Dry skin can occur as a result of various factors, such as cold, dry air or excessive bathing, but whatever the cause it is essentially down to an ability of the skin to retain moisture. If left untreated, dry skin can become aggravated, leading to dermatitis, eczema or similar conditions. However, the good news is that, while many people are more prone to dry skin and the conditions that can arise from it, there are several steps you can take to avoid the irritation, discomfort and unsightly effects that dry skin can cause. Here are five ways to avoid these problems.
1. Moisturise regularly
Daily moisturising is one of the top ways to prevent dry skin. There are many different types of moisturizers on the market, some of which are aimed at certain skin types or body areas. Thicker, richer moisturisers will generally be more effective at keeping the skin hydrated. These tend to be oil-based and are best applied while skin is still damp. Other moisturisers contain an oil and water mix, while others do not contain oil at all. These are less greasy and some people prefer them for this reason. Sanctuary Spa have a great range of moisturising products, including creams, souffles, body butters, lotions and serums to help combat and prevent dry skin conditions.
2. Check your moisturiser’s ingredients
As well as oil and water, you may want to check what other ingredients your moisturiser contains. Moisturisers all work by rehydrating the skin and helping to lock in moisture, but the different ingredients help to do this in different ways. Humectants are chemical components that attract moisture; examples are glycerin, ceramides and hyaluronic acid. Emollients plump out the areas between skin cells and even out skin texture; linoleic and linolenic acids are examples. Then there are the oils and ingredients such as lanolin that actively help to keep moisture sealed in. If you’re allergic to any of these ingredients be doubly sure to check the label before purchasing and using any product.
3. Avoid excessive bathing
You don’t have to stop washing, but be aware that excessive bathing and showering can strip the natural protective oils from your skin, leading to a greater susceptibility to dry skin. A ten minute daily shower is fine. And it’s not just the frequency of bathing that is important, but also the temperature. Avoid hot water which is more damaging to the natural oils and harsher on the skin, but stick to lukewarm to warm water where possible.
4. Avoid irritants and products that dry out the skin
Soaps are notorious when it comes to their ability to dry out the skin, and their use should really be minimised, especially if you already have dry skin. Moisturising bars and gentler soap-free bath and shower preparations can be used instead. Other products that it can be helpful to avoid are perfumed laundry detergents, while wool and similar materials can sometimes irritate the skin.
5. Use a light touch when drying and exfoliating
Exfoliating is great for the skin, helping to slough off those dead skin cells and leave it looking polished and rejuvenated. But it shouldn’t be done every day and always use products that are suitable for your skin type. Use sponges and loofahs lightly, taking care not to rub the skin too roughly. Bear this in mind, too, when towelling dry – experts generally recommend patting dry rather than rubbing.