Got dry skin? There are many things you can do to make it smooth and supple.
In many cases, all it takes is making a few adjustments to your daily skin care routine.
Care Strategies for Dry Skin When You Wash
Try these tips for the bath or shower:
- Skip long, hot showers. Hot water strips oils from the skin faster than warm water. Long showers or baths actually dry out your skin. Limit yourself to a single 5- or 10-minute warm shower or bath a day.
- Use a gentle cleanser or shower gel with moisturizer. Instead of harsh cleansers, go for unscented, soap-free, or mild soap cleansers.
- Moisturize while skin is still moist. Pat your skin with a towel after you shower or wash your face or hands, leaving it damp. Apply a moisturizer within three to five minutes of washing to lock moisture in.
What to Look for in a Moisturizer
You don't have to pay a fortune for a good, rich moisturizer. Read the label. Ingredients that may be helpful for dry skin include:
- Ceramides. Ceramides help the skin hold water and soothe dry skin. Synthetic ceramides may mimic the natural substances in the outermost layer of skin that help keep moisture in.
- Dimethicone and glycerin. These draw water to the skin and keep it there.
- Hyaluronic acid. Like ceramides, hyaluronic acid helps skin hold water.
- Lanolin, mineral oil, and petroleum jelly (petrolatum). These help skin hold on to water absorbed during bathing.
5 Lifestyle Tips for Relieving Dry Skin
These strategies can also help make your skin supple and smooth:
- Plug in a humidifier at home to help keep skin hydrated during winter months when indoor air is dry.
- Wear cotton and other natural fibers. Wool, synthetics, or other fabrics can be scratchy and irritating.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat omega-3 foods. Essential fatty acids can help fortify the skin’s natural oil-retaining barriers. Foods rich in omega-3 include cold-water fish (salmon, halibut, sardines), flax, walnuts, and safflower oil.
- For redness or inflammation, apply a cool compress or an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream on the area for a week. If these don’t provide relief, talk to your doctor.