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5 Ways to Prevent Dry Skin

by Louise May 25th, 2017 | Prevention
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handshakeA change of seasons can often be a trigger for dry skin problems. In the winter, the cold and dry weather is particularly harsh on skin; however, summer comes with its own set of problems. Indoors, changes in air conditioning and heating cause moisture changes in the air, which in turn affects skin. Outdoors, leaving unprotected skin under the sun will lead to sun burns and dry, peeling skin. Once skin has become scaly, cracked, or flaky, it can be difficult to restore the ideal moisture levels. Preventing the onset of dry skin is much easier and can be done with the help of any or all of the following steps.

  1. Use moisturizers. Start using moisturizers even when your skin doesn’t look dry. Moisturizer is absorbed better when your skin is already a little damp (e.g. just after a shower or a dip in a pool). Petroleum jelly should be used as a treatment for dry skin rather than a preventative measure. Overuse can prevent your body from making its own oils, but the jelly does do an excellent job sealing in moisture and protecting skin from the environment.
  2. Use gentle cleansers. Look for cleaners that are marked as being gentler or even containing moisturizers. Avoid using plain soap. In the shower, your arms and legs only need to be lathered down if they are actually dirty (e.g. with mud or grime).
  3. Drink water. Being perpetually dehydrated can lead to dry skin. Moisturize from the inside out by staying hydrated.
  4. Reduce shower length. While it might seem beneficial to dampen your skin with water, the water actually is detrimental to your skin’s health because it strips away natural moisturizing oils on the surface. The shorter you keep your shower, the better.
  5. Avoid washing with hot water. The oil stripping power of water is enhanced with warmer water. You may have to sacrifice a few degrees of warmth in the shower for healthier skin. Take advantage of warm summer temperatures by taking cooler, more “refreshing,” showers, which are better for your skin.

As in many cases, prevention is easier than treatment. You can avoid itchy, dry skin by showing it a bit of attention before the problem arises. Think about the ways your skin is exposed during the day; with a bit of tender love and care, you can stop dry skin in its pesky tracks.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.