Dry skin is one of the most common skin ailments, particularly during the dry winter months. Indoor heat systems wick away the natural moisture of the skin and the harsh climate that is typical in many places during this time of year creates a recipe for disaster, at least as far as healthy, refreshed skin goes. While dry skin itself is a relatively mild condition, if left untreated, it can develop into more severe conditions, such as dermatitis or even eczema. To prevent the spread of dry skin as well as the development of more pervasive skin conditions, follow this simple protocol to nourish and rejuvenate your skin all winter long. And if this treatment doesn’t suit you, join us for a relaxing and moisturizing spa experience.
1. Regulate Water Temperature
As simple as it sounds, water or bath temperature greatly impacts the health of the skin. Water that is too hot not only irritates sensitive skin; it also strips the skin of the natural oils that protect it from harsh winter weather. Instead of using hot water, bathe in cool or tepid water and keep baths and showers as short as possible. Under 10 minutes is the standard recommendation for shower length. Some individuals even benefit from showering less frequently, such as every other day instead of every day.
2. Moisturize Appropriately
Few people understand the importance of the timing of moisturization. The optimal time to moisturize the skin is right after showering or bathing. Applying a moisturizing product right after bathing locks in the moisture left on the skin’s surface to maximize the benefits of the product and maintain the skin’s natural moisture. Research suggests that individuals should apply moisturizer within three minutes after finishing bathing.
3. Select an Appropriate Moisturizer
The type of moisturizer you use is just as important as when you apply. For severely dry skin, try using an “ointment” type moisturizer. A particularly effective option is petroleum jelly. The thickness of this type of moisturizer seals in the skin’s natural moisture and forms a protective barrier on the outermost layer of the skin. However, some people have a problem with the thickness or relatively greasiness of this type of moisturizer. If this is the case, oil- and even cream-based moisturizers also work well.
4. Treat Inflammation
Many individuals experience a slight rash or raised red bumps in conjunction with dry skin. This additional irritation is typically caused by inflammation. In most cases, simple moisturizers won’t remedy inflammation, so it is important to treat this condition individually. To relieve inflammation, apply a topical steroid cream to any areas that are affected with raised red bumps or are agitated and swollen. Most steroid creams are intended for use no more than twice a day for a short treatment period. If the inflammation does not improve within a few days, discontinue use and contact your physician.
5. Control the Humidity
This suggestion may be easier said than done. Obviously you have no control over the humidity outside, but what you can control is the level of moisture within your home. To relieve dry skin, increase the relative humidity within your home. You can achieve this level of added moisture by using a standalone humidifier in a specific room in your home (the one in which you spend the most time) or by installing a humidifier within your home’s heating system. In either case, the added moisture will prevent the excessive drying of your skin and improve this common skin ailment.
While dry skin is a relatively common ailment, it can be difficult to treat without the right products and protocol. Use these steps to relieve your dry skin and improve your skin’s health all year long.