What to do or not to do if you have dry skin
Dry skin doesn’t just look bad—it’s also uncomfortable. But here’s the tricky thing: Products that promise to give you a gorgeous glow could contain dehydrating ingredients, says Jamie Davis, M.D., a Minneapolis-based dermatologist. Here are five she says it’s key to avoid if you’re feeling parched.
While the ingredient has been championed across the board for their success in treating acne, wrinkles, and skin conditions like psoriasis and warts, Davis says that retinoids can be too harsh on dry skin. Irritation is a side-effect of the ingredient, so adding it on top of already parched skin can be a recipe for disaster.
2. Benzoyl Peroxide
Davis calls this “another major player” in the irritation game. While derms love the ingredient for treating acne, skin can have really negative reactions to it, including peeling, itching, irritation, and redness.
Davis says that though most products contain some sort of alcohol (it helps ingredients penetrate the skin), gels and lotions usually contain a higher concentration of it. To sober up your skin, Davis recommends sticking with thicker creams that don’t list alcohol until far down the ingredients list.
4. Salicylic Acid
While salicylic acid can be a good skin softener—it has exfoliating properties that can even treat dry skin when used correctly—buying it OTC and applying it to your skin can be dangerous if you’re on the dryer side. Want to incorporate the ingredient into your routine? Ask your derm what percentage is safe to use on your skin.
5. Fragrances and Preservatives
Davis says these are the leading cause of skin allergies. If fragrances and preservatives irritate your skin, they can turn your complexion into a dry, flaky mess. As an alternative to your sweet-smelling cream, try a fragrance- and preservative-free alternative, such as Avène Tolérance Extrême Cream.
When you have flaky, itchy, dry skin, you want fast relief. Easing your dry skin isn’t just about what you put on it. It also depends on how you clean your skin, the air around you, and even your clothes.
1. Warm Yes, Hot No.
A steamy shower feels good, but that hot water is not a good idea for your dry skin, says dermatologist Andrea Lynn Cambio, MD.The problem is that hot showers strip your body of its natural oil barrier, and you need that barrier to help trap moisture and keep your skin smooth and moist.So dial down the temperature and don’t linger too long. Skin care experts recommend short, warm showers or baths that last no longer than 5 to 10 minutes. Afterward, gently pat dry and moisturize your body.
2. Cleanse Gently.
Wash with a soapless cleanser when you shower. Cambio says gentle soaps that are free of fragrance are a great option. Products with deodorant or antibacterial additives can be harsh on skin.You might also consider a cleanser that contains ceramides, says dermatologist Carolyn Jacob, MD. Ceramides are fatty molecules that make up the outer barrier of your skin. They help skin hold in moisture. Some skin care products use synthetic ceramides to replace those we lose with age.Go easy on toners, peels, and other astringents made with alcohol, which is drying. When you exfoliate, don’t scrub too much or too hard, Jacob says. It can irritate and thicken skin.
3. Shave Smartly.
Shaving can irritate dry skin. As you shave unwanted hair, you’re also scraping off natural oils. The best time to shave is after you shower, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Hairs are softer and more pliable after bathing, making shaving easier.Always use a shaving cream or gel, and shave in the direction the hair is growing to protect your skin. Make sure the razor is sharp. A dull razor blade can cause additional irritation. Change your razor blades often. If you are using a blade you’ve used before, soak it in rubbing alcohol to clean it.