You eat a healthy diet, slather lotion all over your body, and even use a humidifier in your house, yet your skin doesn’t seem to realize it because it still feels dry, itchy, and tight. Before going straight to a dermatologist, however, see if you are guilty of these bad habits that make your already dry skin even drier.
Taking Hot, Long Showers
Hot water can strip your skin’s natural lipids such as fatty acids, cholesterol, and ceramides, which provide some kind of waterproof seal around your skin cells. In turn, this would weaken your skin barrier and lead to water and moisture loss. Lack of these lipids would then make your skin itchy, tight, and dry. With this in mind, limit your showers to 15 minutes or less and opt for warm, instead of hot water. This also applies for bathing. Additionally, when washing your hands and face, use lukewarm or warm water.
Aggressively Rubbing Off Water After a Shower Instead of Patting
Vigorously rubbing your skin with a towel after your shower will generate friction that can irritate your skin. Instead, pat your skin with a towel until damp and then apply a bath body oil and/or moisturizer to seal in moisture.
Using Harsh Cleansers
Some cleansers like foaming washes and deodorant soaps contain harsh ingredients that could easily remove natural lipids from your skin. Aside from contributing to water and moisture loss, it paves the way for known skin irritants like sulfates to seep into your skin and cause inflammation. Likewise, since shampoos typically contain sulfates, wash your hair first and then wash your body and face to eliminate traces of shampoo. Whenever possible, opt for mild, moisturizing, unscented, and oil-based cleansers instead of heavily scented water-based and alcohol-based cleansers.
Not Wearing Sunscreen
The most common cause of skin aging and dry skin is sun exposure. It’s vital to note that you should wear sunscreen all year round and not just during sunny weather, but most particularly when skiing or just hanging out in the alps as the sun’s rays are stronger, hence more damaging, at higher altitudes and when reflected on snow. To be on the safe side, choose a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF even in the winter and make sure that it’s a broad-spectrum formulation, meaning formulated with UVA and UVB protection.
Using Strong Face Peels
Face peels, whether at-home, your dermatologist’s clinic, or a spa, is great for your skin because it gets rid of the topmost layer of your skin, where dead skin cells are, and enables moisturizers and hydrators to penetrate your skin more deeply. However, depending on your skin type and skin concerns, you should only do face peels at least once a week and avoid using stronger peels during the cold months to avoid drying out your skin.
By breaking these bad habits, you could avoid making your already dry and irritated skin worse. But aside from these bad habits, note that some medical conditions and medications could cause and/or further aggravate your dry skin. If you suspect that this might be the case for you, it’s best that you consult your doctor to help pinpoint the problem.