HOW THE SKIN WORKS
Your skin has two layers: the outer epidermis and the inner dermis. The outer layer of skin, the epidermis, is mostly responsible for the health and appearance of skin. The outermost layer of the epidermis is the stratum corneum, which helps keep skin healthy and hydrated.
The topmost layer of your skin is made up of dead skin cells and oils that are combined together to create a protective barrier. They protect the living skin cells underneath them from infection, dehydration, chemicals, and other hazards. The dead skin cells on your body keep your skin healthy and hydrated by holding onto water. This helps to prevent dry skin.
Cells in the epidermis are constantly dividing to make new ones. The new cells are pushed to the surface where they replace the cells that are flaking off. This process is constant and ongoing.
It can take some time to see results from a skincare regimen because the skin needs time to renew itself. After four weeks of using the treatment, your skin will be completely renewed.
WHAT CAUSES DRY SKIN?
Why is my skin so dry? Below are some possible explanations from experts.
Almost everyone will have developed dry skin by the time they are 60, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. As we age, our skin becomes drier, duller, and less firm. As we age, the epidermis becomes thinner, resulting in less water retention and making the skin more prone to dehydration. As we age, our skin’s ability to regenerate the lipids that make up the stratum corneum declines. Essential fatty acids are even more important to support soft skin over time.
Dr. Agarwal says that exposure to cold weather is one of the most common causes of dry skin. Fall and winter can be tough on skin because the body is suddenly exposed to cool, dry air. This can lead to irritation and discomfort.
Sun exposure and dry climate can damage cells and make it difficult for skin to stay hydrated or heal itself. “Your skin will absorb water from its external environment in order to keep your body hydrated,” explains Mia Belle, paramedical aesthetician and CEO of Mia Belle Skin. If you live in a dry climate, your body will have to absorb more water to stay hydrated, eventually leading to water loss through the skin.
If you go on a fat-free diet, you may be depriving your skin of essential fatty acids. Alex Caspero, a nutritionist with a master’s degree in nutrition, explains that the skin barrier is made up of different types of lipids, including phospholipids, cholesterol, and free fatty acids. The skin needs certain fats to function properly as a barrier; without enough of these fats, water will escape the skin, leading to dehydration.
Both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics and cause dehydration in the skin. To improve your skin, try cutting back on your alcohol consumption and avoiding sweet foods. Sugar breaks down collagen and elastin, making skin appear dull. Belle stresses the importance that collagen has in keeping dry skin healthy. As we age, we need to give our bodies more support through collagen.
VITAMIN AND NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES
Even if you are being careful about what you eat and drink, it is important to have a diet that contains a variety of different types of foods. If you don’t consume enough nutrients, particularly vitamin D, vitamin A, niacin, zinc, and iron, you may start to experience dry skin, says the American Academy of Dermatology. There are supplements you can take that will help with dry skin.
If you have dry, flaky skin on your face, it may be because you smoke. Cigarette smoke contains harmful chemicals that break down the proteins that keep your skin firm and elastic. This causes your skin to age faster. The AAD says that when this happens, your skin becomes drier.
HOW TO BATTLE DRY SKIN AND HAIR, ACCORDING TO BEAUTY EXPERTS
This time of year, people start to realize they need to take care of their dry skin and hair. When it’s cold outside, our skin can become dry, itchy, and dull. This happens because the cold weather robs our bodies of essential moisture and oils. We asked several beauty experts how to properly address winter skin and hair woes to make sure our skin and hair are properly taken care of this winter.
Sarah Bradden, Cosmetic Acupuncturist
Facial Acupuncture, Bone Broth, and Cacao
No matter what products and treatments you apply, I think it is really important to have the right nutrient absorption to benefit your skin. I would advise eating seasonal broths and root vegetables throughout the winter in order to improve your skin health. These foods will help to nourish your body and improve the elasticity of your skin. because indoor heating robs our skin of moisture. Hydration is central Indoor heating can cause our skin to lose moisture, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Cacao is a great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that is especially good to consume in colder weather.
I suggest that my clients dry their body brush and avoid taking baths that are too hot, as this can cause the skin to become dry. It’s important to adapt your facial skincare routine during winter by using a nourishing cleanser to help keep your skin hydrated. Use your AHAs, but be aware of how your skin and body are reacting.
Although cosmetic acupuncture is often used to address facial concerns, I find that it is more beneficial to use it to rebalance the body as a whole. Your skin is an organ that needs to work correctly. I love getting massages in the winter, particularly gua sha facial massages. They incorporate acupressure points and facial exercises, which are great for relaxing the mind and body. Oils like rose or rosehip are great to use for the skin when you do gua sha massages. The cream prevents stagnation by keeping the circulation and lymph flowing.
Gina Marí, Facialist
Proper Exfoliation, Quality Multitasking Products, and Skin Tools
Exfoliation will not ‘over-dry’ your skin, it will prepare your skin for deeper product penetration. This is especially important during the winter months.
The key to exfoliating quality products is to find ones that multitask. Bradley Beauty’s Buff-N-Stuff is an excellent way to improve your complexion and overall skin health. The lemon enzyme, organic honey, and sugar beads are a perfect combination for head-to-toe exfoliation. Furtuna Skin’s Porte per la Vitalita Face and Eye serum is also one of my favorites. Their ingredients are sourced from a farm in Sicily and they are verified to use clean beauty products. The company uses a sound bath extraction process to remove active ingredients from plants, which is a new and innovative way to do this.
Other than moisturizer, there are tools that can be used on the body to help manage dry skin during the winter months. The company Esker Beauty recently launched a new product called the Body Plane. This product provides exfoliation without damaging the skin’s moisture barrier.
If you prefer to exfoliate in the bath or shower, exfoliating gloves are a great way to remove dead skin. A helpful hint is to change the gloves you store in the shower as frequently as you would a kitchen sponge.
Lastly, your feet. I use traditional products like Deborah Lippmann’s Soul Survivor on my feet. I usually leave my skin to heat up for a bit longer as my final step, which makes it easier to scrub. I keep lotion on my nightstand and apply it before I go to bed. I cover my feet with socks to lock in the moisture. For maximum results, Aquaphor can be applied to the most stubborn areas. If you enjoy taking baths during the winter months, you can add one cup of powdered milk to your bath water. This will add the exfoliating benefits of lactic acid and provide additional moisturizing relief.
Garren, Celebrity Stylist and Co-Founder of R+Co
Healing Hair Routines for Dry Hair and Scalp
When a client has a dry scalp, dry hair, and dry skin, I ask how often they shampoo their hair and how much product they use. This issue is likely caused by the weather changing and affecting the skin. Your winter hair and skin routine needs an update to prevent your skin from flaking and your hair from becoming dry, brittle, and fly away.
Then, I’d recommend doing a routine in steps. First, cleanse your hair with R+Co Acid Wash Apple Cider Vinegar Cleansing Rinse. You will want to work the shampoo through your hair and massage it into your scalp. Leave the conditioner in your hair for a few minutes before rinsing it out. Apply R+Co Bleu De Luxe Reparative Masque through the ends of your hair if it’s long, to moisturize and repair it. After shampooing your hair, apply the conditioner to your scalp and hair. Leave it in for five to ten minutes before wrapping your head in a towel and letting it sit on top of your head for additional conditioning. Go back and rinse your hair with both the R+Co Blue De Luxe Reparative Shampoo and Conditioner. Do this ritual twice a month. As your scalp heal, the flakiness will disappear.
Every once in a while, I use the Optical Illusion Smoothing Oil to get rid of flakes on my scalp. Rub it in, and let it sit there. After that, you can go into the shower and start your normal routine.
In terms of styling your hair during winter, I recommend that if you have a really dry scalp and you’re using products to style hair, don’t put products on the scalp. Your hair and body will change with the seasons because of the dryness in the air. Whenever you travel from the East to West Coast, your hair will respond differently and you may need to use different products to add moisture back into your hair.
I keep my skin’s moisture balance in check by using Sisley Energizing Foaming Exfoliant for the body every day. This scrub contains lavender and rosemary essential oils, and can help with dry skin. I’ll use a Dead Sea Mud soap on the rest of the body, which isn’t dry. It exfoliates dead skin cells. I use that daily. I use almond milk or argan oil soap occasionally if I want my skin to be extra soft. After I shower, I use a body cream that is very concentrated and that firms my skin. Firming the skin can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin.
I’ll then use the Sisley Restorative Body Cream on the bottom of my legs, and wear cashmere socks. If I don’t put this lotion on before I go on a plane, my skin gets really dry. This product does not make the skin greasy; it hydrated the skin and keeps the skin hydrated.
I use Sisley Hand Care Anti-Aging Concentrate on my hands. This product lasts me for more than a month and I use it frequently. I also take it with me wherever I go. I spread the hand sanitizer all over my hands. It has sun protection, too. I don’t want to have dry nail beds or skin, so I use this all the time.
Dr. Barbara Sturm
Hydrating Skin Routines, Milk Baths, Saunas, Lymphatic Drainage Massage
I use my body brush a few minutes before showering two to three times a week to get rid of dead skin on my arms and legs. In addition to helping me relax, this also helps to boost my metabolism, increase blood circulation, and lymph flow. I recommend always starting at your feet when dry brushing and using slow, clockwise strokes that brush upward toward the heart with firm (but not uncomfortable) pressure. I use the Sturm Facial Scrub in the shower to remove dead skin, impurities, and reduce ingrown hairs. This gives you smoother skin. I exfoliate my body with the scrub, then wash with the enzyme cleanser, and finish with the anti-aging body cream. This products helps to skin to maintain a balance of moisture.
I also love a good milk bath. They are full of nourishing vitamins and minerals. Vitamin E and zinc are good for the skin as they help support cell function and reduce inflammation. Milk contains lactic acid, which acts as a mild exfoliant by loosening the conjunctions between dead skin cells. The fats and proteins in food help to nourish and smooth adult skin, as well as the skin of babies and children. I apply lotion to my skin regularly to keep it soft and smooth.
A humidifier can help relieve dry skin in winter by adding moisture to the air. Put it next to your bed at night. The benefits of sauna use have been clinically studied, including skin and cardiovascular benefits. After you finish your sauna bath, it’s important to hydrate your skin by applying a Hyaluronic Serum and Face Cream. This will help lock in moisture and prevent dehydration. To avoid dehydrating your skin, use products with hydrating ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide. Also, use gentle ingredients and approaches on your skin such as non-abrasive cleansers, hydrating toners, and sleeping masks. It’s essential to apply hand cream frequently. I have a new hand cream that I highly recommend. Don’t forget that all the hand-washing and using hand sanitizer can strip oils from your skin. This cream is quickly absorbed by the skin and contains almond and shea butter, as well as various antioxidants, to restore your hands to their better days.