As seasons change, it’s necessary to pay attention to the effect on your skin. Most people often pay attention to how much dust the harmattan breeze carries or how to survive the chilly mornings and forget to note the difference in their skin during this period.
There are different skin reactions to the harmattan season; break out, itchy tight skin, change in complexion, cracks, white pale appearance and more. Adjusting your skin care regime is essential to maintain healthy skin. What is most important regardless of your skin type is to keep your skin hydrated as harmattan (and winter) wind lacks humidity and dries up the oil and moisture in your skin.
· Skin care Products- You’ll most likely be required to change the products you often use; let your products be mild and have more natural ingredients like Almond oil, Avocado, Coconut oil, Shea etc. They should preferably be cream or oil based so your skin can stay moisturized. Also pay attention to your soaps as they often have high drying effect. Reduce the number of times you exfoliate or scrub your face in a week, use lukewarm or cold water rather than hot water which tends to dry the skin. Anti-aging and toning ingredients may irritate the skin so look out for these and substitute with natural products like carrots or lemons. Be careful, some products may have ingredients which moisturize the skin but may still have high content of alcohol which causes dryness so endeavour to read labels.
· Makeup – Due to the lack of moisture, you can use cream foundation in place of liquid which are often water based. Ladies with oily skin can use moisturizer and a bit of primer on only T- zone before applying makeup; while dry or sensitive skin can skip the primer or any product that tightens the pores. Also note that if your complexion changes, you’ll have to use a shade lighter or darker than the foundation you use normally.
Another part that is often and harshly affected by the weather is your lips; scrub once or twice a week to peel off any cracks and dead skin. Use moisturizing lip balms, lip glosses and creamy lipsticks (rather than mattes which can make lips painfully dry)
· Hair – Your hair suffers a great deal this period as the scalp can get dry which leads to hair loss, itchy scalp and dandruff. Condition your hair often and it’s advised that you have your hair in braids to avoid combing through daily and pulling at the already sensitive scalp, adding strain to your hair follicle. Also, having your hair in braids makes it easy to get to your scalp to oil and clean it.
· Use hand lotions often and keep one with you always to avoid cracked hands and hard palms. If you sweat on your palms and don’t want to cream often, then use a moisturising cream on your hands at night and wear gloves. Keep your feet clean, air your shoes to avoid offensive odour as you may sweat a lot on your feet this period, change your socks every day. If you react to certain products, simply stick to petroleum jelly and wear more soft fabrics like cotton to allow your skin breathe.
The effects of harmattan can make existing skin or hair conditions worse, so take that into consideration when choosing products in case you are already dealing with issues like eczema or brittle hair.
Anuoluwapo Adebayo is a Freelance Makeup artist, fashion retailer and blogger.
A graduate of Mass Communication with a major in Public Relations and Advertising from Babcock University; She has had years of experience in Media, business development, project coordination and the beauty industry. She has also attended WEN Beauty School and House of Tara International for courses in Skin care, Makeup application and consultation. Anu who ‘thoroughly enjoys making people look good’ is presently the Creative Director at Face of Chayil, a company that offers Makeup and beauty services. Her blog (pencilgoddess.blogspot.com) is where she shares her work, personal experiences and life’s lessons.