taking too frequent and long showers can remove the important moisture that your skin has. It also removes the natural layer of fat that’s on your skin. Do not take more than 1 shower per day and always hydrate your skin when leaving the shower. You should always use a gentle soap with an adequate pH so that your skin stays soft.
3. Avoid washing your hand with harsh soap
This is important since using a harsh soap when washing the dishes for example can harm your skin. Washing too many times your hand can also cause your skin to be dry. If the skin on top of your hand is dry and scaling, you should use a proper hydrating cream each time you wash your hand.
4. Avoid too many exfoliations
Exfoliating your skin too many times can harm and leave you with a dry and scaly skin. Adjust your exfoliation time frame so that you don’t damage the natural protecting layers of the skin. Do not exfoliate more than 3 times a week since this could diminish your natural protecting layers. Always use a hydrating cream after exfoliation.
5. Avoid harsh irritants
Avoid putting harsh irritants like harsh soap on your skin. This includes soap when taking a shower and using harsh soap when doing the dishes. Be careful when cleaning your house. Your hands or feet should never be in contact with cleaning detergent.
6. Take care of your skin everyday – Aging
Aging is a process that we cannot stop. However, there is ways to temper the process. Eating well, drinking enough water and using a hydrating cream that has been proven to increase the size of your derma can help. Such creams are hard to find and you can find a guidance to help you in our website.
7. Drinking well
As you get older, your body retains less and less water and you are less thirsty. This is important since many people don’t drink enough water and this could influence the way your skin looks and feels. Drinking enough water is important and as you get older you should drink an adequate amount. If you do not suffer from congestive heart failure drinking water is safe and will definitely give you a better looking skin.
8. Eating Well
Eating well is also important since deficiency of many vitamins and minerals can lead to dry skin. Eating plenty of vegetable like tomato, paprika, sweet potato and leafy greens is important and is a source of vitamin A and anti-oxydants.
How to chose the right hydrating cream ?
This is an important question and the answer is somehow complex but there are guidelines if you want to find the best hydrating cream for your type of skin.
The skin on your face should however be treated differently since facial skin has a thinner fat layer than skin on the rest of the body. Women have smooth facial skin as opposed to more rugged in men. However, men have hair follicles where women have next to none. Wrinkles are more prominent on the face and neck than the rest of the body due to the thinner fat layer.
For the face:
Your cream should not contain any comedogenic ingredients.
Your face contains pores that actually supply your skin with the moisture it needs. You should always take a cream that does not contain any ingredients that will block your facial pores since this could lead to increase accumulation of sebum in the pore itself. This could lead to acne since the bacteria grow better in a greasy environment. Therefore, I do suggest looking at the ingredients one by one when shopping for your facial hydrating cream and to make sure pore cloging ingredients are not present. For a complete list of pore blocking chemicals click here.
1. Your facial cream should be adapted to your skin type
a. Dry Skin
If you have dry skin, you should use a cream that will provide an adequate layer of fat. Therefore, using a cream with a higher content of lipids is adequate. I do however suggest natural occurring fat like jojoba, avocado oil or olive oil since they are non comedogenic and provide a natural way to protect your skin. They have been used for hundreds of years, therefore the safety of those ingredients are well established.
b. Mix skin type
If you have a mix skin type, you should use a hydrating cream with a lower level of fat since your skin already produces some. Using a facial cream which is too thick could give you acne. Do not use Shea butter since this contains too much fat. I do suggest however to clean your face first with a botanical cleanser or a mild soap to gently clean the face. Once this is done you could apply a hydrating cream with a moderate amount of lipids such as Aloes Vera.
c. Oily Skin
You shouldn’t have any problem with dry skin if you have an oily skin type. I do suggest washing with a mild facial cleanser to remove the excess of fat.
2. Avoid too long exposure to the sun
The sun can damage and age your skin prematurely. Avoid long exposure to the sun and use adequate sunscreen. If you stay long hours in the sun I suggest you use a facial cream with a SPF to protect you from long exposures.
3. Are you seeing wrinkles?
If you are over 30 or you start seeing wrinkles appearance, I do suggest finding an adequate hydrating cream with proven ingredients to reduce wrinkles. Some ingredients have proven efficacy and also increase the thickness of the derma. This will retain the moisture of your skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Finding the right anti-wrinkle cream is not easy and is an important decision since the result are not immediate and compliance is necessary. Find more information here.
4. Your cream should not contain fragrances
Most of the facial creams you will buy will have added fragrances. This is not necessary a good thing since fragrances can lead to allergic contact dermatitis. We do know that some people get there derma inflamed because of fragrances, what we do not know is to what extend your skin is going to react to a certain type of fragrance. My suggestion is not to use any since you don’t want to harm your skin. Putting a perfume which contains alcohol can also make your skin even drier. Therefore excessive use of perfume should be avoided.
5. Do you suffer from other know conditions like eczema ?
Symptoms of eczema can include dryness and recurring skin rashes that are characterized by one or more of these symptoms: redness, skin edema(swelling), itching and dryness, crusting, flaking, blistering, cracking, oozing, or bleeding. It is known that using a hydrating cream with a high content of ceramides, which are the major lipid constituent of the stratum corneum (the top of your skin) is important. Grape seed oil contained in some creams is an important source of ceramides (73%) and can help in providing some relief. We do however suggest to go see a dermatologist in order to access you eczema if severe.
6. Do you suffer from hypothyroidism ?
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones. People suffering from hypothyroidism are fatigued, often have constipation, have cold hands and feet and have very dry skin among many other symptoms.
The decrease circulation in the skin explains the cold and dry skin of the extremities. The face is also dry due to diminish circulation. Adequate hydration with a super hydrating cream is important. The cream should not have any fragrances since people suffering from hypothyroidism can easily be sensitive to such chemicals. Promoting the circulation with frequent massage is also important.