10 Tips for Treating & Preventing Dry Skin
Let’s take a few minutes to discuss how to prevent dry skin and if you currently suffering from dry skin, how to help get rid of it. Dry skin is known as “xerosis” in technical medical terminology. As we get older, we’re at increased risk of developing dry skin. Although dry skin itself isn’t going to kill you, the symptoms can be obnoxious and can potentially lead to complications if you ignore it. Dry skin can worsen fine lines and make wrinkles more noticeable. In more extreme examples, it can itch, flake, crack and even bleed.
1. Apply a moisturizer immediately after you finish washing.
Ointments, creams, and lotions (moisturizers) work by trapping existing moisture in your skin. When you’re done showering, keeping that moisture on your body is essential. Dry off the water by dabbing, don’t try to dry yourself off 100%. Apply the moisturizer immediately after. Also remember to do this after washing your face and hands.
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2. Prevent baths and showers from making dry skin worse.
You don’t want to dry your skin out by showering or bathing too long, so limit your time to 5-10 minutes. Keeping the door closed will keep the water vapor in the bathroom air which helps. If you can, use warm water over really hot water. Use moderate amounts of a fragrance free cleanser, don’t over apply. When you’re done, gently dry your skin and apply the moisturizer.
3. Use only gentle, unscented skin care products.
Some skin care products are too harsh for dry, sensitive skin. When your skin is dry, stop using deodorant soaps. Avoid skin care products that contain alcohol, fragrance, retinoids, or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). Avoiding these products will help your skin retain its natural oils.
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4. Use an ointment or cream rather than a lotion.
Ointments and creams are more effective and less irritating than lotions. Look for a cream or ointment that contains olive oil, jojoba oil or shea butter. Other ingredients to look for includes lactic acid, urea, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerin, lanolin, mineral oil, and petrolatum. Remember to carry a cream with you to use after hand washing when you’re not home.
5. Wear lip balm.
Obviously, you want to choose a lip balm that feels good on your lips. However, some healing lip balms can irritate your lips. If your lips sting or tingle after you apply the lip balm, switch to one that does not cause this reaction.
6. Wear non-irritating clothes and use non-irritating laundry detergent.
Clothing and detergent can irritate our skin, especially when it is dry and raw and more high risk. Avoid this by wearing cotton or silk clothing, especially under wool or other “rough materials”. When shopping for laundry detergent and fabric softeners, choose ones labeled hypoallergenic
7. Wear gloves.
Our hands are at high risk for dry skin and often one of the first places you’ll notice it. Wearing gloves can reduce the incidence of dry or raw skin. Wearing gloves is important during the winter when you’re outdoors, any task that gets your hands wet such as washing dishes and using any chemicals or greases on your hands. You may also find wearing gloves when you sleep to be helpful after applying moisturizer.
8. Add moisture to the air.
If the air in your bedroom or house is dry, you’re fighting an uphill battle no matter whatever else you do. Try using a humidifier. You can also look at the heating system you have in your home. If it has a humidifier, make sure it’s working properly. If it doesn’t, look into adding one.
9. Avoid sitting to close to heat sources (furnace, fire, etc).
Sitting in front of an open flame or other heat source can dry your skin. During the winter you want to stay warm but sitting too close to these sources can make your dry skin worse.
10. You may need to see a dermatologist
Your skin should start to feel better quickly. If these changes do not bring relief, you may want to see a dermatologist. Very dry skin can require a prescription ointment or cream. Dry skin also can be a sign of a skin condition that needs treatment. A dermatologist can examine your skin and explain what can help reduce your discomfort.