Harmattan is officially upon us, and the body’s largest organ, the skin, gets the brunt. Effects range from tight-feeling skin, to dry and scaly skin, to chapped lips, to dull and ashy-looking skin.
While it’s more pronounced in some other parts of the country that are less crowded, for the next couple of months, the air would be less humid, dry out the skin, and make one prone to respiratory issues.
The sun is also hotter, leading to easy dehydration. In addition, surfaces have to be cleaned twice as often due to dust.
With all of this, your skin doesn’t have to suffer, and it is important to be aware and intentional about taking care of it.
Below are some helpful tips to make sure your skin game is still up even in this harsh weather.
The importance of drinking water can not be stressed enough. And during harmattan, one gets dehydrated even faster. Protecting the skin from dryness starts from within, as what we look like on the outside is a reflection of what is going on in our body system.
Drinking water helps to keep the skin supple and flush out impurities. It also prevents throat dryness, and ultimately throat infections. You can make this easier by having a bottle of water with you always.
Wear a mask
The emergence of COVID has made a lot of people get used to wearing nose masks. It has become more necessary now than ever, with this new weather condition. Wearing a mask helps to filter the air you breathe in from dust particles, bacteria, and impurities.
In harsh weather conditions, the legs and feet, hands (between the fingers), elbows, knees, back of the ears, and lips are high on the list of parts on the body to show dryness first.
Moisturizing helps create a barrier between your skin and the climate, in this case, dry air. To keep in mind in particular are occlusives and emollients. They form a protective barrier over the skin and seal in moisture, preventing moisture loss.
This period, be particular about creams, lotions, or oils that contain ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter, petrolatum, lanolin, jojoba oil, olive oil, glycerin, and dimethicone, and make them your friend. You also need to apply more than once.
For the lips, wetting with saliva only makes the dryness worse. A good lip balm works great to keep it moisturised.
The sun seems fully charged this period. And a lot of people wrongly assume that Africans or people with dark skin don’t need to use sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day.
Sunscreen helps to protect the skin from damaging UV rays which can use skin cancer, discoloration, and wrinkles over time.
This includes eating all classes of food, and not only carbs like is common. Be intentional about incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet. They are rich in antioxidants that help mop up free radicals, ultimately keeping the skin healthy from the inside, and reduce the tendency for respiratory issues. Basically, eat the rainbow!
Dry skin would gradually become a thing of the past, and your internal organs would thank you. Fruits like oranges, carrots, pawpaw, cucumbers, apples, and pineapples are rich in skin-friendly vitamins.