How to Tackle Dry Skin This Winter
Changes in the weather seem to always wreak havoc on the skin, especially men with busy lifestyles who are always on the move. When it comes to tackling dry skin in autumn, it can feel like the whole world is against you. Wind, rain, and ice cold temperatures can work together to increase dryness, which can be very annoying if you already struggle with it anyway.
Let’s take a look at the causes of dry skin and the many ways you can help combat it, especially when the cold starts creeping in.
What causes dry skin in men?
The most superficial layer of the skin is called the epidermis and it’s the bit that holds the moisture. When it’s not hydrated properly, it’ll become dry and might then be flaky and itchy as a result. There are a whole range of reasons why the epidermis might lack moisture, from how much water you drink to the temperature of the room you’re in.
Your epidermis is made up of protein and fat, known as lipid. The lipid has a whole bunch of proteins within it that deals with dehydration, but when these proteins are lacking the moisture will disappear more quickly. This is only exacerbated by the external factors we just mentioned. A lot of the temperature-related issues are actually to do with humidity. For example, if you were to sit in front of an open fire (something we all love to do when winter comes round), the dry air that is being heated by the fire will actually help the moisture evaporate from the skin.
This is why so many people complain about dry skin in the winter. We often go from the office, to the cold outdoors, then back on a hot tube train, then back outside, then home in front of the fire. All these changes in temperature, as well as constantly being blasted by central heating, come together to create chaos for your skin.
When the skin becomes dry, it can become more sensitive. Luckily there are a few steps you can take and handy products you can use to soothe dry and sensitive skin in order to give yourself the best defence against winter weather.
What are the best products for dry skin?
There’s not much you can do to avoid the cold weather but there are changes you can make to your skincare routine to tackle the problem of dry skin. In fact, the products you use at the moment might not be the right answer for sensitive skin.
Your existing skincare products might contain harsh ingredients or alcohol, which can strip the skin of valuable layers of protection. Start with your soap – soap is a very effective cleanser which is known to remove the oils on the skin. If your skin is dry by nature, it might not be able to replenish itself and excessive washing can make it worse.
It is recommended that you opt for products that have been specifically designed for sensitive skin, such as our Sensitive Bar Soap, as they will contain ingredients that are known to help reduce the dryness and increase hydration whilst not being harsh to your skin. But what products do you actually need?
A good quality face wash is vital for happy, healthy skin. Whereas a standard soap may dry you out, a face wash designed for sensitive skin will be able to help you retain the natural oils that you face needs while still cleaning your face of the dirt and grime is collects over the course of the day (lovely!).
Our Sensitive Face Wash is a non-drying face wash, specially formulated to cleanse the skin leaving it feeling refreshed. It contains the following key ingredients; It’s got willow herb, which is a unique plant from the Northern Canadian prairies that has multi-functional phytochemical properties (a fancy way of saying it’s hardy against the climate. It also contains oat, grown and harvested in good ol’ Blighty, which is known for effective skin emmolience and softening properties. And let’s not forget baobab oil, which comes from South Africa is known for its skin smoothing and moisturisation properties. Perfect for sensitive skin.
We cannot sing its praises enough – moisturiser is the one thing you should always be using on sensitive skin. Many men with dry skin that has become sensitive steer clear of moisturiser because they think it might make things worse. The problem isn’t the use of moisturiser itself, it’s just the one you’re using. When you choose a product designed for your specific skin type, the things that make your skin worse won’t be there.
Lots of moisturisers contain potentially irritating ingredients like synthetic fragrances and artificial colours, those are the things that can aggravate sensitive skin. Of course, all men are different and so is their skin, but giving yourself the best chance against that sensitivity means choosing the right product. Lucky we have have a whole sensitive range then isnt’ it? Our Sensitive Moisturiser contains all those awesome ingredients we mentioned up above (willow herb, baobab, and oat) and works to help you retain hydration and moisture without adding to the sensitivity.
Shaving Cream and Aftershave
If you struggle with dry skin, shaving can be the worst part of your day. Scraping a razor over sensitive skin feels rough and you likely end up feeling like you’ve done more harm than good. Again, go for a proper shaving product that will hydrate as you shave. Use warm water instead of hot and massage the cream into your stubble so it has the chance to soften the hairs before you start with the razor.
Aftershave can be one of the harshest things to put on your face as they traditionally contained alcohol and a heavy fragrance, which is not a mix that loves your freshly shaven face. Alcohols in aftershave act as an astringent which helps to reduce the chance of infection if you cut yourself, and it also removes oil. However, the last thing you need with a sensitive face is to get rid of those oils and dry the skin out more. So, yep you guessed it, choose one made for sensitive skin.
What other steps can you take to combat dry skin?
Of course, there are other things you can be doing in your day-to-day life to reduce dryness and sensitivity. Aside from changing up your skincare routine and products, the best thing to do is to try and limit your exposure to the dry air, which is often easier said than done.
Get a humidifier
One of the best things you can do is invest in a room humidifier which can help maintain the level of humidity in a room. Use this in your own home to emit water into the air to increase those moisture levels – not only will it help your skin, but it’s great for reducing the congestion that comes with cold and flu (another thing that we hate about winter).
Wear natural fibres
Another thing that could be affecting your skin is the clothing you wear. Although we’ve leaned more towards the face in this piece, we know how annoying dry skin can be all over your body. That’s why it’s good to try and avoid wool (tell your nan to steer clear of the knitting needles this for your Christmas present…) and opt for natural fibres and cotton, which are softer on the skin and cause less irritation.
Don’t forget your lips and hands
Speaking of other parts of the body – hand cream and lip balm are your friends this winter. Keeping them close by during the day can help you fight chapped hands and lips which are some of the most irritating skin issues for this time of year.
Wash with lukewarm water
Although winter usually means an extra ten minutes in a boiling hot shower every morning, it’s actually pretty bad for your skin. We know, we know, no one likes a lukewarm shower, but if you want to give your skin the best chance at retaining the natural oils that give your skin its moisture.
Drink LOTS of water
It’s an age-old suggestion that we’ll always keep giving you, but only because it’s so important. It seems like everyone tells you a different optimal amount of water to drink in a day, but trust us, anything is better than nothing at all. Have a bottle with you at work and make sure you drink from it at regular intervals. Then, when you get home make sure you have a few glasses over the course of the evening. Not only does water help your skin on the outside, but it’ll help your insides too.