Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist - Written by Rithi Choudhary (Journalist) on 11th Feb 2021
Winter Skincare Ingredients For Dry Skin
If you think Oreo Biryani is a bad combination, let us prove you wrong by stating that Dry Skin and Winter are the worst possible combination. If your dehydrated skin was even slightly moisturized during the summers, come winter, and your skin gets plagued with drought. But enough ranting on how big a nuisance winters are for dry skinned beauties.
Let us act as your fairy godmother and guide you through winter skincare tips and tricks, especially for dry skin.
Dry Skin 101
First of all, you do not need to be a skin expert or esthetician to determine if you have dry skin. If, after washing your face or stepping out of the shower, your skin starts to feel tight and stretched, you, my dear, have dry skin. Another easy way to determine is by scratching a fingernail through your skin. If it leaves a faint white mark, then you have skin that is screaming for hydration. The skin can often be scaly, itchy, and patchy when not adequately moisturized. And the condition worsens in drier climates.
Our skin has oil glands underneath that secretes sebum (oil) for keeping the skin lubricated and protected. Dry skin generally produces a lot less sebum than normal skin and oily skin. Hence one trip to the shower and the meager amount of oil your skin possesses is stripped off.
While dry skin can be genetic, one may also develop later in their life as they age. People with normal skin in summers can also develop dry skin in harsh, cold climates. Certain skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis, also lead to dry skin. Other than that, pollution and oxidative stress can also make skin drier and susceptible to developing premature lines and wrinkles.
Best Ingredients For Dry Skin
Do you know that when it comes to skincare, it is not the pricey products that will yield better skin, but it is the quality of ingredients used in the formulation? Time and again, we have mentioned how important it is to turn the bottle and educate yourself about the ingredients used in skincare products.
Because a brand may claim it's all but shea butter and some exotic flower oil that makes up their moisturizer. But if you turn to the ingredient list, you will find out that these ingredients are often down in the key list. The first ingredients are often aqua, glycerine, and a bunch of dimethicones (silicones). In that case, it is the ingredient present in the highest quantity in the formulation, and the ingredient (for example, an exotic flower oil) is at the bottom of the least. Its concentration is the lowest in the formulation. Now think about the price you are paying for that exotic flower oil based on which the product is being marketed. The concentration of that ingredient will be so low that it would not make any significant difference to your skin.
This is why we encourage you to learn about the cosmetic industry's ingredients and figure out what's healthy and what's not. Our blog has covered most of the commonly used actives in the skincare industry. And like always, we urge you to go through it before blindly picking up a product.
Now let us provide you the solution like friends do. Here we have curated a list of the best ingredients that you should be looking for in a moisturizer/serum for keeping your dry skin well-nourished and full of life.
Colloidal oatmeal is one ingredient you should not miss out on when choosing a moisturizer. This finely ground oatmeal extract is loaded with antioxidants, flavonoids, beta-glucans, vitamin E, essential minerals, and skin-replenishing lipids (fats). Colloidal oatmeal is hailed for its anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing skin properties, helping relieve skin irritation and redness. It also keeps the skin hydrated by drawing moisture from the environment and holding onto it, thereby keeping the skin well-nourished. Bid farewell to dry skin.
Ceramides are simply lipids (fats) present in the top layers of the skin that protect the skin barrier by preventing moisture loss. A weak skin barrier is more likely prone to inflammation, irritation, environmental damage, and aging signs.
While our skin naturally produces ceramides, as we age, this natural production depletes, which results in a compromised skin barrier. But we have science, which has enabled us to put ceramides into our moisturizers to help replenish this loss & keep the skin barrier intact.
Hyaluronic Acid is so famous for its ability to quench the thirst of dehydrated skin that if it had an Instagram page of its own, it would have followers in millions. HA is a natural component/compound produced in the body responsible for maintaining moisture & lubricating the joints. Hyaluronic acid in skincare is gentle & soothing for the most sensitive & easily irritated skin types. Hyaluronic acid can boost collagen production by aiding its synthesis by surrounding the skin cells that produce it with water and save it from environmental damage. Hyaluronic acid production in our bodies, like collagen, decreases as we age. Therefore the topical application of Hyaluronic acid gives dehydrated skin that extra boost.
Always layer hyaluronic acid serum with a moisturizer because hyaluronic acid is a water magnet. If the climate outside is dry, it won't be pulling moisture from the environment but the inner layers of your skin. Putting on a moisturizer will help combat that.
Squalane is a wonderful oil for not just dry skin but also sensitive skin. Squalane is a natural oil produced by the body for skin lubrication. It has antioxidant properties and helps the body fight off free radicals and repair skin cells. Squalane also forms a protective barrier on the skin, calms inflammation, relieves redness, and soothes the skin. Although our bodies naturally produce squalane, its production decreases in quantity as we age. As a result, the skin loses its suppleness. But at Minimalist, we have bottled it down for you so that you never have to go through a spell of dehydrated skin.
We love to multitask, and panthenol, known as Provitamin B5 or Dexpanthenol, is an alcohol derived from pantothenic acid. Vit B5 acts as both a humectant and an emollient. An emollient helps soften and lubricate the skin while a humectant holds on to moisture and rejuvenates the skin cells with nourishment. Panthenol is also anti-inflammatory, and it helps relieve skin irritation, redness, sunburn, and acne inflammation while also repairing skin cells. When panthenol is applied to the skin, it gets converted to the active form of Vit B5 or pantothenic acid. Vitamin B5 is essential in maintaining skin barrier function, thereby preventing moisture loss (transepidermal water loss) from the skin.
We can never stop raving about how much we heart Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, a form of Vitamin B3 (niacin). Niacinamide helps build a protective ceramide barrier on the uppermost layers of the skin. It is anti-inflammatory, making it an effective treatment for soothing skin inflammation and conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, etc.
However, if you are new to Niacinamide and have dry skin start with a low concentration of 2% and stick to not more than 5% if using serum forms.
Cleopatra loved her milk baths, and rightly so. What made milk so special in her beauty regime? Turns out it was the lactic acid. Lactic acid is the mildest Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) that gently sheds the dead skin cells and provides hydration to the skin. Dry skin needs to be exfoliated once a week to shed the dead skin cells and reveal new, younger cells.
But when choosing an exfoliator, go with a chemical exfoliator like lactic acid, which effectively removes dead skin cells, hydrates, and boosts collagen production instead of the harsh granulated scrubs, which leaves your skin even more irritated.
Ingredients To Avoid
- Harsh Sulphates: Sulphates are cleansing agents used in skincare and haircare. Not all sulfates are the same. There are milder sulfates too. But avoid harsh, stripping sulfates like Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate.
- BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids): Beta Hydroxy Acids like Salicylic Acid are the best friends of oily skinned beauties. Dry skinned beauties should stick with the dry skin-friendly AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) for exfoliation and treating acne.
- Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl Peroxide is an excellent ingredient to treat acne. But it leads to a lot of dryness. And even dry skin can be acne-prone. So when it comes to treating acne on dry skin, consult your dermatologist for the best option suited to your skin. Azelaic acid is a milder and non-irritating alternative to benzoyl peroxide.
- Fragrance: Who would not want to smell like an orchard or a rose garden? This is the reason we love fragrance in our moisturizers and other cosmetic products. But fragrance, that is, smelling good, comes with a cost. The fragrance is an umbrella term for a cocktail of chemicals used in skincare products to the pleasant aroma. It is also used to mask the smell of the other ingredients in the formulation that doesn't smell good or pleasant. But fragrance has no benefit in skincare and is the primary cause of skin sensitivity and allergic reactions. Dry skin is prone to irritation, and the last thing you want is to further irritate your skin by using a moisturizer loaded with fragrances. Opt for fragrance-free variants, and your olfactory receptors may not, but our skin will thank you.
DOs and DONTs For Dry Skin
- Avoid hot water showers as they strip essential oils from the skin
- Avoid products with fragrance as prolonged use of fragrances may lead to contact dermatitis, which again contributes to dry skin.
- Avoid using bar soaps and cleansers with Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS).
- Protect/save your skin from harsh cold winds and pollution with proper clothing when going out.
- Do not go overboard with skin exfoliation. Stick to once a week only.
- Moisturize immediately after stepping out of the shower.
- Never, ever, ever skip the sunscreen as UV damage will lead to collagen degradation and ultimately yield dry skin.
Minimalist's Go-to DIY For Dry Skin
While we are not a fan of DIYs because you can go wrong on so many levels if an ingredient is not used in the right concentration, like putting undiluted lemon juice on your face (please do not torture your skin), but it is also time-consuming and messy.
Our busy lives seldom allow us that. But here is an easy, safe, and effective DIY that we heart - Honey and Oats Face Mask.
- Ingredients: Honey, Oats, Milk
- Direction: Grind some oats into a fine powder and cook it with some milk. Let it cool and mix with a teaspoon of honey. Use it liberally all over your face and wash off after 20-30 minutes. Voila! Hello, plump, rejuvenated, and glowing skin.
The reason this DIY is effective is because of the hero ingredients used here
- Honey: antibacterial and anti-inflammatory
- Milk: Contains AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and, therefore, mildly exfoliates.
- Oats: antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory, brings in hydration to the skin.
Stay Hydrated! Stay Beautiful!