First comes the cold breeze, then the holidays, and finally, dry skin. As the winter months have been known to trigger dry skin, aging and low-humidity climates can be common perpetrators as well.
Most people will experience dry skin or keratosis pilaris at some point in their lifetime. Dry skin can occur at any age and for a multitude of reasons, and keratosis pilaris is an inherited skin condition that is seen in up to 40% of the population.
Skin becomes dry when it loses too much water or oil. When you restore moisture to the skin, you’ll notice that it becomes softer, smoother, and less likely to crack. Sometimes, dry skin can be inevitable, but there are ways to improve it. Read our tips below!
Tips for Dry Skin Care
If you plan on shaving, make sure to wait until after taking a shower or bath, when the hairs are softer. Leave shaving cream or gel on for about 3 minutes before shaving to lessen any irritation. Then, shave in the direction that the hair grows. Practice proper razor hygiene by replacing your razor regularly, or at least after 5 to 7 shaves.
Avoid Hot Water
It might be time to reconsider the bad habit of taking extra hot showers. This may be tempting in the colder months, but hot water strips your skin oils more quickly. When bathing, opt for warm water, and if showering, make it quick!
A 5 to 10-minute bath or shower is the sweet spot for retaining moisture in the skin. Anything longer can leave your skin less hydrated than before bathing. To prevent this, make sure to moisturize while skin is still moist.
Use a Mild Soap
Deodorants, perfumed soaps and products containing alcohol can strip natural oils from the skin. Look for mild, unscented products, like a moisturizing cleanser, to keep skin at its prime.
Use a Humidifier
Keep the air in your home moist with a humidifier.
Apply Cool Cloths to Sooth Itchy Dry Skin
Dry skin can be irritatingly itchy, but scratching will only make it worse. Apply a cold cloth to the area that is bothering you, but make sure to moisturize immediately after.
Soothe Chapped Lips
Before bed, apply a lip balm that contains petrolatum, a topical ointment intended to reduce moisture loss. Other names for this ingredient are petroleum jelly and mineral oil.
Dress Appropriately During the Winter
Cold weather (especially wind) can significantly contribute to dry skin. Make sure to bundle up and wear a hat, scarf, and gloves to protect your face and hands from harsh weather.
Take Care of Your Face
If you tend to have very dry skin (rather than oily or combination skin), only wash your face once per day, at night. In the morning, simply rinse with cool water. Opt for a moisturizer that contains urea or lactic acid, since these ingredients hold water. You can find these ingredients in both prescription and over-the-counter moisturizers. Be mindful of the fact that these products may sting if you experience eczema or cracked skin.
Keeping your skin hydrated should improve most cases of dry skin. If dryness ensues, consider seeing a dermatologist.