Aside from being the largest organ covering 20ft2 (6.1m2) of our body, the skin also plays an important role as our body’s first line of defense against the elements. It is composed of an outermost layer called the epidermis which creates our skin tone, the middle layer called dermis where you can find the hair follicles and the inner hypodermis.
The epidermal layer of the skin contains natural skin oils that when reduced could lead to xerosic dermatitis or dry skin. This skin condition causes small, fine and dry flakes where itching is the most common symptom and very hard to resist. This mild and temporary condition that may last for a few days to a week, if left untreated, may lead to complications like eczema, bacterial infection and skin discoloration.
The good news is, dry skin can be prevented and with some simple steps, you can even have a beautifully moisturized skin.
Here are some tips on Skincare for dry skin
- Lower down your shower steam and time. Everybody loves a good shower, especially hot shower. But little did you know that setting your shower too steamy will dry out the natural oils found in the epidermis. It is a good idea to lower down your shower temperature to lukewarm. Another thing to remember is to keep your showers short. Five minutes is the recommended time giving you enough time to clean without over-drying the skin’s natural oils.
I will admit that shortening your shower time can be real difficult because it feels real good at first. Even as of today, it is still a challenge. It’s easier to go for a quick shower after a sweaty workout where you simply just want to wash off those sweats that are most likely triggering our eczema.
- Use mild soap. Not all soaps are the same. Some soap is too harsh that it will dry out your skin’s natural moisture. Try using a mild, fragrance-free soap that is specially formulated for dry skin. For example, Dove’s soap (hypo-allergenic & for sensitive skin) is usually recommended by dermatologists because it has no sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a harsh chemical commonly found in cleaning products (shampoo, laundry detergent, hand soaps, cleansers, etc.).
- Do not use sponge scrub. Doing so will create friction which will directly strip off your skin’s natural oils. Use a soft wash cloth instead. Cleaning your skin using your hands is as effective as using a sponge scrub but without scraping your skin’s natural moisturizer.
- Leave some moisture. What we usually do after a shower is we completely dry-off by wiping our towels. This strip off the moisture away from our skin and, even if you are completely dried, the effects are similar with using a sponge scrub during shower. What is recommended is you still dry-off using your towel but be sure to leave your skin a little bit moist and not completely dry. Since the pores of your skin are open as an effect of the steamy shower, apply some moisturizers to your dampened skin as this creates a barrier causing the oils to be locked in your skin. You can also choose a moisturizing cream that’s right for your type of skin (Read here if you have Eczema and in need of help of picking a cream). Rich creams are perfect for sensitive skin while a very dry skin requires a cream that contains lactic acid or petroleum jelly. Applying creams does not only moisturize your skin but also creates a shield which further protects your skin from the elements.
- Don’t forget the face. Yes, our face needs to be moisturized but remember that our skin requires a different kind of cream. Choose one that does not clog the pores and incorporates a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor of 30 especially in the Summer. Although, the added sunscreen is optional if your skin can handle it (For Eczema sufferers, read my focus article on Sun-screen and Eczema). I personally would use an organic sunscreen (made for face) underneath a moisturizer mostly during hot days, because it hardly causes any stinging or redness (especially around eyes) unlike any other conventional sunscreens I’ve tried.
Take care of your skin while you are young and show off that you have a beautifully moisturized skin because this will change when you grow old. Aging causes our skin to become thin and parched. But even if you are old, you can still minimize the effects of an aging skin by applying a generous amount of moisturizing cream in the morning where it has shown to minimize wrinkles while preventing dry skin.
If you like to know the symptoms of dry skin please read the following article.