dry skin

Dry skin is a very common and bothersome problem, especially in Minnesota winters.  There are many reasons you could be dealing with itching, flaking, or even cracking, and trying to figure out the right skin care to counteract these problems can be frustrating. If you struggle with dry skin, here are some helpful tips to build a tailored skin care routine, including natural skin care options offered through our Skin Wise line:

1. Cleanse:

One of the best ways to care for dry skin is to use a gentle cleanser. It is very tempting to use rough scrubs or harsh soaps to aggressively remove visible flaking, but this can strip the skin of its natural oils, further weaken your skin’s natural protective barrier, and actually make flaking worse. Instead, reach for a gentle cleanser, fragrance-free cleanser that is particularly formulated for dry skin. Avoid cleansers with active ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, as these products can aggravate sensitive skin. Use clean fingertips to gently apply your cleanser to either dry or damp skin with lukewarm (not hot!) water. Massage gently in a circular motion, avoiding aggressive scrubbing, and then rinse well with lukewarm (again, not hot!) water.

2. Moisturize:

One of the best things you can do to care for dry and sensitive skin is moisturizing on a regular basis. Moisturizers keep your skin hydrated, fortifying your skin’s natural protective barrier by preventing water loss. Look for moisturizers specifically formulated for dry skin- particularly fragrance-free creams, oils, and ointments, as these products will typically provide better protection and hydration than a thinner vehicle, like a lotion. The best time to apply moisturizer to your body is immediately after bathing or showering, when the skin is still damp. 

3. Gently Exfoliate:

Exfoliation can help remove dead skin cells, but it must be approached with caution. Avoid aggressive, harsh scrubs that can damage or aggravate dry skin. Some people with very sensitive skin will not be able to tolerate any sort of exfoliating products. Limit exfoliating products to 1-2 times a week if tolerated. Gently massage onto the skin with wet fingertips to gently buff away dead skin cells. Be sure to apply moisturizer immediately after exfoliating to hydrate the skin.

4. Humidify the Air:

Using a cool mist humidifier in your home can help add moisture to the air, which can greatly benefit your dry skin- keeping it hydrated and healthy. By running the humidifier in your bedroom at night, you can even be caring for your skin while you sleep!

5. Avoid the Following:

  • Hot Showers/Baths: While a long hot shower can be so relaxing, that prolonged exposure to hot water strips the skin’s natural oils, impairing your skin’s protective barrier and leading to dryness, itching and flaking. Instead, place a time limit on bathing, using lukewarm (not hot) water.
  • Fragranced Products: Fragrance free products have less likelihood of irritating already sensitive skin. When doing laundry, ensure that your detergent is fragrance free. Avoid dryer sheets and fabric softeners. Stick with fragrance free body washes, cleansers, and moisturizers. Avoid scented products like perfumes.

Synthetic Fabrics: Cotton will be the most gentle and breathable fabric on dry or sensitive skin.

6. Consult a Dermatology Provider:

Dry skin can be difficult to manage and can feel like an uphill battle. If you find yourself struggling with dry skin, get some expert help from a dermatology provider! We can help you customize your skin care routine to maintain healthy, hydrated skin. Book an appointment with one of our dermatology providers, and we’ll be delighted to tailor your skin care to your specific needs! 

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