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Why is my skin so dry? An expert explains
“Why is my skin so dry?” You’re bound to ask this question at least once in your life.
Whether your skin shows no sign of life even after you’ve applied your moisturiser, or your face simply feels tight and uncomfortable all the goddamn time, the struggle is real.
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But before you shell out for one of the best moisturisers money can buy, do yourself a favour and think about the cause of your dry skin. Not sure what that is? We spoke to Dermalogica corporate training manager Dennille Ludenau to find out the top causes of dry skin (and got her advice on how to address some of them)...
If your mum or dad struggles with dry skin, there’s a good chance you will too. “The main cause of dry skin is genetics,” says Dennille. Yep, just like oily skin, dry skin runs in the family. At least you know who to blame…
You’re probably painfully aware that stress can cause pimples, but did you know it can also lead to dry skin? As Dennille explains, it relates to “the impact on the production of important skin lipids such as cholesterol, ceramides and fatty acids.” When less lipids are produced by the skin, the skin barrier becomes deficient, leading to “more moisture evaporation and dry, dehydrated skin.”
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Cause: Dry climate
Harsh climates, whether very hot or very cold, “can also impact how the skin normally functions,” Dennille says. Normal skin types are more resilient as they produce sufficient oil to lock in and protect the skin’s water/moisture content. But if you have a dry skin type, air conditioning can exacerbate it even further. Top tip: keep some paw paw ointment in your handbag so you can shield your lips from moisture evaporation, even in the driest environment.
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Cause: Incorrect skin care routine
“Incorrect product use can strip the skin, leaving it feeling tight, dry, dehydrated and sensitive,” warns Dennille. As time goes on, “the skin can also appear flaky or have fine lines” – which is pretty much the opposite of what you want from your skin care products, amirite?
When it comes to product ingredients, steer clear of alcohol and salicylic acid, as these can have a drying effect. Instead, Dennille recommends gentle exfoliation, a rich moisturiser and cream-based face masks to “aid with maintaining a healthy barrier and ensure smooth, hydrated skin.” bh loves Thalgo Gentle Exfoliator, Jiv.Elan Deep Forest Hydration Intensive Face Cream ($89.00, jivelean.com.au), Dermalogica Age Smart Super Rich Repair and L'OCCITANE Immortelle Cream Mask - Face.
Finally, it can be helpful to seek professional advice. As Dennille says, “A prescribed skin care routine which is regularly reviewed by a professional skin therapist will ensure you are using the best products to maintain the health of your skin.”
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Cause: Hot showers
Love a hot shower? Unfortunately, this could be the cause of your dry complexion. “Hot showers can dehydrate the skin, leaving it feeling tight,” Dennille says. If you must have one, turn the heat down when washing your face, and apply your moisturiser immediately after to help lock in vital moisture.
Powder formulas may give you a fabulous matte finish, but they can be drying. Opt for a liquid foundation or nourishing cushion compact such as Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Cushion Compact SPF 30 instead, for a more moisturising makeup base. Then, top it off with a setting spray such as Australis Make-up Finishing Spritz, to ensure your skin stays hydrated and #flawless. Finally, removing your makeup with an oil-based cleansing balm (as opposed to a makeup wipe) can make all the difference: bh loves Trilogy Make-Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm.
Cause: Unhealthy diet
As Dennille explains, if you limit or remove good fats from your diet, you risk “impacting the production of important lipids, leading to skin that looks and feels dry and flaky.” Fatty-acid-rich foods are your friend: think seeds, avocado, oily fish, canola oil, walnuts and soybeans. Oh, and if your skin is going through a particularly dry patch (pun intended), limiting your alcohol intake is also a good idea!
Do you struggle with dry skin? What do you find helps make your skin more hydrated?