The harmattan season is almost upon us, it’s very easy to hazard a guess as to what will happen. As we all know, harmattan season in Nigeria ushers in the most celebrated holiday in the world, together with unkind weather conditions. These extreme, often unpredictable temperatures – case in point low humidity – can be party-poopers sometimes. Spreading infections and diseases that leave you glued to a sick bed in lieu of celebrating the holiday with friends and family. Accompanied by skin dryness, chapped lips, sore eyes etc, to spoil your chances of flexing your glow-up come December.
People with oily skin suffer dehydration during harmattan, much less folks with dry skin. But even if by some miracle people with dry skin don’t suffer severe dryness – and God, do they suffer?. Plan for the harmattan; replenish the moisture that will be sucked out from your skin by staying hydrated, arm yourself with the right skin dryness hacks and you’re good to go.
Here are few choice hacks shared by most people we questioned, to remedy the flaky skin problem during harmattan and leave your skin supple.
Helpful Skin Dryness Remedies
Moisture In A Bottle
Topical emollients are literal lifesavers during seasons of drought such as harmattan in West Africa, especially in Nigeria. Lotions, creams, oils, ointments etc are emollients that protects the skin from dry air or cold weather. The cosmetic industry is brimming with thousands of beauty products claiming to provide solutions to several skin related problems. If you’re in doubt, walk into any makeup store and see the aisles choked with products from wannabe brands offering quick fixes.
Religiously follow a skincare regimen this season comprising gentle cleanses, exfoliation, serum application (face) and moisturizers. When searching for skin dryness remedies in the form of emollients, it is advised to opt for non-comedogenic products. Choose products depending on your skin type and sensitivity.
Although getting the right products these days is by sheer luck, due to counterfeited products. Nothing is as devastating as getting skin allergies from applying substandard products to get rid of harmattan induced flaky skin. The blowback from using most of these new skincare products can be terrible at times.
Let’s look at some recommended items / hacks to help you lock in moisture during harmattan season.
1. Sunscreens: Nivea UV Super Water Gel SPF 50
We asked a skincare addict who absolutely can’t do without sunscreens and she recommended the Nivea UV Super Water Gel. The sunscreen is a blend of anti-acne and antioxidant sunblocker in water. It delivers a non-greasy, lightweight feel and unlike most sunscreens, Nivea UV Super Water Gel left no white cast after application. Without fragrance or colour, it actually blends into the skin, leaving it supple for hours on end.
2. Moisturizers: Dr Teal’s Radiant Vitamin C Body Lotion
Another remedy for dry skin this harmattan is Dr Teal’s Vitamin C Body Lotion. Infused with high-quality ingredients such as cocoa butter, shea butter and vitamin E to hydrate the skin. Vitamin E is easily absorbed into the skin and helps to lock in moisture, combined with the moisturizing properties of shea and cocoa butter, you’re all set for the harmattan season.
3. Oils: Neutrogena Body Oil
Other alternative lotions, sunscreens, moisturizers, oils and creams to use include St Ives Soothing Oatmeal & Shea Butter Body Lotion, Nivea Body Repair & Care Lotion, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil, Nivea Nourishing Coca Butter Lotion, Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Oil Mist, locally prepared shea butter (ori), Vaseline petroleum jelly, etc.
Lip Balm? No Qualms
1. Vaseline Lip Therapy
Ah, good old vaseline. One must-have item that indeed prepares you for the harsh harmattan weather is lip balm or chapstick. The classic Vaseline Lip Therapy comes in four distinct tins designed to heal and prevent chapped lips. Delicate rose, rich cocoa butter, shimmering gold, tintless aloe and original scents give your lips a soft, velvety feel. The balms equally have very thick consistency that provides good hydration.
2. Nivea Lip Balm
Lip therapy, but make it fashion!. Keep a Nivea lip balm handy and while you’re at it, thank cosmetic geniuses for this innovation. There’s no excuse on earth for not owning a chapstick this season, it’s nothing but a miniature item that can fit into a clutch, plus the versatility is second to none. The lip balm comes in shades that doubles as lipsticks and women couldn’t be more happier for this convenience. Continue reapplying that balm or chapstick without reservations.
1. Water Is Life
We cannot exaggerate the importance of drinking enough water during harmattan season. The body needs gallons of clean water everyday to prevent dehydration and possibly protect it from adverse conditions such as heatstroke. The Christmas rush and excitement often distract people and they forget to pay attention to their water intake. British-American poet W. H. Auden must have drank enough water in his lifetime to quote “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”
It’s also noteworthy that lukewarm water does not dry out the skin, hence it’s the better preference when bathing during harmattan. Scalding water strips the skin of natural oils, aggravating skin dryness and irritation. Hot water lovers might want to take this into consideration.
Stock up on hydrating fruits and veggies this season to keep your skin ultra fresh. Most vegetables and fruits with high water content in Nigeria include watermelon, cucumber, apples, lettuce, tomatoes, pineapples, coconut water, spinach, broccoli, pawpaw etc. Nourish your body at all times with hydrating fruits.
Purifiers & Shields
People with epistaxis or pre-existing bleeding disorders suffer the most during dry seasons. Humidity drops to as low as 15% and when the weather is extremely cold or dry from low-humidity, the tissues that line the nose (sinuses and mucous membranes) tend to dry out as well. This causes nosebleeds in most persons.
To avert this situation, purchase a humidifier ahead of time to increase the moisture in the air, reduce spread of bacteria, as well as relieve dry skin. Nasal sprays and petroleum jelly equally do wonders for dried out nasal cavities. Improvise with Vaseline Lip Therapy if there’s no petroleum jelly, put a thin layer of it on a cotton swab then insert it into your nose.
Stay hydrated at all times by drinking enough water and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Also shield your face with protective coverings like nose masks, glasses, scarves and hats.