Dry skin is caused by loss of the skin's natural moisture. This may be due to harsh soaps, frequent bathing without regular use of moisturizers, chronic exposure to dry/low humidity, and skin aging.
Here are our top 10 dry skin care tips to get you through these last couple of winter months!
- Use warm instead of hot water during baths and showers to minimize the stripping of natural oils that retain skin moisture.
- Put aside the bath scrubs and harsh cloths, and lather with your hands or occasionally apply a gentle baby washcloth to minimize skin trauma.
- Use moisturizing soap bars (sensitive skin, fragrance-free) such as Dove or Olay or soap-free options such as Purpose, Vanicream, Cera Ve, or Cetaphil.
- After your shower or bath, pat dry and apply a thick moisturizer to your skin while your skin is still damp. If you can scoop it out of the jar, that is the right consistency! Creams that contain mineral oil, ceramides, lanolin, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, lecithin, or petrolatum will help to attract and seal in moisture.
- Use a humidifier during the night to reduce ambient loss of moisture. Set it to 60% for optimal hydration. If your home is also dry, consider a humidifier unit for other living spaces too.
- Be careful to not spend too much time sitting next to heaters or fireplaces as these sources can dry the skin.
- Wear cotton under rough materials and avoid direct contact of abrasive materials such as wool with the skin.
- Don't forget your lips, neck, and hands! We love Aquaphor/Vaseline/Cera Ve Healing Ointment or a thick cream for these areas.
- If skin irritation is persisting, avoid contact with any products containing alpha/beta hydroxy acids (salicylic acids, glycolic acids, lactic acids), alcohol, retinoids/retinols, and fragrances.
- Hydrate from the inside out! About 60% of the human body and skin is water. Most women and men need 2.5-3.5 liters of water a day (11-15 cups!), depending on activity levels and caffeine intake! Find creative ways to work this into your daily self-care - fruit flavoring, cucumber slices, herbal teas, ginger.
Let us know how we can help you create a long-term skincare regimen to get you through any season. The GW Center for Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology and the Department of Dermatology would love to meet you!