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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Caring for dry skin during harmattan

Sometime in 2019, Nollywood actress and social media influencer, Tonto Dikeh, had posted on her Instagram wall an unbelievable shot of what she alleged was her harmattan-ravaged feet.

The popular mother-of-one had stated alongside the surprising images: “This is my gaddam feet!!! I am one of the cleanest folks on planet earth but this shit still happens to me. I FEEL horrible and dont know what to do asides from pedicure every week until the harmattan is over here!!! #I LOVE HARMATTAN BUT HARMATTAN NO LIKE MY FEETS.”

So, as the harmattan season takes hold, bringing with it a distinctive dry and dusty atmosphere, many people, like Tonto, find themselves grappling with the challenge of maintaining hydrated, healthy skin.

adopt a skincare routine that addresses the unique challenges of this dry season

This unique weather phenomenon, characterized by its cold, dry, and dusty wind, can severely dehydrate the skin, leaving it feeling dry, flaky, and uncomfortable.

Here’s an essential guide to navigating the season with your skin’s health in top condition, tailored for an audience familiar with the effects of a dry season.

Skin damaged by harmattan

Harmattan and your skin
The harmattan wind, originating from the Sahara, significantly reduces humidity in the air, which can strip the skin of its natural oils.

This loss leads to dryness, cracking, and sometimes even more severe skin conditions if not properly managed. Recognizing the need for a modified skincare routine during this period is the first step to protecting and nourishing your skin.

Hydration is key
The cornerstone of dry skin management, especially during Harmattan, is hydration. Online portal Healthline suggests that drinking plenty of water becomes even more crucial as it helps maintain the skin’s moisture balance from the inside out. Aim for at least eight glasses of water a day to keep your body and skin well-hydrated.

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Skin moisturizing during harmattan

Moisturize religiously
Invest in a high-quality, intensive moisturizer suited for dry conditions. Products containing hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or ceramides are particularly effective as they help lock in moisture and repair the skin’s barrier as noted by Dr. Juncan Anca Maria from the department of Preclinical Medicine, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania.

Apply moisturizer immediately after bathing and throughout the day as needed, paying special attention to areas prone to extreme dryness, such as hands, feet, elbows, and knees.

Gentle skincare products
The season calls for a switch to gentler skincare products. Harsh soaps and body washes can aggravate dry skin by stripping away natural oils. Opt for mild, fragrance-free cleansers and consider using a hydrating body wash that contains moisturizing ingredients.

Protect your skin
While the sun may not seem as intense, UV protection is still necessary. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to exposed areas daily to protect against UV damage. Additionally, wearing protective clothing, such as long sleeves, hats, and scarves, can shield your skin from the harsh wind and cold.

Lip care
Don’t forget your lips, which can become particularly vulnerable during Harmattan. Use a hydrating lip balm regularly to prevent chapping and cracking. Look for lip balms with natural moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, or beeswax.

Night time skincare
Your skin repairs itself while you sleep, making nighttime the perfect opportunity to use more intensive moisturizers or treatments. Consider adding an overnight hydrating mask or oil to your routine to nourish and rejuvenate your skin as you rest.

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Humidify your environment
Using a humidifier in your home can add much-needed moisture to the air, helping to prevent your skin from drying out. If you don’t have a humidifier, placing bowls of water in various rooms can also help increase indoor humidity levels.

Diet and nutrition
Your diet plays a significant role in skin health. According to Jiankang Wang, a Chinese biological researcher, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and seeds, can help replenish skin’s moisture. Fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants and vitamins can also support skin health and combat the effects of dryness.

Avoid hot water
As tempting as it may be to take long, hot showers or baths during the cold season, hot water can further dehydrate your skin. Opt for short, lukewarm showers instead and always apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp to lock in moisture.

Consult a dermatologist
If you experience severe dryness, eczema, or other skin conditions exacerbated by the harmattan season, consult a dermatologist. They can provide tailored advice and treatments to help manage your skin condition during this challenging time.

Managing dry skin during the Harmattan season requires a combination of internal hydration, protective and nourishing skincare practices, and adjustments to your home environment.

By adopting a skincare routine that addresses the unique challenges of this dry season, you can maintain healthy, hydrated skin despite the harsh conditions. Remember, the key is consistency and choosing the right products for your skin type.

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