TIPS FOR COPING WITH HARMATTAN SEASONS
Harmattan season comes with cold and dry air. You may experience dry skin and broken lips. A cough is usually prevalent due to the dry dirty air inhaled from the surroundings.
Also, the weather makes people susceptible to cold and although the body has adaptive mechanisms that help reduce the effects of cold, it is only wise to take care of ourselves in order to prevent infections and keep warm
1. Stay Hydrated
The benefits of drinking water cannot be over emphasised. You need to stay hydrated straight from within. Aim for about 2-3 litres a day. Have it in mind that, staying hydrated does not include caffeine intake, because it is a diuretic, and diuretics eliminate fluids from the body, so you may need to cut back on the coffee this period. Go for beverages and fruit juices to keep you hydrated. Also eat lots of fruits and vegetables to keep your skin glowing.
2. Bathe With Lukewarm Water
Yes, we know that the mornings are really cold and having a shower with cold water maybe a hard option; however, hot water isn’t also an advisable option for you as it strips the skin of its natural oil barrier, thus resulting in dryness and itching. Hence, opt for lukewarm water. Skin care experts recommend short, warm showers or baths that last no longer than 5 to 10 minutes.
Exfoliating your skin a few times a week will help shave off dead and dry skin cells and allow new skin cells to come up. Use a gentle body scrub twice a week. Note however, that if over exfoliation occurs, your skin’s oils will still be depleted and dry skin will reoccur.
We know how fast water dries off surfaces during this season. Hence it is more advisable to moisturise right in the bathroom while your body is still wet because a few steps out of the bathroom door dries you up completely. This method will help your skin lock in moisture.
5. Choose Safe Products
The harmattan season is not the time to use high alcohol or astringent content face cleansers or hand washes as this will strip your skin off its natural oils. Opt out for mild products such as a moisturising body wash, a cleanser that contains ceramides (fatty molecules that make up the outer barrier of your skin) as they help the skin hold in moisture and an oil based body lotion such as Palmer’s Cocoa Butter; you can even moisturise using shea-butter or olive oil.
6. Eat Healthy Fats
Not all types of fat are bad for you. There are healthy fats you can consume without the fear of excess cholesterol, and also can be heart-healthy. Healthy fats give you energy. You can get healthy oils from polyunsaturated fats such as in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils such as corn and safflower oil, and fatty fish. Avocados are also a great source of healthy fats.
7. Remember Your Hands and Lips
Your hands and lips are the most vulnerable areas of your body during this season. As a result, you need to take extra care of these areas as we tend to swipe out the moisture from them very frequently, like when we eat, or visit the bathroom. Make sure that you have your lip balm and your hand lotion handy.