H2O or plain old water is great for health. It’s great for our skin too, when ingested. Not so great when it’s on the outside of our face and body.
Water is the main culprit for dry skin. Frequent hand washing, hot showers and constant contact with water (especially soapy water) strip the natural oils from our face and body far quicker than anything else. Central or portable heating and the fireplace as well as cold winter winds contribute towards dry, wrinkly looking skin as well. With constant exposure to drying conditions, our skin is unable to retain the much needed moisture making it less supple and prone to cracking. Small cracks occur as fissures split and deepen. Sometimes this can cause bleeding too.
Dry cracking skin feels rough and bumpy. If you spot a patch of redness on the face, chances are that it will start flaking before long. The redness may even take on a purplish hue before cracking and bleeding.
People with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis generally have it worse in winter. The cold wind coupled with aridity irritates the skin causing flare ups. You might also notice dandruff flakes and rosacea making an appearance too.
Unless you live in the tropics, using a humidifier will help to alleviate the aridity somewhat. Otherwise, try to have a warm shower instead of a hot one and have no more than one per day. Use soap minimally, preferably mild soap. Use bath oils or any other form of body oils directly onto skin and do not forget the all-important face moisturiser immediately. Use within three minutes of leaving the shower or washing your face to allow the moisturiser to seal the water in your skin.
There are four types of moisturisers and if you are unsure of what type works best for you, here’s a quick guide. But do remember there’s nothing like getting a skin diagnosis to determine what will work best for you.
These have the best ability to trap moisture in the skin but they feel greasy and heavy.
These still feel oily but less heavy. There are a variety of oils you can apply from baby oil, mineral oil (no, no, not your kitchen vegetable oil, although some cultures do use coconut oil on skin and hair) and golden almond oil. Oil moisturisers are best applied when the skin is still slightly damp.
You know what these are. Cream moisturisers are usually white-ish in colour and disappear into the skin without leaving too much of a greasy feeling.
These are the lightest of the moisturisers, mostly to protect the skin when there is more humidity in the air.