We treat a number of different skin conditions at the offices of Brian J. Williams, M.D., P.C., but perhaps the very most common is dry skin. Skin care for dryness issues is a consistently changing game, and our dermatologists are here to keep you ahead of the curve.
Many of the ways you can combat dry skin go back to basic common sense and things you can do in daily life. Let’s look at a few habits that you can look to for improving or eliminating dry skin.
When caring for skin, you want to be as gentle as possible. Use soapless cleansers and gentle, fragrance-free soaps – many products with additives are tougher on skin. Many of the best skin products contain ceramides, which are molecules that help the skin hold moisture.
In addition, ease up on additives like toners and peels, or any astringents made with alcohol. Alcohol dries the skin. When you exfoliate, be gentle and don’t scrub too hard or too much and risk thickening skin. Choose the right times for certain irritating activities like shaving – after showering is typically best, as hairs are softer and will irritate skin less as they’re removed.
Sun damage is one of the primary causes of dry skin, among other skin conditions. Wear high-SPF sunscreen – at least 30 SPF anytime you’ll be in the sun for even a small period of time. Some people with dry skin simply wear sunscreen every day, regardless of their expected activities. Wear long sleeve shirts and cover up where possible while in the sun.
A good moisturizer is one of your best friends, but it’s important to follow the right steps as well. After washing with a non-soap cleanser, dry the skin lightly for 20 seconds or so by patting it. From here, apply your moisturizer while your skin is still moist – this will allow it to trap in more moisture. As far as your hands, you can moisturize these every time you wash them to prevent evaporating water from drawing the moisture off your skin.
Warm and lukewarm water is great for treating dry skin, but crossing the barrier into “hot” is a different story. Hot showers can strip natural oils from the skin, leaving the skin without a layer to trap moisture and keep skin smooth. Don’t linger too long in a hotter shower – most experts recommend no longer than 5 to 10 minutes.