It’s unavoidable – as we age our skin dries out and becomes thinner.
As well as ageing, weather, water, indoor heating and cooling and chemicals can also dry out your skin.
While it may not be possible to reverse dry skin, thankfully with modern skincare and a few basic tweaks to your lifestyle you may easily be able to relieve some of the discomfort.
Showered with advice
The simplest change you can make to protect your skin is to lower the water temperature of your shower or bath.
Read: Post-swim skincare tips
Warmer water will remove more of the natural oils your body produces, so lowering the temperature a notch or two should keep your skin moist.
While we are on the subject of showers, also consider using a soap-free wash and moisturise immediately after you have stepped out of the stall.
Taking in the bigger picture, the steam your shower produces also provides a great microclimate for your skin, so try to keep the bathroom door closed, especially on hot days.
It also creates a great microclimate for mould, but that’s a worry for another day.
Read: Skin changes you should know about
Cream of the crop
Moisturiser is your friend. Find one that works for you.
However, it may be necessary to switch it up as the seasons change. Cold weather and harsh winter winds sap moisture away from the skin and may call for a more serious level of intervention.
Indoor heating adds to the problem, so while it’s tempting to hover over the heating duct or open fireplace, try to keep a sensible distance away.
To keep up the moisturising habit, place moisturisers where you can easily be reminded to use them – in the bathroom, on your bedside table and in the kitchen. Use as often as you can.
You may need different brands for different skin types. For example, your face moisturiser should be more targeted to your skin type, while your hand and body moisturiser can be more robust.
And explore your options for moisturisers. And it doesn’t have to be a swish brand. Some people swear by lanolin, so why not try some alternatives to what the cosmetic companies say we should be using such as jojoba oil, coconut oil, glycerine, and shea butter.
Read: Does men’s skin age better?
If you are suffering from dry or itchy skin it could be a reaction to ingredients in some of the more complex products, so maybe in some instances the simple things are often the best.
Ingredients to avoid if you have dry skin include alcohol – hand sanitisers are a big culprit – fragrances and retinoids.
Gloves are on
If you haven’t got into the habit of wearing rubber gloves while cleaning, it’s time to start now. Cleaning products often contain harsh chemicals so it’s vital to put a barrier between them and you.
If you live in a colder climate, also try wearing gloves when you go out. Once again, it’s a barrier between some of your most delicate skin and the weather that’s trying its best to draw out any moisture.
When to see a doctor
If your skin is continually itchy, red and cracks and bleeds, or becomes infected, the problem is well beyond a good moisturiser.
Dry skin can also be a symptom of other ailments such as poor gut health, so if the problem doesn’t improve, or seems to be getting worse, it’s time to book in with your GP.
Do you suffer from dry skin? Do you have a skincare regime to combat it? Why not share your suggestions in the comments section below?
Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.