When seasonal changes wreak havoc with your beauty regime, protecting yourself can be tricky. Luckily, soothing dry skin doesn’t always involve extravagant spending. Often, the problem can actually be solved by taking things away! There’s never been a better time to be a label-checker thanks to the consultative powers of the web.
Did you know beauty products can sometimes exacerbate issues? By using the wrong kind of chemicals for our skin type, we could actually be working against our body’s healing process.
Take a quick look at your bathroom shelf. If you have dry skin and use any of the following ingredients, the solution to your problems could be close at hand: remove offending items!
1. Intense exfoliators
When skin begins to dry, flaking is often the first visible sign. What’s a good practice to remove flaky skin? Light exfoliation.
So, what’s the problem? Over exfoliation can do serious damage to dry skin and intensify your problems. There’s a fine line between a light grazing (to remove dead cells) and intensive rubbing (exposing soft layers).
If you’re going to use a mechanical exfoliator like a loofah, make sure you’re using it lightly. Limit sessions to 3 times weekly, maximum.
A better alternative is chemical exfoliation. This can give you the benefits of removing dead skin cells without having to use any rubbing action. Products with BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids) work by gently sloughing off dead particles.
2. Denatured alcohol
Did you know there are multiple types of alcohol? When sold commercially, alcohol is often denatured to make it undrinkable. This means changing the formula to include poisonous chemicals. By doing this, manufacturers can circumvent taxes.
So, how exactly does this relate to my skin? Denatured alcohol is a common ingredient in skincare products.
Because ethanol evaporates quickly, companies often use it in products to speed up drying times. Unfortunately, this can often damage the skin’s natural oils, destroying the barrier against moisture loss. As you can imagine, this can lead to dry, cracked flesh.
Denatured/simple alcohols are normally found in toners and astringents. They’re particularly popular in products for teenagers, thanks to their oily skin.
Only certain forms of alcohol are damaging to skin (e.g. ethanol): these are what ‘alcohol-free’ products normally refer to. Ingredients like cetyl, stearyl, and arachidyl alcohol are ‘fatty’ alcohols.
Their molecules have longer chains, helping them improve cosmetics’ texture and moisturise. Don’t worry about these ingredients, they can often be beneficial to us!
3. Powdered foundation
You’ve probably heard the old adage: people with dry skin should stick with liquid foundation. Although the cosmetic landscape is starting to change, it’s still a good hard and fast rule to live by.
Caking and flaking - two things that just aren’t going to do your skin any favours. If you have dry skin problems already, you can imagine how much worse a low quality powdered foundation is going to make things.
Old school powders are a cardinal sin when it comes to skincare, but if you’re really after the ‘airbrushed’ effect, you could always opt for a modern clay foundation. This is a powder with the effects of a cream, smoothing blemishes rather than enhancing them.
4. Benzoyl peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide is absolutely notorious for drying skin. If there was a ranking for commonly complained about ingredients, this chemical would be in the top spot.
This chemical reduces bacteria that can cause acne while drying the skin.
Although it plays a vital role in acne medication, companies often slip benzoyl peroxide into cleansers, gels, and toner solutions. Good news for acne sufferers, not so great for people with dry skin.
5. Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid loosens the bonds between outer layers of skin, encouraging exfoliation and cleansing pores. By dissolving debris trapped under the surface of the skin, this chemical can obliterate blackheads and whiteheads.
The problems really start when dry skin is thrown into the mix. Unfortunately, like other ingredients on this list, salicylic acid can exacerbate dry skin problems. Because its effects can irritate dry skin, it’s very easy to overdo.
Formed from willow bark, the natural anti-acne effects of salicylic acid mean it’s turning up in more and more products, from toners to foundations. It’s important to keep a vigilant eye out if trying to avoid this chemical.
With some small changes to your daily routine, you could significantly reduce the negative impact of modern beauty products. It’s easy to forget how powerful these chemicals can be. Unless you know exactly why you’re using each product, it can be better to err on the side of caution. Always consult a doctor if you have any extreme reactions, or dry skin is causing you serious concerns.