Living in a desert climate can do a number on your skin.
The water is harsh (desalinated don’t you know!) and can turn your skin into ashy patches faster than you can say “Elephant skin!”
The A/C is a necessary evil if you want to, ya know, survive. But it dehydrates to prune status lickety split.
As such Vitamin D deficiency is a real problem. Thinning hair caused by the harsh water and dry skin and nails are every woman’s worst nightmare.
So how DO I survive out here?
Listen up for the tried and tested products, gadgets and gizmos if you’re thinking a prolonged stay in the UAE might be in your future.
Dealing with the water
I’ve heard tell that the water is safe to drink from the tap, but I’m not too sure. As such we drink only bottled water. We have a water cooler for cooking and drinking water and this is ordered from a water supplier who delivers 3-4 gallons a week. We drink a lot of water!
As for showering or bathing, we fitted special filters to all our taps. It softens the water enough to save our skin and hair.
Moisturizing immediately after a bath or shower really is best. Locking moisture in is uber important.
Skin care products
I use heavy shea based moisturizers religiously morning and night. Even with that my skin gets dry and itchy about halfway through the day so I keep a tube of heavy duty hand cream in my bag at all times.
Sunblock is obviously high on our list, and we go through about three tubes a month. I get the SPF 50 in waterproof consistency. One for children’s sensitive skin, a spray for hubby who doesn’t like rubbing on sunblock and a light, oilfree one for me.
Your lips will become dry and chapped if you don’t watch out. I make a sugar and coconut oil scrub that I leave in the bathroom for everyone to use. It gently removes dead skin and leaves lips feeling kissable!
Hair care products
My hair turned brittle and started falling out within months of landing in the UAE. Granted that was a while ago and many improvements have been made since then, but beware! Your hair will never be the same.
I have short hair so wash every day. I use Head and Shoulders shampoo and a leave in conditioner. I don’t use a hairdryer and air dry my hair. When it’s a bit longer I quick dry with a drier or just wrap a towel around it. Every now and then the greys will be overwhelming, and I’ll use a natural hair dye like Koleston in my natural Dark Brown colour. Chemical dyes caused my hair to break off to much.
For G’s longer, curlier hair, I wash it once a week ( every Saturday) with a rich hydrating shampoo and conditioner. If I’m leaving her hair to air dry I don’t rinse out the conditioner. If I’m blow drying it ( social occasions and such) I do a moisture mask first. I try not to use heat on her hair too much and have never used chemicals to straighten it. I plan on never doing that.
Foot and nail care products
Your feet and nails can take a beating. We wear a lot of sandals and have regular pedicures at our fave salon, but we have to maintain it at home.
G and hubby swear by Vaseline and socks to keep their feet smooth, but I wear open sandals more often and have found only one product works. Palmers Foot Magic cream works wonders and I stock up on it every month.
I like to wear red polish and only wear OPI or Essie. The polish doesn’t leave my nails yellow. For removal I use the Cutex remover with added lanolin. Dermalogica AGE- smart hand cream for after leaves my hands feeling smooth and hydrated all day long.
It goes without saying that you’ll need a good quality antiperspirant or eish….! The smell will be 😮!!
Staying dry is a priority, especially if you are out of doors during the summer. 😩
I have sensitive skin and use only natural antiperspirant. G’s just starting out and I use the softer version for her skin. Hubby uses whatever he can because he sweats rather badly.
Some people use talcum powder but I find it effective only in the short term. If you’re working a full day, sooner or later the whiff will become unbearable.
I use a baking soda and lemon juice, or baking soda and coconut oil scrub on my underarms once a week to help remove excess deodorant, and go sans products as often as possible to prevent further darkening under the arms. I’m lucky that I don’t need to shave as I have laughably few underarm hairs, but I do suffer from darkened underarms.
Hats and sunglasses
Wide brimmed hats, fedoras, peaked caps. We have literally all the hats. Going out without them in summer is foolhardy.
We all wear sunglasses. Buying cheaper versions may not be great long term so look at getting one or two good quality pairs from your optician. Also get your eyes tested while you’re there.
Avoiding the sun unfortunately means you can run the risk of being Vitamin D deficient. With that comes a whole host of problems.
We all take multivitamins, especially G. I also make sure she spends at least 15 mins lying in the sun every day.
Until next I blog,