If we look at dry skin as part of the ageing process, we can appreciate that the number of oil-producing sebum glands decreases as we get older. We need to rehydrate our skin by using moisturisers. A moisturiser works by providing a cream barrier on top of the skin that pulls water from deep below the outer layer of skin (epidermis) into the dry skin cells. The skin cells plump up, dry patches disappear and the appearance of the skin is improved, as light reflects off it evenly.
There are some simple steps you can take to heal dry skin and stop it coming back.
- Don’t overwash. Use warm rather than hot water and gentle soaps rather than perfumed products. We can recommend moisturising soaps. Pat your skin dry (don’t rub) and apply moisturiser to your skin immediately.
- Use only gentle, unscented skin care products when your skin is dry. You may need to stop using retinoid creams or exfoliative cleansers for a short while as your skin heals itself. We want your skin to retain its natural oils.
- Protect your hands. This is often the first place that we notice has dry skin. Our hands suffer a lot from cold weather, over-washing and exposure to harsh chemicals. Wear gloves to protect your hands and keep hand cream in your pocket to apply after washing.
- Reduce exposure to strong heat. An open fire is lovely when it is freezing outside, but it can dry out your skin. Be warm but not hot when it’s cold.
If your skin doesn’t recover quickly then you may need dermatologist help to exclude any underlying skin condition and to prescribe treatments that can restore your skin to normal again.