A Self-care Guide during Harmattan….

Whether you realize it or not, every change in season affects your body. Knowing how you respond to these changes and putting measures in place to protect yourself is advisable.

Harmattan season is usually experienced in Sub-saharan Africa, between the end of November and the middle of March. This season is characterised by the dry and dusty wind, which blows from the Sahara Desert over West Africa into the Gulf of Guinea.

As at the time of writing this piece only people in rural areas in parts of the continent experience the impact of the dry, dusty weather. The others, especially urban residents, witness it mildly for a day or two and it was gone! This is as a result to climate change.

This dry season that comes with some chill can damage the skin and hair as it saps out all the moisture and nutrients leaving it dry and cracked. This results in the skin losing its natural elasticity, making it wrinkle much faster.

These tips will help keep your skin and hair in a protective condition even when the weather is far from co-operating;

Carry face towelettes around:

Spending the day in a busy city attracts dirt to our skin that we cannot see with our naked eyes so, a quick cleanse every couple of hours works wonders. These wipes are also perfect for removing makeup as they also contain some of the natural vitamins that help revitalize the skin.

Use natural oils:

Natural oils work wonders. Try using extra virgin olive oil, warm a few drops as complete hydration therapy before smoothing over your face for ultra-moisturised skin. Coconut oil supports new skin formation and acts as a protective barrier against burns. Also, essential are oils like argan, lavender and rose which contain a natural SPF to protect your skin against the sun’s rays. They also smell amazing.

Use lip balm:

Choose natural balms to moisturise and hydrate lips. Avoid lip balms that are free from mineral and petroleum oils. Some that can deliver soothing relief to lips have ingredients such as lemon balm, tea tree oil and peppermint. Carry it around for quick and easy re-application.

Exfoliate:

Use natural scrubs that contain anti-ageing ingredients like vitamin C and E to break through dead skin cells. Use moisturisers such as lavender and argan oil, and exfoliate, using sea salt and brown sugar. Use on your face, hands, body and feet.

Use a light moisturizer:

Stay off thick, heavy creams as they don’t sink into the skin, they just sit on top making you greasy rather than moisturized. Choose a lightweight, hydrating lotion. Check out for brands that contain extra boosts of vitamin C and soy to enhance the skin’s summer glow.

Drink plenty of water:

Dehydration is bad for your body both internally and externally. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty before drinking water.

Bye, hot baths:

Appreciating that a cold bath must be a tall order for some at this stage but a hot bath is discouraged, as it allows for faster evaporation from the skin. Instead, use tepid water and gentle toilet soap with no added antiseptics or disinfectants. Try not to stay too long in the shower and apply your moisturiser while still in the bathroom.

Moisturise your strands:

Since this happens in the African region, those with afros are encouraged to moisten hair and apply natural oils before combing. Also, avoid using harsh products on your hair at this stage, as it facilitates dryness. As much as possible cover hair with a silk scarf/cap while sleeping and if you’re in a very windy area.

With these tips, harmattan has got nothing on you.

Do you have any question or comment? Please share with us in the comment section.

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