Although warmer weather is here for many of us, that doesn’t mean that dry skin is over. Some people still suffer from dry skin year-round. What makes matters worse is that dryness on melanin-rich skin is much more prevalent than in those with a lighter skin complexion. It’s much harder to hide but luckily it’s not too difficult to handle.
Dry skin is universal. However, certain groups are more likely to be affected by it, like Black women, for example. Dry skin causes discomfort, pain, and for Black women who take pride in their skin, it can even cause embarrassment.
Causes of dry skin can vary from person to person but it is important to know what you’re up against. Dermatologist, Dr. Hope Mitchell, says that dry skin is caused by several factors.
“Daily exposure to environmental agents like wind, lack of humidity, sun, etc. can cause the skin’s natural moisture barrier to break down, allowing water to escape the skin,” Dr. Hope said. “Dry skincare recommendations may not be similar for all ethnicities because Black patients have decreased ceramides and therefore may be more prone to dry, sensitive skin.”
Certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism and diabetes, can also be the cause. However, studies show that Black people have higher rates of water loss in their skin than their white counterparts. Thus, putting Black women at higher risk for dry skin as well. Other causes of dry skin in Black women include environmental factors like exposure to cold, dry air, and harsh chemicals in soaps and skincare products.
How To Battle Dry Skin
Keeping dry skin consistently moisturized is not an easy feat. It does take consistency and even on the days when you’re feeling lazy, you still have to tend to your skin. To make it easier, Dr. Mitchell outlined a few tips.
- Avoid hot showers. Take shorter, cooler showers using gentle cleansers, pat the skin dry and apply a moisturizing lotion or cream while the skin is still damp.
- Keep your skin moisturized. Apply moisturizers immediately after bathing while your skin is still moist. The best moisturizers for dry skin combine a humectant with an emollient to prevent loss of water and restore skin hydration. Dr. Mitchell recommends Vaseline’s Intensive Care lotions. They contain Ultra-Hydrating Lipid technology to work with your skin to help replenish its own ceramides while also helping maintain evenness in texture and smoothness.
- Use a humidifier. Add much-needed moisture to the air and help prevent your skin from drying out.
- Don’t skip nightly moisturizer. When you sleep, your skin heals, recovers, repairs and improves because it is not fighting the sun or free radicals from the environment. During sleep there is a more consistent blood flow and product penetration; however, the skin is more permeable causing one to lose moisture. So, a nightly skincare routine should impart plenty of moisture to compensate for water loss. Apply creams at night with hyaluronic acid and ceramides which lock in and hold moisture in the skin.
- Wear SPF or sunscreen. To prevent damage from the sun and other external factors wear a SPF. It will help slow the weakening of your skin’s barrier.
21Ninety has curated a list of some of the best products for dry skin.
Vaseline Intensive Care
As Dr. Mitchell has suggested, Vaseline Intensive Care Body Lotion is a great way to go. This product locks in moisture and repairs extremely dry skin. The brand has an entire line focused on skin that needs a little more TLC. It is curated with Ultra-Hydrating Lipids and other ingredients like Aloe Vera extract, Vitamin E, Almond Oil and Cocoa Butter.
The Era Organics Manuka Honey Face Cream locks in moisture for 8-12 hours. It contains minerals and vitamins, that keep your skin healthy. It helps repair damaged skin cells, stimulates cell growth, and restores the natural moisture barrier. The cream also helps maintain the skin’s pH balance, stimulate collagen production, and improve elasticity.
The Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Face Moisturizer is great because it is formulated with vitamin B3 and hyaluronic acid. These are two of the most hydrating and skin-nourishing ingredients. It helps improve the rate of skin cell turnover and removes dead skin cells. To top it all off, it is fragrance-free which is great for sensitive skin. This face cream gives you visibly firmer and smoother skin with regular use.
The SheaMoisture African Black Soap Balancing Moisturizer is great for dry skin but also works for combination and oily skin types. It contains tamarind extract and tea tree oil to fight blemishes and keep your skin clear.
CeraVe has always been the company you could rely on for dry skin issues. This fragrance-free moisturizer does the trick every time for dry skin and even those who have eczema. It contains ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides, which makes it a dermatologist’s favorite.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment has been used in dry-skin households for years. Ointments are great at fortifying the skin barrier and locking in moisture. Aquaphor is made to do just that. It has glycerin which helps repair a damaged skin barrier. It’s another fragrance-free option, making it perfect for those with sensitive skin.
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