The simple but ugly truth about why you have rough, dry skin

And a few pretty easy ways to fix it

With the start of the new month and on the brink of the holidays, I know what you are thinking - will I be able to pull it off?! It may be to lose 5-7 pounds before you pack them back on during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Or it may be to complete the business plan that you started during the quarantine. Many things loom over our heads as we wait to see what 2021 has in store for us. 

When you think of it, though, does it not stress you out a tad? I know that I get stressed sometimes as I ponder the mysteries that lie ahead. Like most people, stress and my skin are not the least fond of each other. While I may not break out like so many others, I do things that dry out my skin or irritate it. I binge drink Red Bull (and forget to drink water to flush it out) and keep late hours doing nothing at all. These two things alone are enough to dehydrate my skin! Every time I wake up after a night of drinking Red Bull, my skin is dry, rough, and more irritated than ever. To make matters worse, I take a mental train of self-loathing and wait a minute - this is not a journal entry. My bad. 

Dry skin is not specific to your age, skin tone, or environment

Since we are on the topic of dry, rough, and irritated skin, let’s talk about it. In case you did not know by now, dry skin is not specific to your age, skin tone, or environment. Anyone can have dry, rough skin. If you do not exfoliate your skin 2-3 times a week as part of your skincare routine, your skin will feel rough! Now, you may ask yourself, “how do I know if my skin is rough?” Here are three ways: 

  • Noticeable fine lines and superficial wrinkles: the older you get, the less collagen your skin produces. Less collagen means fine lines and wrinkles. The lines and wrinkles caused by rough skin are a bit different than those caused by natural aging. They tend to be superficial (or not permanent) and more indented. As you run your hands across your skin, you will be able to feel those lines, and they will not feel or look good!
  • A gray, ashy skin tone: when I drink more Red Bull than I drink water, my skin starts to look rather dull. It loses its natural glow. You will know that your skin looks gray and ashy when, if you wear makeup, it does not set well. Or, you will see a hollowness in your eye area. That hollowness produces dark circles which are the bane of my existence! 
  • Clusters of invisible blackheads and whiteheads: now, these are not like your typical acne breakout! They are so small that you may not always see them with the naked eye. You would need to stand very close in front of a mirror to see them. Further, if you wear makeup, they become more clear as your foundation will not set well. As you run your hands across your face, you will feel them yet you will not be able to extract them! If this happens, visit your local esthetician for a deep cleansing facial with extractions. 

Now that you know three common signs that you have rough skin, I am sure you want solutions! With skincare, there are no overnight solutions to terminal skin issues. Remember this as you find a skincare routine that works best for you. The best ways to avoid skin issues are to stay hydrated, eat or take your vitamins, keep your hands off your face, and use skincare products that work. If you lack the time or discipline to remember these things, here are: 

5 Ways to Treat Rough Skin

1. Watch how much time you spend in the shower

If your skin ever felt tighter and drier after a shower, you may have rough, dry skin. A hot shower after a long day feels like what the doctor ordered, but too much of it can ruin your skin! Use warm water instead, and spend no more than 10 minutes in the shower. If you want to go a step further, spend the last minute in the shower running cold water over your skin! That will help to close your pores and seal moisturize from your soap!

2. Get serious about moisturizing your skin

The number one reason that your skin texture is rough is that you are dehydrated. Apart from drinking water, use a moisturizer that seals moisture in your skin. If you have dry skin, using a thick, creamy moisturizer instead of an oil serum or moisturizer may be best. Why? Oil sits on top of the skin, while cream has a better chance of penetrating the skin. In recent times, I developed eczema on certain parts of my body. When I know I am due for a flare-up, I switch to Gold Bond’s Eczema Relief Hand & Body Lotion. I mix a drop of it with my skincare oils and serums. It contains 2% colloidal oatmeal, which sloughs off dead, flaky skin. Apply your moisturizer soon after taking a shower, while your pores are still open. 

3. Exfoliate your skin

Most times, rough skin signals a lack of exfoliation. Your skin sheds daily - that is a good thing. This shedding gets rid of the things brought on by free radicals that hate your skin. Although your body produces new skin every 28-30 days, you should not wait for that cycle to happen. As your skin sheds, it leaves behind dead skin cells. When those skin cells stay on your skin, they roughen its texture, block your pores, and lead to many other skin issues. That is why it is so important to exfoliate your skin at least 2-3 times a week! 

4. Apply a moisturizing face mask to your rough skin

After exfoliating your skin, use a moisturizing face mask to replenish lost moisture. For me, Masktini’s Twilight Zone Tahitian Detox Mask is a go-to after a round of exfoliation. Bamboo charcoal draws out impurities while Tahitian black pearl resurfaces your skin. Not to mention, it restores moisture! Use this at least twice a week for optimal results. 

5. Avoid air-conditioner or dry, indoor air

Moving to Los Angeles has been the worst thing to happen to my skin! The air is dry and sucks every bit of moisture out of your body and hair. I sure miss how humid Chicago was, even during winter. Air-conditioning and other forms of artificial, indoor air dry out your skin. If you use air-conditioning or heating systems, invest in a humidifier! Humidifiers add moisture to the air and will prevent your skin from drying out. 

The bottom line is that there are always solutions to having the skin that you want. No matter your skin type, you must develop a skincare routine that works for you. If you suffer from dry skin, we would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below with any skin care questions you may have or even tips and tricks that you would like to share. Until next time, stay hydrated!