Dry skin can be incredibly uncomfortable, unpleasant and difficult to manage. Whether it’s something you were born with, deal with seasonally or occasionally, finding the right products to help can be daunting.
The best way to care for your dry skin is by understanding what's causing it. Skincare routines are a great opportunity to take a moment from our busy lives to notice any changes. When we start keeping tabs on our skin, we can narrow down what might be impacting its health.
In this guide, we break down some common causes of dry skin and share our tips on keeping it hydrated, healthy and under control.
What causes dry skin?
In literal terms, dry skin is caused by a lack of adequate moisture in the epidermis. The epidermis (the thin, outermost layer of our skin), is composed of fat and proteins, and it is deficiency in these compounds which causes excessive moisture loss.
This can come about for a multitude of reasons, such as:
Your environment can be a factor, with changing temperatures affecting the skin’s ability to retain moisture. The higher the humidity, the easier it is for skin to maintain water and stay hydrated. The higher the temperature, the faster moisture evaporates from the skin’s surface and the drier it becomes.
If you like to shower multiple times a day, this may be impacting your dry skin. Increased exposure to hot water can cause excess moisture loss from your skin’s outer layers. You might also be overusing personal care products when you shower regularly too, which can dry the skin.
Older, more mature skin is also more prone to dryness. This is due to a natural decrease in oils and lubricants produced by the skin.
Genetics is another factor in the state of your dry skin. If you or your family members have skin conditions like eczema or dermatitis, you will have a much higher likelihood of getting dry skin.
Your clothes may be irritating your skin. The worst offenders tend to be wool or synthetic fibers.
Any prescription medication may have an impact. Acne medication in particular, can work by drying the skin. If you suspect your medication is affecting your skin’s health, get some advice from your doctor about potential alternatives.
Taking care of dry skin: the basics
The good news is that most dry skin issues are mild and manageable. If you experience dry skin, aside from seeking medical advice for more serious conditions, here are some basics you can try first:
- Keep your showers on the warm side - not too hot!
- Shower less if you can, and/or for shorter amounts of time.
- If you're game enough, ending your showers with 30-60 seconds of cold water can help to close the pores of your skin and retain moisture throughout the day.
- Avoid harsh synthetic skincare products and chemical soaps.
- Moisturize after showering.
- Pat your skin dry with your towel.
- Use a humidifier at home.
- Stay hydrated, no matter the condition of your skin!
Taking the time to monitor your skin as it changes, and ensuring that these basic needs are met regardless of skin type will allow you to reap the best results from more specific skincare routines.
Taking care of dry skin: the specifics
For dry skin, we are looking to help the epidermis maintain its moisture levels effectively without clogging pores or making it worse.
As most dry skin issues come from external factors, external solutions are often effective. Here are some of our top tips:
Opt for light, moisturizing products (such as plant based oils) for dry skin which will absorb easily and not clog pores.
- Mild or soap-free products are better for dry skin and don’t tend to wash off the natural oils in our skin that it needs.
- Search for ingredients that act as emollients - substances which prevent evaporation.
- Moisturize just after showering and before bed, and avoid using products with strong fragrances on your skin.
Avoid touching your face; it can spread bacteria, cause scarring and result in irritation.
- Exfoliate with something gentle, 1-2 times per week to shift dead skin cells.
- Vitamins are excellent skin food and help damaged cells, so look for these in your products.
Look for essential fatty acids which are key for healthy cell renewal and metabolism, and provide the foundations for healthy function skin.
Look for products containing natural antioxidants which help protect your skin against free radicals that damage and stress skin cells.
- Consider switching to silk pillowcases; these are thought to not tug at skin as much as other fabrics, plus they lead to less hair breakage too.
As you change up your routine or try out new things, make sure you take the time to assess changes. It is important to give new products a good 6-8 weeks to make a difference, providing they have not irritated your skin further.
Always bear in mind that the goal is not perfection but healthy, hydrated skin that makes you feel and look your best!
The best natural oil for dry skin
So you may be thinking at this stage, cool, I know what might be causing my dry skin and how to tackle it, but where do I start with products?
If you prefer the natural approach, we can help.
Our Skin Oil for Dry Skin is designed to help you manage your specific needs using the best of mother nature. In our all-natural, all goodness white bottles, you’ll find:
Argan Oil: packed with naturally occuring oleic acid and vitamin E, argan oil is renowned for its moisturizing properties.
Jojoba Oil: very nourishing, jojoba is great at regulating our natural oil production, and penetrates deep into the skin.
Sweet Almond Oil: helps to balance the loss of hydration in the skin and is a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Blackcurrant Seed Oil: particularly rich in gamma-linoleic acid
which is not common in many oils and great for elasticity of the skin.
Pomegranate Seed Oil: a fantastic aid in fortifying the skin’s natural barriers to keep in moisture, ideal for dry skin.
Açaí Berry Oil: packed full of omegas, essential fatty acids and vitamins. While açaí oil may be relatively new to the world of personal care, it stands out as a highly nourishing ingredient with many different uses.
East Cape Mānuka Oil: powerful but gentle, our namesake provides antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties among many others.
Sandalwood Oil: used for healing and calming not just the skin and body but the mind as well by traditional cultures around the world.
Lavender Oil: popular throughout history as an antiseptic, soothing ingredient. Lavender not only smells great but is also time honored for its uses in skincare.
Patchouli Oil: found in many popular fragrances, patchouli has been used for years to calm and support the healing of irritated skin.
Feeding your skin natural ingredients to continue replenishing itself means that you get all the goodness with no nasties.
Click here to find out more about our Skin Oil for Dry Skin, and here to shop our entire range of plant based skin oils.