Fall...for many of us it’s a love/ hate relationship. While we adore the changing leaves, warm, woodsy breeze and the chance to finally show off those chic boots, we shudder at the thought of the dry, flaky skin that accompanies the season. After scouring the web and years of trial and error, we’ve created the ultimate guide to combating dry skin this fall. Read on to discover our (now not so secret) remedies.
Where does dry skin come from?
There are a variety of factors that contribute to dry skin. One of the most common (and elusive) causes of irritated skin comes from our frequent exposure to harsh chemicals found in traditional household items and beauty products. Parabens, Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and Formaldehydes strip our skin of its natural oils and causes skin irritations like flakiness and rashes. Other culprits include overexposure to UV rays, dehydration, over-exfoliation, excessive heat, low humidity and, unfortunately, genetics. Our skin is our largest organ and the epidermis (the top-most layer of our skin) is, as you can imagine, quite sensitive.
Why does my skin tend to dry out more during the fall?
Our skin may become especially dry during the colder months because of a few key reasons:
1. Lower humidity levels.
In the fall and winter there are less water molecules in the air than during the summer months. This means your skin’s surface has less moisture to cling onto, causing greater dehydration.
2. We love to stay warm.
When the weather starts to dip, I’ll admit there’s nothing I love more than sitting next to a cozy fire or turning up the heat to keep my house toasty and warm. Unfortunately, after years spent sitting under a blazing heat source, I found out that indoor heat has a major drying effect on the skin. Unlike the air on a sunny day that contains water molecules, “artificial” indoor heat pulls moisture from the skin and dries out our mucous membranes. The same concept applies for hot showers and baths. During the colder months, we tend to recuperate from the chilly weather by taking long, hot showers and baths. While this may be oh so relaxing (trust us, we get it), the hot water stripes our skin of its natural oils. This is why we notice more dandruff when we take very hot showers, or feel our skin firm up and lose its elasticity shortly after a long soak.
3. We drink less water.
Need yet another reason to stay hydrated? Yep, it’s true. Dehydration causes our skin to flake, dry out and change its appearance. In a study conducted in 2007, participants that drank more water than they had previously drank before a 4 week study were found to have noticeably healthier, softer and smoother skin. Coincidence? We think not. In the winter, we tend to gravitate towards warmer liquids like coffee and hot cocoa, leaving behind the cucumber-infused water we clung onto during summer. With 20-30% of our skin being comprised of water, it’s important we keep hydrated all year long.
Now, the Remedies.
The most important concept to keep in mind when combatting dry skin? Trapping IN the moisture. Topical solutions, like lotions, creams and oils only work if they are able to soak into the skin and actually lock in moisture. For this reason, we formulated Skylar Body products with a special emphasis on delivering intense hydration and keeping it in. The result? Skin that feels dewy, hydrated and softer. All. Day. Long.
One of the key ingredients found in our wash and lotion, hyaluronic acid, is what dermatologists call a humectant. Humectants work by attracting moisture (think magnets) and boosting our skin’s ability to soak in more water molecules. Once our skin draws in moisture, the coconut oil, rosehip oil, hemp seed oil and shea butter found in our body care works to lock it in. Lather up our wash in the shower, apply the lotion while your skin is still slightly damp, and delight in the light, elevated scents.
- Maximize the hydrating benefits of our lotion by applying it after the shower, before bed (our skin tends to dry out during sleep), after exercising and before entering into a cold/ dry space.
- Aim to drink at least 6 cups of water a day for the reasons mentioned earlier in this post. (Think of water as your best friend).
- Introduce a humidifier into your home, especially in your bedroom and spaces where you usually have the fan or AC going.
- Avoid over-exfoliating your skin. While exfoliating is wonderful for removing dead, unwanted skin and encouraging new cell growth and renewal, over-exfoliation strips your skin of natural oils, leading to cracks and excess flakes.