Even during a humid and rainy southern winter our skin can get dry, cracked and flaky. Luckily, the most common tips to relieve dry skin are incredibly simple changes you can make immediately.
Baths and Showers
Despite all the water, baths and showers can actually dry your skin out even more if you aren’t careful. The most important thing to change would be temperature—if you’re used to taking scalding hot shower, opt for warm water instead and save your skin some trouble! Try to limit your time in the shower or bath as much as you can, and keep the bathroom door shut while you’re in there to trap as much steam as possible. Use enough body soap to remove dirt and sweat, but don’t lather up too much—those natural oils on the surface of your skin are keeping it hydrated! Remember, you are not that dirty! Avoid fragranced soaps or body washes and use soaps for sensitive skin. When you’re done, blot dry with a towel instead of rubbing and slather yourself in ointment or cream based moisturizer immediately.
Ointments and Creams
More often than not, an ointment or cream will do a better job soothing your skin than a general-use lotion will. Ingredients that are kind to your dry skin include ceramides, lactic acid, urea, hyaluronic acid and/or petrolatum. Avoid fragranced lotions and body creams. Find a non-greasy hand cream you like and carry it with you everywhere! That way you can immediately apply it after every hand wash, and if you’re washing dishes, make sure you wear gloves and don’t get the water too hot.
When skin starts to dry out, your lips are the first things to go. The first and simplest step to relieving dry skin is to drink adequate amount of water. The next step would be to have a quality lip balm or plain petrolatum. Go for something natural that doesn’t include alcohol on the ingredient list—a lot of name brand lip balms with ingredients like wax or propolis, will actually dry out your lips further. Carry it with you everywhere so you can avoid making things worse by licking your lips! If you try something new and your lips start stinging or tingling, stop immediately and try a different balm.
Skin Care Products
Opt for gentle, sensitive skin care products when you’re shopping for things to soothe your dry skin. Often products that are unscented have 3 to 4 masking fragrances. Choose products that are fragrance free. The drier it becomes, the more sensitive it is, so it’s important to take good care of it. Avoid any products with ingredients that might strip your skin of its natural oils. These ingredients include alcohol, fragrance, sodium laurel sulfate, tricoslan, parabens or methychloroisothialinone.
The sector of skin care products also includes laundry detergent! Go for hypoallergenic detergents without any kind of strong, chemical smells. More people are allergic or sensitive to strong detergents than they realize. Also, avoid dryer sheets and fabric softeners, even if they are unscented. These products deposit a film on your clothing.
While you can’t control the air outside, you can certainly control the air in your home! Invest in a humidifier for important rooms around your house—the ones you’re in the most throughout the day. If you want just one, put it in your bedroom and turn it on at night. Overnight is when your skin restores itself, so it’s extra important to keep it hydrated and healthy during this process. And of course, a trip to the sauna or spa wouldn’t hurt!
If you try these simple changes and are still experiencing dry, irritated skin, call Cahaba Dermatology and let our board-certified physicians treat your skin problems! You may need a prescription ointment or cream to soothe your skin. For more tips and treatments, contact Cahaba Dermatology today!