The issue of dry skin is peculiar to some people and it can be really disturbing. But let’s face it; A dry, flaky skin isn’t attractive and can be embarrassing. You know how when the Harmattan season comes along everywhere gets hazy and dry, your skin starts to look really flaky with patches starting to form essentially due to low humidity which comes with the season, yeah, not so pleasant right?
The good news is the dryness that comes with Harmattan comes and goes as it’s season is due, but the bad news is some people with naturally dry skin have to deal with excessive dryness’ even after the Harmattan season is well over.
How can you identify that you’re one of those with dry skin? Well dry skin comes with very easy to spot signs such as deep cracks to the skin, gray or ashy skin, rough skin patches that eventually start to peel off on it's own.
Causes of dry skin varies from person to person
As there are so many factors that contribute to skin dryness amongst which are;
- Perspiration; an active loss of water from the glands caused by heat, stress and activity.
- Trans-epidermal water loss; the natural, passive way in which skin diffuses about half a litre of water a day from the deeper skin layers.
- Natural moisturizing factors especially urea, amino acids and lactic acid that help to bind in water could lead to dry skin.
- Lack of epidermal lipids such as ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterol which are needed for a healthy skin barrier function.
For the most part, Dry skin is basically nothing to worry about, it’s just your skin type and with each skin type comes it’s pros and cons.
If you have dry skin, don't worry! Here are some tips on how to manage dry skin and what you should avoid.
How can I manage dry skin?
People with dry skin produce less sebum than normal skin, sebum is the substance produced by your body's sebaceous glands to coat, moisturize, and protect your skin. As a result of the lack of sebum, dry skin lacks the lipids that it needs to retain moisture and build a protective shield against external influences. So here’s what you can do to manage this situation;
Cover up properly in cold weather; this is to ensure that the weather does not leave its impact on your skin, you don’t want your skin drying out right?
Moisturize especially with oils rather than lotions; Moisturizing frequently should definitely become a habit if it isn’t already as it helps to lock in moisture more helping the skin remain supple. Also, you may want to consider more oils than lotions because the former has a more soothing effect while the latter dries just about as quickly as it is used.
Limit use of hot water shower; Believe it or not hot water dries out your skin, so if you already battle with a natural dry skin you may want to reconsider frequent hot water showers. The longer and hotter your shower, the more natural moisture you lose.
Use only gentle, fragrance-free skin care products; Avoid using products with alcohol and products which contain ingredients such as Alpha-hydroxy acid, Fragrance, including deodorant soaps and retinoid as they do not foster retention of the skin’s natural oils.
Medically speaking, dry skin can be managed by ensuring that your skin never lacks moisture and to do that you must avoid getting frequently dehydrated, drink lots of water, eat healthy fruits and vegetables, and of course always have a moisturizer or ointment handy and massage properly into skin every time you get a wash.