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Four Dry Skin Culprits


It is best to apply moisturizer to your skin when it is still damp after a shower.

Dry skin is extremely common, especially during winter. Not only is it itchy and even painful in extreme cases, but it leaves your skin looking dull and aged. Instead of just enduring the winter itch, it’s time to start looking at what could be causing your dry skin in order to correct it.


Dry Skin Culprit #1: Dry air

Dry air is probably the most common cause of dry skin. Winter usually brings the most dry air, which literally draws the moisture out of your skin. And when the temperatures drop, we spike up the central heating, which blows warm, dry air that also further dries out the skin. Protect your skin and combat dry air by using a moisturizer and a humidifier. Also, wear plenty of clothing outdoors that prevents the dry air from hitting your skin.


Dry Skin Culprit #2: Misusing Moisturizer

Using a moisturizer is a great way to keep dryness away; and using them properly is just as important. Instead of applying lotion on dry skin, when it’s least likely to help, apply the moisturizer when your skin is damp immediately following a shower or hand washing. The role of a lotion is to trap in existing moisture, so gently towel off and apply a generous amount. Let your skin absorb the moisturizer. In extreme cases of dry skin, a mild, alcohol-free moisturizer works best. Often a simple budget moisturizer can do a good job.


Dry Skin Culprit #3: Long, hot showers and baths

Have you ever finished showering and felt clean and…tight? Your skin feels tight if it’s dried out, and lengthy time spent in a hot shower can wash the natural skin-protecting oils away. As uncomfortable as it may sound, take shorter showers using lukewarm water with a showerhead that points away from you while you lather. Baths should be a rarity. Once you’re finished with the shower, gently dry your skin with a towel, followed by moisturizer.


Dry Skin Culprit #4: Soap

Our culture is obsessed with being clean, and as a result, we use too much soap too often. For the average person who has a desk job or anything that doesn’t get him or her very dirty throughout the day, only soaping the face, hands, feet, groin and underarms is needed. The rest of the body can usually just be rinsed off with water. Not only that, but excessive hand washing can dry out the skin and cause it to crack and bleed, which often makes us more susceptible to infection than if we’d just not washed our hands.

When selecting the right soap, stay away from perfumed deodorant or antibacterial soaps. The more the soap lathers, the more likely it is to dry your skin out. The lathering from soap removes the oils from the surface of the skin and dries it out. While you may feel super clean, your skin is really just super dry. Opt for milder, fragrance-free soaps. For many people with dry skin, the best choice is a mild skin cleanser rather than soap.

If you have dry skin, think about how you’re caring for it. Talk with your dermatologist at the Georgia Dermatology Center about ways to keep your skin’s natural oils and defense system intact.

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