Did you know? Dry skin is one of the most common skin concerns. But whether you’re prone to eczema or have the genetics that naturally cause dry skin, many (if not all) of us are bound to have dry skin when the temperatures cool down. Why? The dip in temperature also takes a dip in your skin’s moisture bank.
Dry skin tends to be cyclical. When your skin experiences water loss, it then becomes dehydrated and it’s tough for the skin barrier to rebalance itself. This results in rough or flaky skin, red or itchy skin, and even exaggerated fine lines and wrinkles.
The causes of dry skin
Unfortunately, genetics play a big role, but external factors such as low temperatures, decreased humidity, and blustery winds play a role as well. When the skin experiences these conditions, the cells proliferate at a higher rate without exfoliating off the body, leading to flakier, itchier skin. Plus, cooler temperatures can increase blood flow to the skin, increasing skin redness.
Start with prevention – then treatment
As much as we all love a hot shower when the temperatures cool down, it isn’t good for your skin. Hot showers worsen dryness by removing your skin’s natural source of moisture. If possible, limit your showers to once daily and use lukewarm – not hot! – water for no more than 10 minutes to preserve your skin’s natural oil barrier.
Extra-gentle, fragrance-free soaps with a creamy finish are often your best friend when it comes to preventing irritation and dryness. Moisturizing frequently is also critical for fighting off flakes and keeping skin feeling comfortable. Be sure to look for thick creams rich in ceramides and hyaluronic acid to help attract water to the skin’s surface.
Other recommendations for preventing and treating dry skin include using an oil-based face wash, keeping scrubbing and exfoliating to a minimum, and using a humidifier throughout the day.
Know the best ingredients for dry skin
When dealing with dry skin, look for heavier creams and even greasy-feeling emollients, because they are heavier in fats than water. A good moisturizer has three main components: a humectant, which lures water onto a surface; an emollient, which soothes the skin; and an occlusive, which traps water. Most good and inexpensive moisturizers contain all three components. When searching for a moisturizer, look for ingredients like ceramides, shea butter, and petrolatum, which are good occlusive agents.
Know the ingredients to avoid when wrestling with dry skin
Any alcohol-based ingredients, water-based gels, light lotions, and soaps will sabotage your skin’s hydration. It’s also best to decrease the use of some anti-aging products, such as retinoids. Also fragrances found in not only skin products, but also products that may touch your skin – such as laundry detergent – can be an irritant for skin.
While dry skin can be a seasonal – or regular – nuisance for some, nourishing skincare products and good habits as the season changes can help keep dehydration at bay – and keep you comfortable year-round. For more skincare tips, schedule a consultation with Heather Davis, our licensed esthetician.