5 tips to deal with dry skin

Dry, flaky skin has been my biggest skin concern for the longest time, however after I started taking proper care of my skin and using products that actually helped hydrate and protect my skin I’ve found such extreme changes to my skin (duh!). So I just wanted to write about some tips that might help anyone else struggling with dry skin!

Throughout this blog post I refer to dehydrated skin, dehydrated skin isn’t a skin type, it’s a skin condition and skin becomes dehydrated when the moisture barrier which is what seals the moisture in,  becomes damaged or eroded away which then leads to dehydrated skin (here’s a much more comprehensive explanation and even some ways of fixing dehydrated skin). Anyone can get dehydrated skin, it doesn’t matter if they have oily or dry skin. So when I use the word dehydrated I’m talking about this skin conditions rather than another aspect of a dry skin type.

1) Hydration =/= Moisturising

The first thing you have to understand is that hydration isn’t the same as moisturising, hydration is adding moisture into your skin, this can be through serums, toners, masks and essences, while moisturising is usually near the end of a skincare routine and it’s used to protect your skin and seal in all of the moisture that has been added to the skin, it doesn’t have to add any hydrating properties (but most moisturisers do) and a good moisturiser has to be occlusive to prevent any moisture evaporating from your skin, therefore you need at least one product to hydrate and then another product to moisturise. This might also be why some people still get dry skin after they moisturise because they haven’t used any hydrating treatments to add moisture into their skin, so the moisturiser isn’t sealing any moisture in.

2) Use products with humectants!

Humectants are water attracting substances, these can attract moisture from the air surrounding us into our skin. Common humectants include glycerin, hyaluronic acid,  ideally they are high up the ingredients list. There are tons of products that contain humectants, especially ones that are used for hydration, just make sure they don’t contain denatured alcohol and any astringent since those can dry your skin out!

My favourite humectant is hyaluronic acid, it is also very unlikely to break you out since it is already present in your skin. Hyaluronic acid is however very large therefore while it delivers moisture to the surface layer of your skin it won’t be able to enter the deeper layers of your skin, but there is now loads of products that contain different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid so that they’re able to enter the deeper layers of skin to also deliver moisture there. I really liked the ordinary’s hyaluronic serum (I did write a mini review for it on this blog post).Another hyaluronic serum that contains different molecular weights is the Hylamide Booster Low-Molecular HA. I’m also currently trying out the COSRX Hyaluronic acid power essence.

While humectants are great for hydrating skin they can also dry out skin, this is because in drier environments with lower humidity, the humectant will draw moisture from the lower layers of the skin to replenish the moisture lost at the surface layer of the skin which while momentarily may relief feelings of dryness it will only be temporary and the lower layers of skin will be suffering. To prevent this you should use an occlusive (next tip) to properly seal in all the moisture!

3) Seal it in with occlusives!

An occlusive is meant to go near the end of your skin care routine, this usually comes in the form of moisturiser. Occlusive ingredients form a barrier between your skin and the environment, they also reduce water loss from the skin by evaporation therefore sealing in all of the moisture. There are several ingredients that can be occlusive such as allantoin, squalane, lecithin, also fatty alcohols like stearyl alcohol, oils like shea butter, castor oil and olive oil.

There are other occlusive that are commonly used in skin care like mineral oil and paraffin that aren’t very good as they suffocate your skin.

I honestly stick to really simple moisturisers since most of the my base works through using serums or masks usually gives me all of the nourishment I need, the only job my moisturiser has to do is seal the moisture in so it really doesn’t have to be fancy!

4) Cleansers

Using the wrong cleanser can be damaging to the skin, it can strip your skin from oils, damage the acid mantle which then leads to dehydrated skin. Also cleansing too much can also do the same.

While I’m a big fan of double cleansing, I only do it at night. I use an cleansing balm (Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter) and then follow it up with a foam cleanser (COSRX low ph good morning cleanser) while in the morning I only cleanse once or  just wash my face with water. I found that when I did cleanse my face everyday in the morning it would feel a little bit more tighter, and the oil cleanser wasn’t really necessary since I didn’t have too much dirt on my face either.

There are lots of great cleansing balms available, people also use oil cleansers for example some people even use pure coconut oil or olive oil to remove their make up! The body shop cleanser I’ve been using is really nice and feels nourishing, the only downside is that it contains fragrance it hasn’t broken me out or irritated me yet. Another cleansing balm people love is the banila co clean it zero and I’ve also heard some great things about the pixi nourishing cleansing balm.

Foam cleansers can be the most drying which is why it’s important to pick a cleanser that isn’t too stripping. These usually contain sodium lauryl sulfate, when I used to use cleanser that contained this ingredient my face would feel really clean but it would be really dry so I would have to apply my moisturiser straight away to relieve that dry feeling. This is because sodium lauryl sulfate strips the skin from all the oils, some of these oils are meant to be protective but since they’re removed it can lead to damage to the moisture barrier which then leads to dehydrated or drier skin. Foam cleansers that contain denatured alcohol and fragrance can also be drying. I’m really enjoying the COSRX cleanser right now, it doesn’t dry my skin out, my skin feels pretty comfortable after using it, another cleanser I really liked First AID Beauty Face Cleanser (the pH is 6.5 which is slightly more acidic than the skin).

5) Facial mists, masks and oils

The final step is just little things I add into my skin care routine which basically help me achieve more glowy and bright skin.

I’ve recently started using facial mists, when I first got it I would spray it during the day or at the end of my routine. But while perusing fifty shades of snails (her blog is amazing by the way) I read her skincare tip which was to spray the mist between each skincare step. I started doing this about a week ago and I found such a difference, my skin felt much more plump and even more hydrated, so I would definitely give it a try! Also when choosing facial mists it’s important to miss the ones that contain things like denatured alcohol, and perhaps choose one where the liquid in the mist isn’t just water but rather an extract, for example I’m currently using the Innisfree Canola Honey jelly mist, that instead of using just water uses Honey extract as the first ingredients This is because when water is the base it could lead to dehydration because as the water evaporates it will also remove some of the oils.

I’ve had a difficult relationship with sheet masks since the once that I’ve tried initially haven’t been too great (if you want to read about them then here’s one and here’s the other one) however after using the Leaders Amino Mask (which I also did a review about) I’ve been really excited to try other sheet masks out. I find that when I use this particular sheet mask my skin is just brighter, more hydrated and super soft. I love the fact that I can use them as a pick me up. Another type of mask I’m becoming more interested in are sleeping masks currently I’m using the COSRX Ultimate Moisturising Honey Overnight Mask, I’m really enjoying this one right now, I like slathering a thick layer of it onto my skin as my last step and I wake up with hydrated skin in the morning, this would be super useful for anyone that wakes up with dry skin because their usual moisturiser isn’t enough (especially during the winter time)

Finally I really love using oils, I’ve been using the rosehip oil recently (from the ordinary) and it is so nice and moisturising. I love applying it under my eyes and I either mix it with my moisturiser or just before my moisturiser.

There’s quite a few oils that are more suited for dry skin, these tend to have more oleic acids than linoleic acids. Linoleic acids are fatty acids that are less likely to clog pores which is why they are better suited for oily skin types, while oleic acids are heavier and richer, and tend to be occlusive, therefore they are better suited for dry skin. Oils that have more oleic acids than linoleic acids include almond seed oil, argan oil and olive oil. I really want to try each and every single one out since oils have so many different benefits for example they can contain antioxidants or different vitamins. And obviously oils can also be really good at hydrating and protecting the skin which is why they’re extremely useful for people with dry skin!

And that’s it!!!  I really hope this helps some of you and that you all have glowy, bright skin ahead of you!!!

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