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.
Be sure to apply sunscreen to areas of your body that are exposed to the sun during the day. Look for a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more that says "broad spectrum" on the label.
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.