Why treat dry skin? Healthy, hydrated skin will prevent skin damage and infections.
Cuts and scratches heal faster, with fewer blemishes, and even a reduction in severity or flare-ups of other skin conditions like acne and eczema are benefits of strong and supple skin.
Dry skin does worsen with time. Starting off with periodic dryness, then itchy skin, and eventually cracked skin.
The severity of your dry skin determines how to start treatment. But prevention is key, and determining the causes of your dry skin is a start. How many of these apply to you?
- Age-related dryness, our skin secretes less sebum to protect skin from dehydration in our 40’s and continues to decline – the majority can have dry skin issues in our 60’s
- Low humidity, especially in winter
- Wind exposure (dry, hot air from fireplace or warming vents)
- Sun exposure
- Hot water bath or shower
- Frequent washing (removes sebum which protects skin from drying)
- Perfumes, detergents, chemicals in skin products
- Chronic health conditions that affect the skin
- Medications that increase skin dryness
Prevention includes wearing protective clothing or gloves to prevent drying and damage to the skin. Reducing or removing direct airflow from heat sources.
Wearing sunscreen and applying it at least 30 minutes prior to going outdoors. Take tepid showers or baths, and immediately apply lotion or cream after lightly patting your skin dry. Applying a lotion or cream to your hands and face after each wash.
Did you know that applying a lotion or cream after washing will trap moisture in your skin, just as sebum does? For severe dry skin, or skin that needs protection from the frequent wash, applying an ointment can be more effective.
What if your skin is cracked or broken? Urea containing creams and lotions will hasten skin restoration. Getting down to good skin may take time. Ask your pharmacist which products you should start with, and what can be used for the prevention of dry skin once you get your skin back to health. You will be surprised how easy it is to keep your skin healthy with a bit of preventative maintenance.
If you have diabetes, chronic skin conditions, or sensitive skin, seek advice from your pharmacist. Skin care maintenance products do not need to be costly but need to be applied regularly.