Dr Justine Hextall

6 steps to ending flaky, dry skin. Dr Justine Hextall says following these tips can help you achieve a soft and smooth complexion.

There are many causes of dry skin – some we inherit, some are due to aging and others are environmental such as cold weather, air conditioning and central heating. If we already have naturally drier skin these environmental stresses can tip skin over the edge leaving it dry, red and irritated,  and they can even trigger dermatitis.

Children can inherit naturally dry skin which can be further damaged by over washing with harsh products.

And as we age our skin barrier function becomes less efficient making our skin drier, dull and more sensitive but there are things that we do to help prevent and restore the skin barrier and give you back a glowing, radiant looking skin.


1.Check your cleanser

It is a common misconception that if the skin feels dry and sore then it’s the moisturiser that’s underperforming when it is normally your cleanser  that’s causing the problem.

If your skin feels tight after washing you may think it is ‘squeaky clean’ but this is more likely to mean the pH of the skin has been unbalanced by the product.


When this happens the skin barrier is disrupted and it starts to lose water – a process known as increased trans-epidermal water loss.

The skin feels drier and it may become inflamed and irritated, so we try and compensate by applying richer moisturisers to re-balance skin.

Instead, I recommend gentle cleansers for dry skin.

Harley Street Emporium recommends: Exuviance Gentle Cleansing Creme 



2. Rethink your keep fitness regime

Think about external risks to your skin barrier when you are exercising. For instance, just like harsh shampoos can leave skin dry and irritated, so can swimming in chlorinated water.

So make sure you use a gentle, preferably mildly acidic, cleanser after showering and swimming and use a moisturiser to hydrate and calm skin.


3. Ease up on the scrubs

Exfoliation is useful as it removes dead skin cells and allows better penetration of active topical products but over-exfoliating can dry and irritate the skin and, in those with fair complexions, it  may lead to the development of thread veins.

Drier skin is often more sensitive and should be exfoliated no more than once a week as over stressing inflamed skin with exfoliation is not advisable.

It is often better to use a product that contains glycolic acid, or if you have acne, salicylic acid, as these exfoliate without damaging the skin barrier.

Harley Street Emporium recommends: ZENii Cell Sense Exfoliating Polish with glycolic acid and grapefruit oil



4. Always use active serums and moisturisers

Night time is an opportunity for skin regeneration and renewal. It’s the time that skin repairs itself after a day exposed to UV rays and pollution.

It is very important to wash skin before bed to remove pollutants which can penetrate deep into skin, causing damage in the form of dryness and wrinkling.

Studies have shown that hydrated skin wrinkles less so I always layer my skin care with an active serum followed by a night cream, hyaluronic acid gel or oil. And applying a cotton mask straight after can help to support absorption of active serums and moisturising products.

Active ingredients that can help the skin include peptides, niacinamide or vitamin B3, retinol or vitamin A (not to be used if you’re pregnant or breast feeding) and Vitamin C (see below.)

Harley Street Emporium recommends: Filorga NCTF Intensive Regenerating Serum


5. Don’t forget your Vitamin C

We can support this time of repair with topical anti-oxidants such as vitamin C, which is anti-inflammatory, boosts collagen production and helps to reduce uneven skin pigmentation.


Unfortunately ascorbic acid – the form of vitamin C used in skincare products – is unstable on exposure to light so the full effects may not be realised, so it’s important to ensure your eating enough foods rich in anti-oxidants such as citrus fruits, kiwi fruits and capsicums.

Harley Street Emporium recommends: DCL C Scape high Potency Night Booster




6. Don’t have non–surgical treatments without addressing skin tone, texture and hydration first

You might think having fillers to replace lost skin volume will solve your problems and while addressing loss of volume is important, in my view, the outcomes are always disappointing when the actual quality of skin hasn’t been addressed.

I start by tackling all skin issues. I examine skin for pigment issues, thread veins, enlarged pores, unwanted fine lines and wrinkles. I then suggest procedures such as microneedling with topical treatments and maybe LED light.

Other options might be IPL or photofractional laser treatment or sometimes a one-off peel is all that is needed to freshen up skin, followed by an active skincare regime with LED light treatment.

Once you improve skin texture, tone and hydration you will start to get that all important glow. And if after this you decide to have fillers to help volume loss, you’ll not only need less but the effects will be so much more successful.