January is the traditional time of year when many of us make New Year’s resolutions…
If you suffer from dry skin you’re not alone. Dry skin is one of the most common skin conditions and is often accompanied by itching, dry patches, and even tiny white ‘skin’ flakes similar to dandruff.
“Dry skin is a condition cause by the lack of sufficient moisture in the most superficial layer of the skin, the epidermi,” says Dr. Richard Price of Price Skin Care Clinic in Ridgeland, MS. “The lack of moisture in the skin causes irritating symptoms and can even result in serious complications. So it’s important to take steps to prevent dry skin, treat the condition and see a doctor if the symptoms persist.”
Dry skin is most common:
• Among the elderly due to having lower amounts of natural skin oils and lubricants
• During the winter months when indoor heating systems keep the air dry
• In regions where the climate is naturally dry
• Among those whose occupations require them to wash their hands often a
• Among some who take certain medications
Whatever the reason for dry skin, you don’t have to live with it – or at least suffer from it to the full degree. Follows these nine tips to protect the moisture in your skin and to even treat the condition.
Tip #1: Keep showers warm and short
Hot baths and showers deplete your body of its natural oil barrier, which helps trap moisture in your skin. So take short showers and baths (5-10 minutes tops) and keep the water temperature warm – never hot.
Tip # 2: Read soap labels
Take care to know what’s in your soap. Use fragrant-free soaps and none with deoderants or antibactierial agents, which can be rough on the skin. Don’t use toners, peels and astringents made with alcohol
Tip #3: Be gentle
After you’re out of the water, treat your skin gently by patting it with a soft towel. And if exfoliating, don’t scrub. Extra friction on the skin is likely to make dry skin worse.
Tip #4: Shower, Then Shave
Shave after showering or bathing – not before. The warmth of the water makes hair softer and easier to shave. Always protect the skin by using a shaving cream or gel and shave in the direction the hair is growing. If possible, shave less often as shaving causes you to scrape off naturally lubricating oils. And use a sharp blade as a dull one can irritate the skin.
Tip #5: Protect your skin from the sun
Nothing dries your skin more than the sun, so be vigilant about protecting yourself from its harmful UV rays. Wear a sunscreen that’s SPF 30 and keep your skin covered and shielded from the sun by wearing long-sleeved shirts, a wide-brimmed hat and in the winter, use a scarf or a hat with a mask. And remember that the sun can be just as dangerous in cold weather as it can when it’s hot.
Tip #6: Moisturize well
Find a moisturizing cream, lotion or oil and keep it handy. You really can’t moisturize enough. If you want to lay it on thick, use shea butter, ceramides or glycerin that will help replenish the skin barrier. Be sure to apply the moisturizer to damp skin just after bathing so as to trap the moisture in.
Tip #7: Keep your house humid
As mentioned above, dry skin can be at its worst in cold weather when home heating systems keep the air dry. To combat this, use a humidifier in the bedroom and set it at 50-60% to keep moisture in the air and on your skin.
Tip #8: Don’t ignore the condition
Although dry skin is more of an annoyance than a health risk, it can lead to serious complications such as chronic eczema, bleeding from fissures and even secondary bacteria infections. So don’t ignore the condition even if you can stand the itchiness, dry patches and flaky skin.
Tip #9: See your skin care doctor
If you try the above steps and still suffer from dry skin, see your skin doctor for a check-up. If indicated your doctor might prescribe a cream that can help. And more importantly, your doctor may want to check for serious medical conditions that cause dry skin such as diabetes, lymphonma or even liver disease.
For some, dry skin is a minor annoyance. For others it’s a chronic condition that can lead to serious consequences. But following these nine tips can help promote healthy skin care as well as reduce the incidences and severity of dry skin.