Simple 4 step routine to combat dry skin
in my opinion, dry skin is probably the easiest to deal with out of the other situations. slapping on moisturizer may provide instant relief, which makes you feel like the treatment is working. to re-balance oily skin will take some time, while correcting dry skin is almost instant visually. however, if we do not deal with the problem at its roots - in this case it'd be the cause of dry skin - any remedy can only provide short term relief.
if you haven't already read my previous entry where i talk about possible causes of dry skin, make sure to check that out so that you can treat your dry skin from the inside AND outside at the same time to achieve optimal results.
a basic skin care routine that targets dry skin due to environmental dryness will be as such:
NIGHT TIME ROUTINE:
1. only use a gentle soap free cleanser when necessary.
since you have dry skin, your skin is actually under producing sebum. stripping away too much when your body can't produce them isn't a good idea, therefore, stick to a gentle cleanser. opt for soap free if possible because soap tends to irritate dry skin. i'm using cetaphil gentle cleanser and i like how it feels on my skin. my friend with oilier skin find this too gentle, i guess that's why it's suitable for people with dry skin?
CETAPHIL | gentle skin cleanser
it's not weird to use only water to wash your skin if you have dry skin. i usually use a cleanser for my night time routine because i wore makeup in the day. if i'm home all day, i wouldn't need it at all.
2. exfoliate any flaky skin very gently (optional)
while dry skin may look unsightly, it's actually there to protect your skin. i don't recommend exfoliating everyday as it may result in overly sensitive skin. once to twice a week should be good enough, depending on the speed of your skin growth.
always moisturizer and nourish your skin after exfoliation!
3. tone and hydrate
the toner is there to return your skin to a slightly acidic state. this is especially important for people with dry skin because dryness may decrease the protective effect of our skin as our skin may crack and tear more easily. an acidic environment will inhibit the growth of bad bacteria while promoting the health of healthy bacteria living on our skin.
BRAGG | apple cider vinegar
i've tried using diluted vinegar on my itching skin and for some reason, it relieved my itching! there is some truth to the whole pH balance hypothesis.
hydrate with any lotion or cream to further moisturize your skin.
4. add a seal over your skin
i'm talking about an occlusive here! an occlusive forms a protective film that prevents moisture loss across your skin.
VASELINE | petroleum jelly
vaseline is a very effective occlusive, but if you're sensitive to petrolatum, natural alternatives are available too.
LUCAS' | pawpaw ointment
i heard many good things about the pawpaw ointment but haven't got to try it yet. i was told it acts just like vaseline, but a non-petrolatum product.
DAY TIME ROUTINE:
1. wash face with water
don't use what you don't need! dry skin needs all the oils it can produce.
you can opt for a light weight moisturizer if you're wearing makeup so that it absorbs quickly. but i rather you wake up 5 minutes earlier so you have 5 extra minutes for a more nourishing cream to sink into your skin.
3. seal your skin
don't forget that last step to protect your skin from the harsh environment (if you're in one that is)! this step is actually optional if you used a heavy cream in the previous step because most heavy cream contains petrolatum to act as an occlusive. i usually skip this step since it's so humid in singapore. however, this step may be really beneficial if you stay in an air-conditioned environment all day. BUT, with vaseline on your face you probably can't wear liquid makeup since they can't stay put on your face. powders will sit on your face nicely, but risk smudging if you do rub your face.
IN A NUTSHELL
if your dry skin is due to internal reasons, you can still use the above steps to alleviate your dry skin temporarily. but do take note, unless we treat the problem at its roots, it will almost be impossible to find long term relief with these external help.
it's just like trying to patch leaky holes in a dam that is overflowing with water. you can go on and on closing up cracks here and there. unless the river stops flowing, the water will always find new cracks to seep through. worst of all, it's going to break the dam one fine day.
should i write about nutrition for dry skin some time later? LET ME KNOW!
title photo credit: alton brown photos
all other photos are taken from their official websites