By Shyla Rood, Esthetician
We have all felt it at one point or another, that flakey, dry, itchy feeling that plagues every Calgarian as soon as the weather takes a turn for the worst. When I moved from Kelowna to Calgary in 2008, I thought I was going to need a nightly soak in a tub full of moisturizer; I had never been so dry in my life! Thank goodness I went to esthetic school and I was not the only one that was dealing with cracked, dry skin. Have no fear a cure is here!
A Quick Skin Lesson
Skin is the largest organ in the human body; it interfaces with the environment and is the first line of defence from external factors. The skin plays a key role in protecting the body against pathogens and trans-epidermal water loss, it also regulates body temperature, sensation and the production of vitamin D foliates. When skin becomes dry and irritated the level of protection is lowered causing sensitivity, cracking and sometimes infection.
Why we get dry
- Lack of hydration - are you drinking enough water?
- Low humidity - Calgary's climate or office air
- Artificially Fragranced Soaps/body washes and other products -fragrance is just an irritant and a carcinogenic, it does not help your skin!
How to say "Goodbye" to dry skin
Exfoliation: feeding your skin is important but you want to make sure you're feeding the healthy skin that needs to be fed and not wasting product on dead skin cells. Lactic Acid is a great way to gently exfoliate the skin without scratching and irritating it, try the Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant by Eminence.
Shorter Showers/Chemical Laden Soaps: Long or frequent showers remove protective oils that the skin naturally produces. When the oils are lost, water from the skin also escapes. Using harsh soap can exacerbate the effect. Soap cleansers are alkaline, which are damaging to the skin, they can aggravate dryness and leave your skin feeling tight and even, eventually, lead to a rash.
Moisturize: Don't skip this step! Protecting your skin for the elements is very important. Finding the right moisturizer for you depends on your skin type, my personal favourite for the winter is the Firm Skin Acai Moisturizer due to the hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a complex sugar, known as glycosaminoglycan, and is found throughout the body. It is particularly prevalent in connective tissue, the synovial fluid around joints, the eyes, the heart, the intervertebral spinal disks and the skin. It transports nutrients to cells and removes toxins, it acts as a cushioning agent, it lubricates joints and, importantly for the skin care industry, it facilitates water retention in body tissue. In fact, hyaluronic acid can absorb more than one thousand times its weight in water!
Humidifiers: A quick and simple way to help your whole family beat the dry skin blues is an in home humidifier. There are point-of-use humidifiers, which are commonly used to humidify a single room, and whole-house or furnace humidifiers, which connect to a home's HVAC system to provide humidity to the entire house. A relative humidity of 30% to 50% is recommended for most homes. Humidifiers are not only useful for skin ailments but also help prevent nose bleeds, asthma symptoms and scratchy throats. When looking into a humidifier please make sure you check out all of the options, there are many different types and depending on your family's health concerns steam vs. cool-mist can make all the difference.
The best way to treat and prevent dry skin and breakouts is to have an esthetician by your side to help take you through the change of seasons. The Natural Art of Skin Care offers complimentary Professional Skin Care Analysis appointments that will provide you with the knowledge to get you started on your personal journey to glowing, healthy skin.