How to protect the skin in dry weather

Skincare is a very dynamic phenomena and it tends to change from season to season, all the time.

How do you feel during winter or harmattan? How does your skin behave during the hot humid seasons?

I bet you know that your skin tends to feel and behave differently in each of these conditions.

So why is that? That is simply because the skin is the only part of our body and interfaces directly with the environment and as such changes in the environment usually has an effect on the skin.

Even though the skin is self regulatory, and has the ability to adjust to differing environmental conditions, it sometimes would require some additional help to keep it looking its best during these  changing weather conditions

So, here’s a typical scenario, during the hot and humid season, your body naturally produces more sweat to try to cool you down. Your active sweat glands rev up your sebum (i.e. oil) glands, so when you produce more sweat, you also produce more oil. On top of that, oil- even your body’s natural oil- is runnier in hotter temperatures- kind of gross, but that’s just how it is. So not only do you have more oil, but it’s also more noticeable.

Lastly, during hot, humid months, the sweat does not evaporate as quickly as during drier months, so it doesn’t have anywhere to go but  just sits there. All of this culminates in more oily skin- and if you’re someone who already has oily skin, then it will feel super duper oily.

Now let’s switch to cold, drier months , like the harmattan period, the opposite effect simply occurs. So this time around the weather is cooler and so there is no need for “natural body air conditioning” causing the skin to produce more sweat to cool the body temperature down, which also revs up sebum production. Any excess sweat or oil on the skin is also quickly evaporated into the dry air around. This causes the skin to feel and look drier than during hot humid months

So this constant fluctation in weather, produces a  concomitant change in the way or skin behaves and we must account for these changes in in skincare. Failure to do so , by not changing our skin care needs to our changing weather conditions means that we will soon have skin issues to deal with, either acne or dry skin conditions

Because we are currently experiencing our cool, dry and windy weather called “harmattan”, I will discuss in this post, the ways we can take care of our skin during COLD, DRY months

  1. Because the weather is cool, there is a tendency to have more hot baths than before, this can lead to skin dryness. Therefore, keep your bath water at a moderate temperature and keep bath times short to avoid causing more dryness
  2. After a bath, using a rich, nourishing water based moisturiser is really important as a first next step to hydrate the skin. Here is where most people get it wrong. They immediately apply a heavy balm, oil or vaseline to cover the skin, while this might work for some people, those who have a tendency for dry skin would realise that this does not help at all.

Here is the best way to help you skin better adjust to the dryness:

After having a bath, apply a rich, nourishing and hydrating body lotion to the skin and then follow up with either the oil, balm or vaseline to seal in the moisture and keep all the nourishment locked into the skin for longer. The oil/ balm/vaseline will form an invisible shield to keep your skin protected for longer from the dry air than it would have without it.

Also, applying a heavy balm/ oil without first hydrating with a moisturiser will not do much for people who already have a compromised barrier structure or tend to suffer from dehydrated skin.

  1. This is also the time to be more conscientious with wearing your lip balm, applying and reapplying whenever your lips feel dry. Smacking your lips with your tongue will only make your lips feel drier
  2. Feet should be hydrated and coated in oil/ balm /vaseline and covered up with a pair of cotton socks as much as possible to keep them moist, fresh and smooth
  3. This is the time to keep your hand cream or your body lotion that you use for your hands, handy and make a habit of moisturising your hands whenever you wash them or whenever they feel dry
  4. Even nostrils are not left out in this weather, a little film of vaseline with clean hands around the nostril will help with the feeling of dryness in the nose. 
  5. Finally, if you find that the atmosphere in your house is equally dry, then it might also be a good idea to invest in a home humidifier or put little cpus of water around the house to increase the humidity inside your house

So there are a few tips you adopt, if you really struggle to keep it all smooth and supple this weather.