When left untreated, dry skin can be more than just an inconvenience – it can also be highly irritating and uncomfortable. Your skin can dehydrate due to the strong winter winds, dry indoor heat, low humidity levels, and cold air.
When your face, hands, feet, and other exposed skin regions are dry, they may look much less luminous than usual.
It helps to know how to prevent dry skin conditions because as they say, “prevention is the best medicine.” That couldn’t be more accurate than when dealing with itchy, rough, flaky, or bumpy skin.
How to Prevent Dry Skin
Dry skin—also known as xeroderma or xerosis—can be painful, uncomfortable, and irritating. In addition, it can cause skin problems like eczema, which causes scaly, bumpy, and itchy skin patches.
However, there are various ways to keep your skin hydrated and stop it from drying out, even if it might be challenging to pinpoint the reason for dry skin.
It takes more than what you apply to soothe dry skin. The cleanliness of your skin, the air around you, and even water exposure all play an essential role. In addition, you can try the tips below to help prevent dry skin:
1. Don’t stay too long in the shower.
Dry skin occurs when your skin is unable to retain moisture. Bathing or staying too long in the shower can strip away a significant portion of your skin’s oily layer. Limiting your water exposure to 10 minutes or less is recommended to prevent overwashing, which can rid your skin of natural oils.
A long hot shower may sound and feel great, especially when the weather is cold. But on the contrary, extended exposure to warm water can cause dry skin. Stick to brief, lukewarm showers, and you’ll soon discover that some of those flakes were likely the result of your hot shower without you knowing it.
2. Invest in a humidifier.
Dry air can cause your skin to get dry too. That’s why dermatologists advise installing a humidifier in the room where you spend the most time. This helps to increase the amount of moisture in the air. A cold air humidifier raises the air’s water content, helping to maintain the skin barrier’s hydration.
To prevent the air from drying excessively, ensure the heat is kept low or at a moderate temperature. You can set the humidifier at around 30 – 60% to restore indoor moisture. This helps to keep your skin’s top layer hydrated.
If you want to track your home’s humidity levels, you can purchase a low-cost humidity meter called a hygrometer.
3. Avoid using products with drying ingredients.
Some skincare ingredients can cause or amplify skin dryness, so it’s best to make yourself aware of products containing them so you can steer away when building your skincare routine.
For instance, retinoids and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) can cause skin reactions when applied to a dry face or skin.
After a shower, wash with a cleanser. An excellent alternative is a gentle soap that does not contain fragrances. Also, products with antibacterial or deodorizing ingredients can be abrasive on the skin. Consider switching to a cleanser with ceramides, synthetic versions of the naturally occurring fatty molecules that make up your skin’s outer barrier. They can aid the skin in retaining moisture.
In addition, avoid using astringents and toners containing alcohol because they can dry up the skin. Be careful not to scrub your skin too hard when exfoliating, as it might make your skin itchy and thicker.
4. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
You may already be aware of how important it is to moisturize the skin, but surely, you still may fail to do so at times. Moisturizing can go a long way in preventing dry skin, especially if you do it right.
Lotions, creams, and ointments are the three basic moisturizer types that you can use to help lock in the moisture present in your skin. Applying a moisturizer as soon as possible after drying off from a shower or bath and washing your hands or face can help you retain this vital hydration.
Apply a thick moisturizer to your body at least once daily, particularly to your arms, legs, and abdomen.
For the face, look for lighter skincare products that contain glycerin and hyaluronic acid to still allow your skin to breathe.
The Bottom Line
Dry skin can be a real buzzkill, causing everything from itchy, flaky skin to severe heat rash and sunburn. Luckily, you don’t need to suffer from it because you can always think of ways to prevent dry skin. You can start by taking note of the tips above.