We’re coming to the tail end of a very cold winter in South Africa, and our skin has taken a knock. The assumed cause of our itchy, dry skin? Lack of moisture.
However, where does lack of moisture come from? Experts say dry skin is caused by an impaired skin barrier and dysfunction or deficiency in the necessary healthy fats in the top layer of the skin (epidermis).
And, according to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, normally, the epidermis is made up of dead cells and natural oils, which help keep in moisture, but if there’s not enough water there – this can happen if the protective oils are diminished – it could result in dry skin.
Relieving dry skin in winter
That’s why it’s so important to take preventative measures. “Keeping your skin moisturised all-year round means when it comes to winter, your skin won’t be as affected,” explains Su-Marie Annandale, Clere skincare brand manager. She provides the following tips to help relieve dry skin:
Stop baths and showers from worsening dry skin
When the humidity drops or your skin feels dry, be sure to:
- Close the bathroom door when bathing or showering to keep the heat in
- Use warm rather than hot water
- Limit your time in the shower or bath to five or 10 minutes
- Blot your skin gently dry with a towel
Apply moisturiser immediately after your bath or shower
Creams and lotions work by locking in existing moisture into your skin. To do this, you need to apply a moisturiser within a few minutes of drying off after a shower or bath, or washing your face or hands.
Clere’s Vanilla Honey Cream body crème, enriched with tissue oil and pure glycerine, will moisturise dry to very dry skin and can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, Annandale advises.
Wear lip balm
Choose a lip balm that feels good on your lips. If your lips sting or tingle after you apply it, switch to one that does not cause this reaction.
Our hands are often the first place where we notice dry skin. You can reduce dry, raw skin by putting on gloves before you:
- Go outdoors in winter
- Perform tasks that require you to get your hands wet
- Get chemicals, greases, and other substances on your hands
Choose non-irritating clothes and laundry detergent
When our skin is dry and raw even clothes and laundry detergent can be irritating.
To avoid this:
- Wear cotton or silk under your clothing made of wool or any other material that feels rough.
- Use laundry detergent labelled “hypoallergenic.”
Stay warm without cosying up to a fireplace or heater. Sitting in front of an open flame or heater can dry your skin.