Treating dry skin can be a precarious endeavor. On the one hand, dry skin cells indicate that you need exfoliation, but scrubbing just a little bit too vigorously or using a strong exfoliating cream can further dehydrate the skin and cause outbreaks of inflammation. On the other hand, using hydrators that are too rich can leave the skin feeling oily and congested. So what can you do exfoliate parched and flaky winter skin?
Avoid Exfoliating With Hot Water
There are few things more relaxing than a nice hot shower, especially during the winter months. However, using piping hot water to exfoliate and wash your face drastically deplete your skin your skin of moisture (Baylor College of Medicine). In order to maintain skin’s natural hydration while exfoliating (and cleansing in general) make sure to use lukewarm or warm water, and immediately follow up with a deeply penetrating moisturizer.
It’s quite easy to over-exfoliate your skin, but dermatologists still have not reached a consensus about how frequently we should be exfoliating, even for dry winter skin. As a general rule, once or twice a week is enough for most people, whereas those with oily and acne-prone skin types may have to exfoliate more frequently. In order to avoid irritation, those with dry and flaky skin should exfoliate once or twice per week, and be attentive to their skin’s responses soon after exfoliating (American Academy of Dermatology).
If you are still unsure of how frequently you should exfoliate, make sure to consult with your dermatologist to ensure that your frequency of exfoliation and products used (i.e. cleansing creams and moisturizers) are working at full potential to remedy your dry skin. Whether you exfoliate every other day or only once a week, it is important to maintain a regular exfoliating regimen to ensure that your skin is staying healthy and squeaky clean.
Use a Glycerin-Containing Product
At AminoGenesis, we love glycerin. Studies show that when glycerin is used in a 20% concentration, it will significantly improve skin barrier strength by means of promoting cell maturation and turnover (International Journal of Cosmetic Science), Glycerin also acts as a humectant that helps the skin to retain water by penetrating the stratum corneum creating a reservoir of moisture (British Journal of Dermatology). As a humectant, glycerin also helps to protect skin from potential irritants, and facilities more rapid skin recovery (Archives of Dermatology Research).
A great product with glycerin is our very own AminoGenesis Cocoon, formulated with an assortment of innovative and tried-and-true ingredients to provide the best treatment for dry winter skin on the body.
Moisturize Immediately After Exfoliating
Those with healthy and ailment-free skin can afford to skip moisturizing the skin once in a while. For those of us suffering dry and flaky skin however, daily moisturizing is an absolute must. Dry skin sufferers should look for moisturizers that contain humectants, which help the skin to seal in its natural moisture. For example, one study found that glycerin was able to penetrate deep into the stratum corneum and lock in existing moisture (British Journal of Dermatology). Similarly, a study from the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that glycerin encouraged cell maturation and turnover, thus fortifying one’s skin barrier.
Use Amino Acids!
The amino acid L-lysine (found in many of our products) promotes wound healing, soothes inflammation, and even fights off bacterium which may exacerbate or prolong skin dryness and irritation ( (Lasers in Medical Science, Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology.) Similarly, L-isoleucine is renowned for its ability to increase the expression of the antimicrobial peptide β-defensins, which is responsible for maintaining a healthy antibacterial skin barrier.(Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, Molecular Immunology, Dermatopathology, Pharmaceuticals).
Consider Natural Moisturizing Factors
Natural moisturizing factors make sure the structure of the epidermis (the uppermost layer of the skin) is intact. They are, as the name implies, naturally found within the skin, in order to maintain a level of about 30% moisturization within the skin (Cosmetic Dermatology). But their effects can also be supplemented with other ingredients, like glycerin, lactic acid, sodium hyaluronate, hyaluronic acid, and amino acids.
When NMF levels are reduced, we experience surface roughness, flaking, fine lines, and a tight, uncomfortable feeling. When NMFs are supplemented into the skin, we often experience relief to these symptoms within a couple of hours. In extreme cases, NMFs will produce results within 2-3 days of twice-daily application.
Treating dry skin does not have to be such a painstaking endeavor. So do your skin a favor this winter: Exfoliate with a gentle exfoliant, regularly but carefully. Apply a glycerin-rich cream while your skin is still wet. And make sure you use glycerin, natural moisturizing factors, and amino acids! We recommend our AminoGenesis Therapeutic Facial Repair for the face and neck, and AminoGenesis Cocoon Body Lotion for the body.