The harmattan season is characterized by the cold dusty wind. This dry, cold wind dries out the skin leading to various skin-related concerns such as dry skin, cracked lips, and cracked soles of the feet. Skincare is therefore very important during the harmattan, so as to maintain supple and healthy skin. Thus, it would be great to found out some skincare tips for harmattan.
The harmattan season in Nigeria occurs between the end of November, the beginning of January, and the middle of March. It varies according to location. Harmattan in Nigeria is usually severe and has many adverse effects on the health and skin. There is usually heavy dust, which carries disease-causing organisms and also causes allergies on the skin and in the respiratory tracts. It also comes with heat from the scorching sun, which causes dehydration and dryness of the skin. One study found out that harmattan wind was a major cause is skin diseases in Nigeria. Let’s briefly summarize the effects of harmattan on the skin.
Effects Of Harmattan On The Skin
- Dryness of the skin
- Dried or chapped lips
- Skin allergies
- Skin rashes
- Eye irritations.
To prevent the adverse effects of harmattan on the skin, you need to follow some simple guidelines.
Skincare Tips For Harmattan In Nigeria
The following skincare tips laid out below can alleviate the negative impact of harmattan on the skin. They are easy healthy habits you can cultivate.
1. Drink a lot of water.
The dry cold wind during the harmattan leaves the body dehydrated and the skin dried out and dusty. Drinking plenty of water helps the skin to retain moisture and maintain a healthy supple texture. The importance of drinking a lot of water during the harmattan season cannot be overemphasized as water also helps to flush out impurities from the body.
2. Use a moisturizer with a high concentration of natural oil
Moisturizer helps the skin to regain the moisture that was lost to the dry windy nature of the harmattan season. To keep the skin moist and supple, it is advised to use a moisturizer that is high in natural oil such as; coconut oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, etc.
The natural oil helps the moisturizing effect of the cream last longer on the skin giving a naturally moist and supple feel. It is also very important to use your moisturizer as soon as you leave the bathroom to prevent any dryness arising from the wait. Don’t wait for your skin to dry completely before using your moisturizer, as damp skin absorbs moisturizing products more readily.
3. Opt for warm water rather than hot water when bathing
During the cold windy harmattan season, it is very common to see people bathe with very hot water, but this is wrong because hot water rids the skin of its natural ability to retain oil that keeps the skin moist. Instead of hot water opt for warm or lukewarm water when you bathe.
4. Reduce the use of air conditioning
Harmattan is characterized by its cold wind, the air condition also cools the air by making it dry and light. Coupled with the cold air from the harmattan wind, the use of air condition increases the dryness of the skin to the point where the skin can crack. It’s therefore very important to limit the use of air conditioners during the harmattan period. Alternatively, a person can opt for humidifiers which are better placed to counter the dryness of the harmattan wind and help the skin maintain its natural look.
5. Keep the scalp, lips, palm, and feet wet always
One of the negative impacts of the harmattan season is the dryness of the lips, feet, and palm, that accompanies the advent of the harmattan period every year, this is so because the skin of the hand, lips, and feet have less oil which makes them highly susceptible to cracking. To care for your feet, palm and lips you must moisturize them always. As for the lips, it’s advisable to use a non-sticky lip balm.
6. Be mindful of your choice of clothes.
During the harmattan period, it is advisable to cover up properly, this will protect the skin from the dryness of the air. The parts of the body that are covered are more protected against dryness of the skin than those parts that are not. Wear natural fibers like cotton and silk, do not use wool as it will irritate the skin and cause a reaction.
7. Wear a face mask
Yes, I know we are already used to wearing a facemask because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the harmattan season gives you more reason to put on your facemask.
During the harmattan, a lot of dust particles are up in the air. Wearing a face mask to protect your nose and mouth when outdoors can help to protect from dust on your face, as well as prevent you from contracting an infection.
8. Eat more fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are great for the skin, they can help you combat the negative effects of harmattan on the skin by keeping you hydrated. Adding refreshing and nourishing fruits to your diet should be part of your daily skincare routine. Fruits such as watermelon, cucumber, pineapple, and coconut can hydrate your skin during the harmattan.
They are also an excellent source of vitamins. Vitamins, such as vitamin C, helps to strengthen your immunity and reduces the chances of falling akin due to the effects of harmattan dust.