Caring for Dry Skin

Published in: Beauty Tips, Skin Care

Caring for Dry Skin

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. That’s how my skin feels in winter, when the humidity is low. No matter how much it may be raining outside, in here my skin’s dry, cracked and sore.

Some girls get it worse than others, having a genetic predisposition to dry skin. I’m not sure if I fall into that category, but it feels bad enough to me (and they say it gets worse with age, yea!).

My real problem zones are my knees and elbows, but it can also hit my shins, hands and the side of my tummy. What do I do about it?

Caring for dry skin

  1. When it’s bad, spending less time in the bath seems to help. I’ll take quickie baths or showers (5 to 10 minutes), using lukewarm water instead of hot. I’ll also try to limit myself to just one shower or bath per day until it clears up and will only use soap where I really need it. I may also add a few teaspoons of olive oil or lavender-scented oils to the bath.
  2. Apply moisturizer while the skin’s still damp, like right after towel drying (patting with the towel instead of rubbing, which can whisk away essential oils) from a shower or washing hands. It may take trial and error to find moisturizers that work well for you.


    Most moisturizers contain barrier ingredients to trap water on the skin and binder ingredients to bring moisture up from the inner layer of skin to the top. Ingredients like glycerin, alpha hydroxy acids, urea and lactic acids (binders), combined with petrolatum, lanolin or silicone derivatives (barriers) work well for me.
  3. Using heavier creams or ointments in winter and lighter lotions in the spring, summer and fall.
  4. You’ve heard these a zillion times before, but drinking water sure seems to help. I know that when I drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and limit my time in the sun, my skin thanks me for it.
  5. Just like limiting time in the shower, when my skin’s drier than usual, I’ll wash my face no more than twice a day, using a gentle cleanser formulated for dry skin.
  6. Consider getting a humidifier at home, or ask the boss to swing for one at work. Indoor heaters suck the moisture from everything around them, including skin. A humidifier pumps moisture back into the air, quenching the heater’s thirst! :)

Is your skin dry, dehydrated or both?

Is it dermatitis?

Dry skin that isn’t treated early can turn into dermatitis, a more severe inflammation of the skin. With typical dry skin, there may be some dry flakes and minor itching, but if skin becomes red and inflamed, it could mean dermatitis, aka time to see a doctor.

Types of dermatitis

  1. Allergic contact dermatitis strikes when skin comes into contact with something like poison oak or poison ivy that causes an immune reaction.
  2. Athlete’s foot, a fungal infection, appears as dry flaking on the soles of the feet.
  3. Atopic dermatitis is also known as eczema. This bad boy can last years and often runs in the family. It’s like regular dry skin but taken to the extreme. If your dry skin seems worse than average, you could have eczema, and it may be time to schedule a doctor’s appointment.
  4. Seborrheic dermatitis involves a red, scaly, itchy rash. It can pop up anywhere but seems to hit worse wherever there are lots of oil glands, like the scalp, the eyebrows and the sides of the nose.
  5. Source: WebMD

Beat dry skin with a little help from your friends

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen

28 Comments

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So far, 28 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Marisol says:

    That looks painful! My skin didn’t used to get & feel so dry but as I have gotten older I need to moisturize more often. Right now my poor nose is read & flaky from all the achooing I have been doing.

    Marisol´s last blog post..Ramblings

  2. susan says:

    That video was super helpful in that I thought I suddenly had dry skin and was actually thinking of switching to a dry skin regimen. Turns out it’s just dehydrated. More water for me!

  3. Jen says:

    Yesterday I suffered a case of dehydrated skin! My poor hands were suffering the tissue feeling (per the video) after a good washing. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring lotion with me on my errands which made my poor hands suffer longer LOL. Oooh, and I enjoyed He’s just not that into you! One of the better girly movies I’ve seen in a while. A bit of “mild” Sex and the City meets when Harry Meets Sally, perhaps? Have a good day!

  4. qudz104 says:

    i have excema, and its the worst!!! its to the point that i need hydrocortisone creams, but thankfully, constant moisturizing with heavy duty stuff like eucerin has really helped my case. and i know the cardinal rule for avoiding it is short lukewarm showers, but i wish long hot showers didnt feel so great!! lol. hope u have a great weekend.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Qudz104,

      I hear that! Hot showers are so great at the end of the day… it’s hard to give those up for “lukewarm.”

      My weekend was pretty good, even though it was raining! I want spring to hurry up and get here. How was yours?

  5. Kate says:

    Ah, #1 is a dear friend of mine. It’s also known as HIVES. I hate it. I’m applying calamine or cortisone cream. For foods and medicine, you need an Epi-Pen as that can be fatal.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kate,

      Ugh, I hate hives too. I get them on my face… bit, red, scary looking ones. I mostly get them from eating certain foods, though. Do you end up carrying your allergy medicine with you? I’m never without mine!

  6. cloudburst says:

    I find that if I take Omega 3-6-9 or salmon oil supplements my skin is less dry. I live in a climate with extremely low humidity & I find I need to eat enough healthy oils to keep my skin from looking like the desert.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cloudburst,

      Those supplements are great. When I was taking them consistently a few years ago I noticed my hair looked silkier and thicker. I dunno why I quit taking them. I will probably start up again to see if it makes a difference in my skin dryness. I hope it does.

  7. Stephie says:

    Thanks for this post, I really like how you are able to condense important information like this for us :) That picture in the beginning is pretty crazy too. Too bad I can’t take a short lukewarm shower to save my life. HA. But my skin ain’t so bad. Btw, I picked up Healthy Hoof about a month ago and I really like it. It really moisturizes my nails/cuticles/fingertips. Did you ever get around to trying it?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Stephie,

      Oh gosh, it’s hard to give up those long, hot showers!

      LOL, I actually really liked Healthy Hoof — especially the texture. That horse on the jar is just too much, though. I kinda wish I had a horse to test it on…

  8. Kate says:

    Karen–

    Actually, I don’t carry my allergy medication as it’s a once-a-day tablet (I take singulair) and I don’t need an epi-pen since what I’m allergic that would require it are so easily avoided.

    Hives for me come under four conditions–sudden changes in temperature, plants that directly touch me that I’m allergic to (crabgrass and hay are the big ones), taking penicillin and fragranced lotions. Three of the four are very easily avoided and one I have mountains of lotion and cortisone to cure. I have unscented, dermatologist recommended (Neutrogena and Aveeno mainly) lotion everywhere.

    The one time I had a swelling allergic reaction was with Retin-A/Retin-A Micro and it was so bad the dermatology board certified dermatologist I saw said it was one of the worst reactions to a skin medicine he had ever seen in his entire career. He gave me some killer acne pills that cleared my acne and blackheads up for years on top of curing my reaction! Too bad I can’t take that stuff everyday as it’s for severe acne and destroys the GI tract if taken too long.

    My allergies are mainly the run-of-the-mill seasonal runny stuffy nose and sore throat. No allergies to food despite the fact I’m an incredibly picky eater and very little allergies to medication. Any allergic reaction to cosmetics or lotions is very easy for me to thwart as washing it off, applying cortisone and taking Benedryl will works 99% of the time. The one percent that doesn’t work my doctor prescribes a very good anti-inflammatory gel that takes care of it usually in less than a day.

    If I weren’t so allergic to the dissection preservative fluid and disgusted by the ickiness of dissection, skin conditions, blood, guts and gore (funny considering I love watching House and Grey’s Anatomy), I’d make a killer dermatologist. The medical profession in general is just too icky for me.

  9. Rose says:

    a humidifier has saved my skin (and sinuses)

    the air in my new house seems so dry, so me and SO bought humidifier. We turn it on at bed time (its in our room).

    Before it, my eyes,nose,and throat would be SO dyr in the mornings. Now they arent. I love that little machine.

    Rose´s last blog post..Giveaway!

  10. DoDe says:

    Those tips are really helpful. Thanks Karen!I like the one on applying moisturizer while your face is damp. I have been doing that and its awesome. I know this might not be the coolest brand but Avon’s nutura repleneshing cream is my absolute favorite. I have tried clinique and others but keep going back to this. Right now its on sale on avon.com

  11. cloudburst says:

    Hi Karen

    I really like Udo’s Oil for that – it’s kind of expensive but it really does make a difference in my skin – apparently its good for muscle recovery too! Well now I have to go buy another bottle.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cloudburst,

      Thanks for the tip. I hope I can find it here at the health store. I plan on lifting weights again so I’ll need something good for muscle recovery, and that’s an added bonus!

  12. Kelly says:

    I use Freeman lotion for my dry skin. It sure helps. I love their products.I think they are underated.

  13. suzq says:

    As I got older I too found that my skin got dryer. We use a humidifier too especially with wood floors. My best secret is shea butter for the body and night cream for the face, both from E Burnham Company. Check out their website. I love their products.

  14. Britney says:

    Karen-
    I so need to find a good skin treatment. Being here in Las Vegas definately takes a toll on my skin and the dryness never seems to go away. Hawaii would be so nice aand great for my skin… I have tried so many products and they just feel greasy or heavy on my face, not to mention clogging my pores. I def need to give something new a try.

  15. fitness girl says:

    I also experience and noticed my skin is drying,i feel ashamed showing my skin so i only wear pants to hide my dry skin.I usually put lotion to lessen the dryness.

  16. Annie says:

    Thanks for the great tips! I get dry skin a lot too and just hate the way it feels! I started using a goat’s milk soap and it has really helped. Fraiche Soap has an Oatmeal Goat’s milk soap that is super hydrating and is good for exfoliation too. http://www.myfraiche.com Has anyone tried Bio oil?
    I hear that is good for dry skin too

  17. Sania says:

    Very useful tips for getting rid of dry skin.

    I also want to submit one dry skin care tip:

    1 tsp of milk cream with2-3 drops of lime juice mixed well. This should be applied 10 minutes before a bath. It reduces the dryness and also is good when applied in Winter.

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