It’s that time of year when layering takes center stage for clothes AND skin. For people with skin on the drier side, this means paying closer attention to the products that make up an optimized regimen, to ensure that skin remains healthy and hydrated during the winter months.
Dealing with dry skin can be tough, especially if you live in an area with an arid climate or really intense winters. Sometimes, finding products that hydrate your skin enough to avoid that cracked feeling at the end of the day can present a challenge. Thankfully, knowing which ingredients provide the best solution could be the key to perfecting a cold-weather beauty routine. When you are aware of what to look out for, it’s easier to shop more efficiently and curate a course of skin therapy that yields actual results. That said, here are the top five ingredients for dry skin types to look out for, and why.
This is the number one ingredient that I look out for when I shop for moisturizers. Ceramides, like many other skincare ingredients, are naturally present in the skin, making up about half of its barrier. Ceramides are essential for skin health, working as a protective layer beneath the epidermis to lock in hydration, prevent epidermal water loss, protect skin against pollution and environmental stressors, and improve the overall look and feel of skin.
If you’re asking why ceramides are a necessary addition to a skincare regimen when our bodies already manufacture it, the answer to that is replenishment. The older we get, the more ceramides we lose. After age 20, we start to lose about 1 percent of our skin’s natural stash with every passing year. The consensus of opinion by many dermatologists is that ceramide levels decrease by 40 percent in our 30s and by 60 percent in our 40s. And so it’s necessary to replenish that cache with topical applications of products rich in these vital lipids.
This is another popular skincare ingredient that is naturally produced by the body and functions not only as a hydrator for the skin but also as a lubricant for our joints and eyes. All skin types can benefit from the use of hyaluronic acid, but it is especially beneficial for dry skin because of its ability to attract and hold 1,000 times its weight in moisture. Dehydration can be a contributing factor to signs of aging like wrinkles and diminished elasticity, and hyaluronic acid can reverse this by restoring moisture and boosting volume, delivering a plumping effect that makes skin look supple and robust.
Glycerin has had kind of a bad reputation up until recently due to its designation as one of those ingredients that sounds a bit scary but really is quite beneficial once demystified. It’s a humectant, which, like hyaluronic acid, attracts moisture and deposits it into the skin. Another similarity between these two molecules is that glycerin is also naturally present in the human body. For topical application, it is derived from plants. Due to its low molecular weight, it is able to penetrate deep into the layers of the skin, where it works its magic to maintain a healthy barrier.
Apparently, glycerin is the third most frequently included ingredient in cosmetics and can be found in a wide variety of personal care products, from shaving cream to hair conditioner. It’s worth mentioning that caution should be exercised when using a glycerin-heavy product, as it can pull water from the skin when there is none to be found in the air, resulting in dry skin, which is the opposite of your goal. Otherwise, it’s an effective moisturizer and is perfectly fine for use by all sorts of skin types.
This popular succulent has long been known as a great multitasker, with health-minded applications both topically and internally. The gel found in its leaves is comprised of 99.5 percent water, with vitamins, amino acids, and other essential minerals making up the remaining 0.5 percent. Its antioxidant and antibacterial properties make it great for soothing irritation, calming inflamed skin, preventing transepidermal water loss, and facilitating acne healing.
Aloe vera products are widely available from a number of brands and in a variety of configurations. It can be purchased as a concentrated gel form or included in a hydrating formula along with a number of other star ingredients. If you have an aloe vera plant, you can easily reap the benefits by cutting open a leaf and applying the innards directly to your face. This is yet another ingredient that works well for all skin types, the only distinction being the amounts applied according to different needs.
The last ingredient on the top five list for dry skin is also naturally present in skin and instrumental to maintaining optimal skin health. Like ceramides, the production of squalene by the human body declines with age, requiring supplementation to prevent skin from becoming dry and rough. When derived from other sources, squalene must be hydrogenated and transformed into squalane, a stable form that won’t go rancid like animal or plant-derived squalene.
Think of squalane as a natural partner for hyaluronic acid. The former hydrates by pulling moisture into the epidermal layers, while the latter locks it all in. Hyaluronic acid on its own is great for increasing water content but lacks the occlusive properties to keep it in. In addition to boosting hydration, squalane also possesses antioxidant properties, which combat aging by fighting free radicals and damage. Its similarity to sebum makes it compatible with all skin types, unlike most oils which have the potential to clog pores and cause irritation depending on their individual comedogenic ratings.
What dry skin ingredients do you make sure to always include in your skincare routine?