Dry, flaky skin is the last accessory you want for your holiday parties but when the temperature drops your skin often reacts by losing moisture. There is less moisture in the air and you’re constantly going in between extreme temperatures from hot to cold and back again. Even if you don’t have dry skin to begin with you, you may find yourself experiencing rough, flaky patches of skin. The following four ingredients hydrate, exfoliate and keep your skin looking smooth and healthy.
Exfoliating your skin may be the last thing on your mind when you are experiencing flaky skin, but it is important to do so. Scrubs can be too harsh on dry skin, but using gentle alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliates your skin without being too rough. Two great AHAs for dry and flaky skin are glycolic and lactic acids. Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and has a bit more potency than lactic acid. Lactic acid can come from plant sources, but most commonly it is a by-product of sour milk. Both of these acids reduce the bonds that hold dead skin cells to your skin, but glycolic acid is a smaller molecule, which means that it can penetrate your skin more deeply and help stimulate collagen production. Salicylic acid, or BHA, is another chemical exfoliant that encourages cell turnover and regeneration and is typically suggested for those with oily or acne-prone skin.
Like glycerin, hyaluronic acid is a humectant that draws moisture from the air to your face. Hyaluronic acid is one of the greatest hydrating ingredients because it can hold roughly 1,000 times its weight in water. Like glycerin, hyaluronic acid adds moisture while also preventing loss of hydration by enhancing your skin’s barrier function. Hyaluronic acid not only helps your skin feel more hydrated, but it makes your skin appear more plump and supple.
Glycerin is a superstar for skin that is dry or flaking because it is able to attract moisture to your skin and keep it there. Glycerin hydrates your skin in addition to filling in any gaps in your skin’s barrier, through which moisture can leave your skin. This barrier serves as protection not only against future moisture loss, but also to keep environmental pollutants or irritants from damaging your skin.
Squalane is an oil that occurs naturally in your body and is also present in the livers of certain sharks and olive oil. Although squalane is produced by your body, the amount produced slows as you age with a significant drop occurring after age thirty. Squalane is thought to be particularly beneficial for restoring your skin’s proper balance of oils and moisture because it creates a barrier between your skin and the environment, keeping good things in while keeping bad things out. This oil does not have the traditional oily feel and is non-comedogenic, meaning that it won’t clog your pores. Squalane is non-irritating, making it safe for sensitive skin, but it also works well for acne-prone skin as it is thought to have antibacterial properties and can help soothe redness and inflammation while protecting against peeling and flaking.
While dry, flaky skin in the winter is a common occurrence, it is still incredibly frustrating to deal with. A consistent skin-care routine that uses a combination of hydrating ingredients is your best defense against problematic winter skin. Our four favorite skin-care ingredients for dry, flakey skin work to remove dead skin, add hydration and lock moisture into your skin.