Autumn is officially here, and while I’m ready to welcome the pumpkin spice lattes and cosy knitwear, I’m less enthused about the onset of dry skin. As the chillier season hits, you might be looking for a little extra help in the hydration department – and a good moisturiser for dry skin is the swiftest solution.
While some of us are prone to parched complexions all year round, for others it may be a seasonal shift that causes flakiness and sensitivity. If you’re particularly familiar with the latter, Dr Ash Soni, Plastic Surgeon and Aesthetics Doctor at GetHarley, says now’s the most important time to build up your hydration barrier to combat the pesky dry-skin season.
There are multiple factors that can spur on dry skin, from genetics to your skincare routine. However, it’s the blustery cold air and central heating that make matters worse this time of year. Dr Jason Thomson, Head of Medical at Skin + Me says that these seasonal changes cause our skin to become drier which, in turn, weakens our barrier and opens the door to irritation and sensitivity.
Unfortunately, if you really struggle with a parched complexion, it may take a little more than slapping on a claggy cream in hopes it will solve your woes. ‘It’s best to moisturise twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening,’ says Dr Soni. ‘I’d also apply your moisturiser right after washing your face as this helps to trap water in the skin.’ He advises using tepid water rather than hot, to avoid causing additional dehydration.
‘It’s also worth making sure the rest of your skincare routine is geared towards looking after dry skin,’ says Dr Thomson. ‘This means using a gentle, hydrating cleanser and avoiding any powerful active ingredients that may damage your skin barrier.’
What should you look for in a hydrating moisturiser?
When scanning the shelves for a good moisturiser, it’s important to pay attention to what’s inside the formula. ‘A good hydrating cream will contain a mixture of moisturising ingredients: humectants, emollients and occlusives,’ says Dr Thomson.
Let’s begin with humectants. These are ingredients which draw moisture from the environment to the skin, and while there are many variations that aid hydration, there’s one that rises above. ‘Hyaluronic acid is the key humectant,’ says Dr Soni. ‘It binds water, and really holds that moisture within the skin.’
Next we have occlusives. These are applied to really lock in that hydration. According to Dr Soni, a natural squalane is your go-to here as it helps to protect your skin’s moisture barrier. Finally, emollients are the skin softeners, helping to make rough skin more comfortable. Shea butter, oat, ceramides and coconut oil are great options for dry skin, suggests Dr Thomson.
One more thing: which ingredients should you be wary of? Dr. Soni flags salicylic acid, glycolic acid, fragrances and denatured alcohols (look for alcohol denat on your inci list) as potentially problematic.
So, to save you squinting at the backs of all those bottles, I’ve done my research and rounded up all the top moisturisers for dry skin.