Dry skin feels tight, looks flaky and can even be more red and sensitive than usual. But if you’re suffering, hold off on blaming the weather and slapping on tons of moisturiser – there are many lifestyle choices we make that can exacerbate the situation, and other, better solutions to try.
Here are 10 reasons your skin might be dry – and what to do about it:
Over a third of women notice that alcohol affects their skin – and not for the better. Since alcohol is a diuretic, it causes your kidneys to remove extra water from your system, leaving you dehydrated.
Expert tip: With the cold weather, it’s extra important to keep your system as hydrated as possible. Match each alcoholic drink with a glass of water to maintain your hydration levels.
2. Central heating
LloydsPharmacy skin specialist Jo Carey comments: "You want to be cosy, so you crank up the heating – but in doing so, you’re drying out the air, which then turns to your skin to replenish moisture levels."
Expert tip: Place a bowl of water near or underneath your radiators to maintain humidity levels.
3. Air conditioning
Air con can disrupt the natural moisture balance in your skin, causing it to dry and aggravating skin conditions like eczema.
Expert tip: If your office is air conditioned, try to make sure you always pop outside during your lunch break to give your skin a break. Try spritzing your skin with a facial water spray, like Eau Thermale Avene Water Spray, £10, throughout the day to keep it hydrated.
4. Hot water
As tempting as it may be to have a scorching hot shower on a frosty winter’s morn, don’t – hot water can strip the natural oils from your skin which form a protective barrier against water loss.
Expert tip: Go for a lukewarm temperature and always moisturise post-shower or bath.
If your normal cleanser or make-up removal technique is leaving your skin feeling tight, stop! A cleanser shouldn’t leave your skin feeling tight, as this means it’s stripping away those essential natural oils and moisture and disrputing the skin's natural PH balance.
Expert tip: Margaret Weeds, co-founder of Odylique, advises: "Choose a pH balanced cleanser and toner; using something balanced to the pH of the skin (4.5-5.5) is crucial to the integrity of our skin’s protective acid mantle.”
Yep, drier skin is another sign of ageing. As we get older, our skin’s natural oil production slows down, along with our cell turnover – which leaves dead, dry cells lurking on top of your skin.
Expert tip: Review your beauty routine and add in a Hyaluronic Acid product, which helps your skin maintain hydration levels. Try Exuviance Age Reverse Hydrafirm or add Solgar’s Hyaluronic Acid supplement to your daily routine.
The chemicals in cigarettes can reduce blood flow to your skin, resulting in fewer nutrients and less oxygen being delivered to it – and leaving it sallow, dry and permanently aged.
Expert tip: Quit! You’re four times more likely to be successful in your attempt to give up smoking if you seek professional help rather than going it alone.
Less fat in your diet will deprive your skin of essential fatty acids, which could lead to dryness. In fact, over half of women find dieting changes their skin.
Expert tip: Make sure you include lots of oily fish, nuts and fresh vegetables in your diet.
The pressurised air in the cabin can – literally – suck the moisture from your skin.
Expert tip: When flying, always try to go barefaced and pack a cabin-friendly 100ml or less pot of moisturiser in your hand luggage to reapply every few hours. Keep sipping on water, too.
10. Not moisturising
Using a cleanser or face wash – and even just day-to-day life – can affect your skin’s PH balance. So you need to top it up, even if you have oily skin.
Expert tip: Moisturise morning and night. Always! Aurelia Cell Revitalise Day Moisturiser is a great one to have in your arsenal of products.