When god wreaks plagues upon men’s skin, he tends towards flood more than drought. Perhaps when he was building Adam he’d just found a deal on sebaceous glands – those epidermal oil pumps that treat your face like BP treats the Gulf of Mexico.
But Eden wasn’t air conditioned. So its air wasn’t dry enough to strip away that god-given lipid layer and the kind of tight, itchy skin you’d associate with a 40-day jaunt in the desert.
If prayer won’t fix dry skin, the right grooming regime will. Just follow these commandments and, to paraphrase Isaiah, you’ll make the desert blossom. Hallelujah.
Thou Shalt Stay Hydrated
Your epidermal irrigation system goes more than skin deep. Booze dries you out, so swapping wine for water is the best route to a heavenly complexion.
Look to put away at least two litres a day – that’s all day, not as soon as you hit your desk. This chrome flask hits your RDA in four fills, and is triple-insulated to keep your H20 chilled until the last mouthful. So you’ve got no excuse not to drink it all.
ROOT 7 Corkcicle Canteen, available at Selfridges, priced £20.
Thou Shalt Keep Your Cool
Hot showers: good for your nerve endings, bad for what covers them. The heat sucks the moisture out of your skin, which leaves it dry, tight and itchy.
Spin the dial to body temperature and switch off the extractor fan – a steamy room keeps your skin moist. Central heating is just as devilish, so drop your thermostat and put on a jumper. Good for your skin and the polar bears.
Thou Shalt Remain Neutral
Your skin is slightly acidic – soaps are alkaline. That imbalance strips moisture and can cause irritation; unlike a pH-balanced cleanser, which lifts dirt but not facial oils.
Cetaphil’s is especially gentle, softening your skin as it scrubs, and it’s light enough to not clog your pores (so they don’t kick into oil-production overtime to try and get clear). It even leaves a light film over your skin that locks in moisture.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, available at Superdrug, priced £8.99.
Thou Shalt Rub The Lotion On Your Skin
If you’re light on moisture, it makes sense to put some back in. But not all creams are innocent; if your moisturiser is as alcoholic as communion wine, it can still strip away oils.
Dove’s is teetotal with no skin-irritating fragrances, and despite its viscosity is quickly absorbed, to lock in moisture without greasiness. It’s also got SPF15 to stop sunrays baking wrinkles into your already parched face.
Dove Men+Care Moisturiser Hydrate, available at Boots, priced £4.49.
Thou Shalt Venture Below The Neck
Your face is especially sensitive, but the skin lower down is just as susceptible to dryness. Especially if daily gym sessions supply the unholy trinity of sweat, air con and scalding showers.
Scratch the itch with Jack Black’s body moisturiser, which is lightweight so you can slip straight into your clothes without sticking to them.
Jack Black Epic Moisture Extra Rich Body Hydrator, available at Mankind, priced £27.50.