Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Know Your Face: Dry Skin

When it comes to skin care, a lot of people are unaware that different kinds of skin require different methods and products to provide maximal care. I myself fell victim to this problem and have since changed up skin care routine in order to better treat the quirks of my skin. I thought it would be helpful to do a two-part feature on skin types offering some insight of what internal biology as well as external factors cause these two extremes and provide some tips and product suggestions that your skin will love you for. Today we are starting with dry skin!

Personally I am an oily skin girl and I'll admit sometimes I envy those with dry skin simply because they do not need to combat a constant oil field all day long. However after I did my research into the nitty gritty of dry skin, it definitely isn't as low maintenance (and painless!) that I believed it to be.

What is dry skin? Dry skin occurs when there is a low level of sebum and has an inability to retain moisture. Dry skin is typically prone to redness and sensitivity and may have an ashy parched look to it. Usually it feels tight and uncomfortable after washing and is easily irritated when overly stimulated (read: scrubbed). Chapping and cracking are also signs of very dry and dehydrated skin.

My first tip when it comes to caring for dry skin is to skip the foaming cleansers and the abrasive exfoliants. The chemicals added to give the cleansers their foaming properties is particularly harsh and drying on your skin. If possible opt out of all soap cleansing products for your face because the way soap works is that it strips everything, dirt, makeup, and all oils, from the skin leaving it extra parched. Instead look for cream based products that will return moisture to your face (even before you moisturize) or better yet, cleansing oils. Cleansing oils are especially great for dry skin because the oil molecules target and surrounds the gunk on your face but leaves behind the healthy natural oils while also injecting an extra layer of moisture on your face. 

Another big issue with dry skin is all the flakes and dead skin cells that are left behind. In order to provide your moisturizer the best possible scenario to do its job, removing that barrier of dead cells is necessary. To prevent additional irritation to your skin, opt for a gentle chemical exfoliant that removes the layer without the use of scrubbing. Look for a product that contains AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) which is an organic acid derived from fruit and milk that composes mainly of glycolic acid (sugar), lactic acid (milk) and malic acid (apples and pears). This is a great ingredient because it works on the surface layer of skin, directly targeting the dead layer of cells that sits there. Exfoliants with this ingredient work great to brighten up dull skin and helps dry skin drink up moisturizer better.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! This goes without saying that dry skin really needs you to slather on that goo after you wash your face. Look out for products with hyaluronic acid (helps creates a moisture barrier on skin) and ceramides (helps replenish natural lipids) to really make the most out of your moisturizer.

Investing in a humidifier is a great option to take care of your skin at night. Your skin goes through its natural repair cycle as you're sleeping, so leaving a humidifier on to supplement moisture is a great opportunity for your skin to soak up some of that extra moisture. In places (or seasons) where it is hot at night, avoid the urge to crank up the AC. The constant flow of cold air is very drying to your skin and can further irritate symptoms you may have.

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