Taking care of your skin during the harmattan season can be challenging, but with the right approach, it’s entirely manageable. The harmattan, characterised by dry, dusty winds, can wreak havoc on your skin, leaving it dry, irritated, and susceptible to damage. Here are some tips to help you maintain healthy, glowing skin during this season.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
The importance of hydration cannot be overstated during the harmattan season. Your skin needs more moisture to combat the dryness of the environment. Opt for heavier, oil-based moisturisers rather than water-based products, as they provide a protective layer that retains more moisture in the skin. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, too; internal hydration is just as crucial as external.
Gentle Cleansing Ritual
Switch to a gentle, non-stripping cleanser. Harsh soaps can strip the skin of its natural oils, exacerbating dryness. Look for hydrating cleansers that are free from alcohol and fragrance, ingredients that can irritate the skin, especially during dry seasons.
Exfoliate, But Not Too Much
While exfoliation is essential to remove dead skin cells, overdoing it can lead to more harm than good. Limit exfoliating to once a week, using a mild exfoliator. This helps reveal fresher, smoother skin without causing irritation.
Sunscreen Is Still a Must
It might seem counterintuitive to use sunscreen during a season with less visible sunlight, but the harmattan sun can still cause skin damage. UV rays can penetrate through the dusty air, making sunscreen an essential part of your daily routine.
Your lips are one of the most sensitive parts of your skin and can become extremely dry and chapped during harmattan. Use a nourishing lip balm regularly, and look for ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, or coconut oil for maximum protection and hydration.
Protect Your Hands and Feet
Hands and feet often become dry and cracked during harmattan. Use a heavy, emollient cream on these areas before bed, and consider wearing cotton gloves and socks to lock in the moisture.
Avoid Hot Showers
As comforting as a hot shower might feel on a chilly Harmattan morning, hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils. Opt for lukewarm water, and keep your showers short. Immediately apply moisturiser after bathing to lock in moisture.
Invest in a Humidifier
A humidifier can add much-needed moisture to the air in your home or office, helping to prevent your skin from drying out.
Your diet plays a significant role in skin health. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, like fish, nuts, and seeds, can help to fortify the skin’s oil barrier, which is crucial in keeping skin hydrated. Vitamins A, C, and E are also vital for skin repair and moisture retention.
Consult a Dermatologist
If you experience persistent dryness, itching, or any other skin issues, it’s best to consult a dermatologist. They can provide personalised advice and treatment options.