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5 Ways to Keep Your Skin Hydrated this Dry Season

As much as we love the cool weather that comes with Harmattan, dry seasons can cause real changes in our skin’s look and feel. Everyone knows that the dry season is the season for the dreaded cracked lips and ashy looking skin. This is why it is important to stay moisturized and protected against Harmattan’s harmful effects on the skin.

Humidity tends to be at a low point during the Harmattan season. Have you noticed what happens when you wash your hands often during this time of the year? The skin of your hands can appear dry, roughed and cracked. This happens to your whole body during the dry season. Precious hydration sneaks out of the deeper layer of the skin leaving you with dry skin that looks paper-like and covered in small lines.

Hydrated skin is essential for a beautiful and healthy look. During the dry season, the goal should be to provide your skin with enough nourishment that it stays hydrated all day.

Here are five tips you can add to your skincare routine to help care for dry skin and keep your skin looking healthy and moisturized.

1. Stay Hydrated ​

Drink lots of water. This is one of the most vital steps to keeping your skin hydrated. When you drink enough water, the cells in every part of your body get hydrated through the blood. The skin is the largest organ in the body and it is composed of cells. Skin cells, just like any other cells in the body, are made up of water. Without water, the organs will fail to function properly.

Experts agree that drinking large amounts of water is good for the skin and hair. Studies show that this can provide you with a healthy, radiant, and younger-looking skin. Staying hydrated helps​ increase elasticity in the skin​ as it stays moisturised for longer. Heightened elasticity in the skin implies delayed sagging of the skin and no premature appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Furthermore, drinking enough water helps the body to flush out toxins while giving you healthier skin. When the skin does not get a sufficient water amount, dehydration will cause the skin to be flaky, tight, and dry. If our skin is dry, it is prone to wrinkling and has less resilience.

A large amount of water is lost in our bodies each day, and you need to replace it. Whether you are just sitting in your air-conditioned room each day or working under the heat of the sun, you are losing water every hour.

2. Invest in a Humidifier

During the dry season, there is a drastic decrease in the moisture levels in the air. In addition, many types of cooling units pump dry air through the house or office, which can make the skin dry, itchy, or flaky. Using a humidifier to add moisture to the indoor air may help to reduce the occurrence of dry, cracked skin. ​A humidifier creates a more humid atmosphere through the emission of steam.​ The water vapor that is expelled helps your skin to retain more moisture and prevent transepidermal water loss. The suggested humidity level in the home is within the range of 30 to 50 percent. To determine the humidity of any room, a hygrometer is a low-cost, thermometer-style device that can provide you with the humidity level without any fuss. ​By resupplying the air in your home with additional moisture, the skin on your lips, joints, and extremities will be noticeably healthier: more durable, a more colorful tone, and less abrasive and cracked. ​Plus, other benefits of a humidifier include alleviating sinus congestion, preventing nosebleeds, and even soothing allergy symptoms.

Investing in a humidifier is a worthwhile choice, with continued use, you’ll be able to soothe the dryness that comes with the Harmattan season. There are a range of swiss designed humidifiers available at Zakaa, Nettetal and Kare Boutiques in Abuja.

3. Gentle Cleansers​

The first step in every morning or evening skincare routine should be to cleanse. Facial cleansers are essentially the foundation for your ​skin care routine​. Before you apply your facial serum, m​ oisturizer​, e​ ye cream,​ and ​makeup,​ you’ll want to cleanse your skin to help remove dirt and impurities from the surface of your skin.

During dry weather it is best to go for gentle, low ph cleansers. A gentle cleanser is usually enough to clean off the toxins, pollutants and dirt that’s gathered on the surface layers of your skin throughout the day. Using a product that contains harsh cleansers like alcohol will rob your skin of precious moisture and cause early aging. It can also promote acne by disrupting the skin’s natural fatty acid balance.

Harsh products like alpha hydroxy and glycolic acids also make skin much more sensitive to sun damage, another important skin care concern in dry weather. Try to avoid regular use of products containing these chemicals. If you do use them, remember to use a high quality high SPF sunscreen daily to protect your skin from the effects of excess sun exposure.

4. Moisturize Moisturize Moisturize

We can not emphasize enough how vital this step is in getting that healthy hydrated skin. From their name you can probably infer that moisturizers add moisture directly into the skin. ​Extra dry skin has a very fragile skin moisture barrier that can easily be damaged by external factors such as pollution and UV rays. The skin consequently loses its ability to retain moisture, which means that it can become dehydrated and feel tight and uncomfortable. Whether you’ve got dry skin, oily skin, sensitive skin, combination skin, or normal skin, it’s essential to pick a moisturizer with hydrating ingredients.

Ingredients like e​ ssential fatty acids restore moisture to the skin (applying an oil with lots of​ linoleic acid, like argan oil,​ helps rebalance our skin’s natural oil content and can heal and soothe acne). Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants promote skin cell turnover and can heal and repair damaged skin cells. You might want to go for moisturizers formulated ​with ​hyaluronic acid, which is known for its hydrating qualities. Alternatively, If your skin is craving more hydration, add a hydrating ​serum​ to take things up a notch. Generally, serums are applied after cleansing but before moisturizing and can be used day and night. ​

Immediately after cleansing, use a​ moisturizing serum​ to send moisture and nutrients to the deeper layers of your skin. ​ ​Follow serum application with a good cream-based moisturizer. A moisturizer acts as a physical barrier between the deeper layers of your skin and the air, helping to seal in the moisture your skin received from the serum, leaving it to work on the deepest layers of your skin where new cells are born.

It’s not only about using the right moisturizer— how you apply it also matters. The best way to do so is by slathering on your moisturizer when your skin is damp to help lock in hydration. The same rule applies to your body when you’re applying lotion, too.

5. Exfoliate​

During Harmattan,the cold air outside and dry air inside causes your skin to dehydrate and die out faster. The skin naturally protects itself by building up dried out skin cells to form a harder barrier to make it difficult for water to escape. That means that you’re more likely to have dead, dried out skin cells building up at the most superficial layers of your skin. It is imperative that the dead cells are scrubbed off to make way for new cells to come in healthier and without obstruction. That’s where exfoliation comes in.

Exfoliation helps replenish the skin and to remove those dead cells to reveal fresh, young skin underneath.

Incorporating gentle exfoliation into your routine, once or twice a week should suffice. ​Avoid exfoliating more than necessary as this can have an adverse effect and damage on your skin. A damaged moisture barrier can increase moisture loss, redness, and irritation. But, when you exfoliate correctly, your skin will thank you. ​ And as a bonus, exfoliated skin soaks in all of the ingredients in your skincare products such as the serums and moisturizers more effectively because all the dead skin and impurities clogging pores are cleared out of the way thus, improving the effectiveness of the moisturizers.

This is ideal if you experience dehydrated and dry skin in the harmattan months.

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