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10 Things you should know about dry skin
May 23, 2022 COMMENT comment
10 Things you should know about
By Hansa Makhijani
Nothing takes the fun out of summer dressing than those nasty hard skin zones and annoying dry patches. Here's how to get smooth skin, from head to toe. Over exfoliating, inadequate moisturising, stress, exposure to sun, air conditioning, washing the face with hot water, ill health and medication are some of the factors that contribute to dry patches.
Skin is the biggest organ in the body. It is also a clever one. It's harder in places of high abuse (like the joints, hands and feet) and delicate around areas like the eyes, which are made up of soft tissues. Here's your action plan to deal with the unforgiving sultry season.

Certain areas of the body like knees and elbows have harder skin because these endure more friction and rubbing due to the flexing action, clothing, et cetera, says Avni Amlani, international skin expert and consultant to Dermalogica. Thus, the skin hardens as a means of protection from becoming inflamed and painful, she adds.

One of the prime reasons for developing hard skin and dry patches is dead cell build-up. Get together a buffing arsenal with granular oil-based scrubs, exfoliating gloves and natural loofahs to deal with the skin on the body and a non-abrasive scrub to get rid of dead skin on your face. "Exfoliate the elbows and knees with a scrub at least three times a week. Gently work on the area with a buffing cloth or loofah and a body wash daily whilst in the shower," adds Amlani. Regular scrubs and daily moisturising is the mantra, agrees Nandita Suri, director, Levo Spalon, Gurgaon.

Sugarcane extracts and lactic acid help with exfoliation and alleviate dry zones. Many with dry skin believe that exfoliation will cause more dryness, says Amlani, and continue to only moisturise. This is not true. Always follow with a moisturiser post exfoliation, she adds.

Moisturise the area with a nourishing cream or lotion daily, ideally as soon as you're out of the shower, advises Amlani. Ingredients like green tea, patchouli, lavender, orange essential oils, vitamin E and hyaluronic acid aid in repairing and healing the skin.

While everyone has hard skin, dry patches are not considered usual and if your facial skin is studded with dry patches that feel coarse to the touch, it needs to be addressed. Over-exfoliating, inadequate mositurising, stress, exposure to sun, cold weather, air conditioning, omission of fats in diet, washing the face with hot water, ill health and medication are some of the factors that contribute to dry patches, reveals Amlani. If they are all ruled out, consider professional help.

Drinking water is not the only way to quench your skin's thirst. "Spritzing a mist toner balances the dehydration in patches," suggests Amlani. Th icker, richer moisturisers are not good for summer months, therefore, supplement your regimen with a hydrating serum along with a lighter moisturiser, she adds.

Whether rain, hail or shine, sunscreen is essential and non-negotiable. High sun exposure will further cause dry patches and make hard skin zones harder. Use sunscreen with SPF 30 and above before 30 minutes of steeping out in the sun for best results.

When the lotions and creams don't work, try some pro tricks to soften hard skin at areas like the elbows. "Dampen elbows with warm water. Take half cup (powdered) sugar and add enough water to make a paste that has a consistency similar to toothpaste and rub onto elbows. Rinse carefully," advises Suri. Choose a rich moisturiser with vitamin E, aloe vera, cocoa butter or olive oil to infuse fresh skin on your elbows with a much-needed dose of moisture. Apply generously and wrap the area in cling wrap so your elbows can absorb the moisture.

Often hard skin areas like the knees, elbows and knuckles darken due to years of neglect. "These sections store a multitude of dead tissues and tend to darken. Try freshly ground coconut with lime juice as a scrub. Not only does it exfoliate but it also moisturises the skin. The lemon juice lightens the skin," says Suri.

Get hard skin on the feet even after a pedicure? Merciless scraping and scrubbing will only get you rid of dead cells. You need superior nourishment to make this particular zone soft. "Try making a paste of aspirin and lemon juice and apply it to the feet before wrapping them in a damp towel. Relax for 10 to 20 minutes, rinse, and then file your feet," shares Suri.

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