What causes Dry Skin?
Dryness can result from any number of things that remove water from the skin. Skin care products, weather, and bathing habits are some of the most common causes of dry skin. Cool, dry weather causes the skin to lose moisture, and to chap or crack. Alcohol and astringents found in toners, aftershaves, and other products can also dry and irritate the skin. Hot water and prolonged bathing can lead to increased water loss and dryness. Scrubbing brushes, granular soaps, and antibacterial or deodorant soaps may also aggravate dry skin. Dry skin is treated by Dr. DeEtta Gray in her Bellveue office for patients from Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Seattle and throughout the Northwest.
What can I do to prevent Dry Skin?
Water alone cannot moisturize your skin. If your skin is not protected by a moisturizer, the water will evaporate, and even pull more water from the skin. Patients with dry skin should bathe in warm, not hot, water, and should limit bathing time to 5 minutes. Cleansers should only be used in “dirty” areas such as the face, hands, feet, underarms, and groin. Wash with a moisture-containing soap, a sensitive skin soap, or a non-soap cleanser such as DCL Non-Drying Cleansing Lotion, Cetaphil cleanser, Aquanil lotion cleanser, Dove Moisturizing body wash, Oil of Olay Moisturizing body wash or Dove Sensitive Skin Bar. If you like to use bath oil, add it to the water after, not before, you’ve soaked for a minute or two. Your skin will have absorbed some water already, and the oil will seal it in.
Pat yourself dry with a towel immediately after bathing. Waiting too long to dry off will allow the water that has filled your cells to evaporate. Do not towel vigorously. As soon as you’ve patted yourself dry, apply moisturizer to lock in the water your skin soaked up during the bath or shower. Good moisturizers are ones which are so thick that they do not pour out of a bottle. These include MD Forte Advanced Hydrating Complex Cream, Glytone Advanced Moisturizing Lotion, Eucerine Cream, Vanicream Cream, Aquaphor Ointment, Cetaphil Cream, or Vaseline Petroleum Jelly.
How should I apply moisturizers to Dry Skin?
Always apply a moisturizer after bathing. Moisturizers work best when applied to seal water into the skin. Keep a bottle of lotion near the sink so you can use it after washing your hands. Many people prefer to use lotions and creams during the day because they are less greasy. Ointments provide better moisture coverage, and may be preferred at nighttime. Moisturizers must be used daily to maintain their effects.
If you are prone to acne, talk to our physician before selecting a moisturizer. Some moisturizers are comedogenic (pore-clogging) and may cause acne or make acne worse.
While you are thinking about moisturizing your skin, do not forget to add moisture to your environment. If your home is dry, use a room humidifier to increase the moisture content of the air surrounding your skin. More water is lost by evaporation in dry air than in moist air.
Dry Skin Do’s and Don’ts:
- Bathe or shower in warm water
- Limit bathing time to 5 minutes per shower or bath
- Add bath oil after your skin has soaked up some of the water
- Put on moisturizer right after bathing; use lotion after washing your hands
- Ask your doctor to recommend a non-comedogenic moisturizer (one the won’t make acne worse)
- Pat dry when you get out of the bath
- Rinse off chlorine and salt water
- Humidify your home in the winter, or year round if you live in a dry climate
- Take hot showers or baths
- Take long showers or baths
- Put bath oil in the tub while it is filling
- Towel vigorously
- Leave the bathroom without applying moisturizer
- Wash with a granular soap
- Use astringents or alcohol-based products
- Air dry after bathing or swimming
- Forget to shower after swimming
- Stay in dry air for 24 hours a day