CAUSES AND CARE OF DRY SKIN

SHAHNAZ HUSAIN
Seasonal change, exposure to the sun, heating, soaps and chlorinated water, make-up cosmetics and air pollution can all lead to moisture loss and dry skin during winter. Daily appropriate care is essential, because dry skins become prone to early wrinkles and other signs of age.
Moisture is most important to dry skin. It helps to keep the skin soft, smooth and supple. During the dry season, for normal to dry skin, it is better to use a moisturising cream, applying it after cleansing and toning.  It should also be applied under make-up. If the skin is dry, a liquid moisturizer can be used at night, after cleansing and nour- ishing the skin.  Therefore, the daily care routine should be adjusted according to the requirements of the skin.
For dry skin, cleanse the face twice a day with a cleans- ing cream or gel, containing aloe vera, which helps to check moisture loss and also rehydrates the skin. Apply the cleanser, with a light massage and wipe it off with
moist cotton wool. You can also make a home-made cleanser for dry skin: To a tablespoon of cold milk add 2 drops of any veg- etable oil (olive, or til or sunflower oil). Dip cotton wool in it and wipe the skin. Make this for 2 or 3 days, but keep it in the refrigerator.
Apply a sunscreen, before going out in the sun. Most sunscreens have built-in moisturizers. Keep the skin well moisturised, especially in winter.
Nourishment is important for dry skin, as it not only lubricates the skin, but helps it to hold moisture better. It also softens the skin. After cleansing at night, apply nour- ishing cream on face and massage it with upward and out- ward movements, for 3 to 4 minutes. Wipe off excess cream with moist cotton wool before bedtime.
The skin around the eyes is thin and delicate. It acquires lines and wrinkles easily. Apply an under-eye cream and wipe it off after 15 minutes, with moist cotton wool. Or, daily apply pure almond oil sparingly and mas- sage lightly, using only the ring finger, for one minute under each eye. Massage in one direction only. The skin on the lips is also thin and lacks oil producing glands. It becomes dry and chaps easily. After cleansing, apply almond oil or almond cream on the lips daily and leave it on all night. Lip balms are also useful. For skin on the body, arms and legs, apply warm sesame seed oil before bath, massaging it into the skin. Use mild glycerine soap.
Immediately after your bath, apply a body lotion while the skin is still damp. This helps to seal in moisture.
Drink plenty of water. Have foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, like seafood and fish, flax seed, nuts, seeds, soya bean. A lack of Vitamin A can also lead to dry skin, so include carrots, apricot, and yellow bell peppers.
Nuts and seeds in general are also rich in vitamin E, which additionally supports the skin’s lipid layer and ensures better skin hydration.