By Dr. Shasa Hu, MD, FAAD
What causes dry skin?
Dry skin affects a lot of us, especially when the weather is cooler and drier. Dehydrated skin appears to be ashy, flaky and often feels rough. On the cellular level, dry skin is caused by a combination of inadequate lipids or water-retaining molecules in our skin. This skin problem can be hereditary, environmental, or a result of a poor skincare routine. A lot of us, especially those with sensitive skin, will experience dry skin with climate changes, over-washing with harsh soaps, long showers / baths, or wearing synthetic fabrics.
How to avoid dry skin?
- A Gentle skin cleansing routine is essential. Avoid rigorous scrubbing when you wash your skin. If your skin feels tight or looks red after washing, then you will need to step down to a gentler soap or shorten your shower time. Also avoid washing with hot water because it strips away oil from your skin. Try dr. brandt’s clean biotic pH balanced prebiotic cleanser that easily removes makeup, dirt and impurities but never strips your skin.
- In the summer, don’t over exfoliate or skip your moisturizer if your skin feels tight.
- Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acids, ceramides, squalene, lipids and dimethicone. One of our favorites is dr. brandt’s hyaluronic facial cream.
- Avoid products that have fragrance, contain alcohol and ones that have formaldehyde releasing agents.
- If you have dry skin already, then choose natural fiber clothing (cotton, linen) and machine washable material over synthetic fibers or dry cleaned cloths.
How to get rid of dry skin?
The main principle of getting rid of this skin condition is to minimize behaviors or exposures that strip away natural sebum and at the same time, have a consistent routine of adding hydration and emollients to protect your skin barrier. A daily moisturizer is best applied immediately after the shower, when your skin is barely towel dried. In fact, when moisturizer is applied to damp skin, there is greater absorption of humectants. It is very important to read the label when you pick your moisturizer. Look for products that are fragrance free, formulated for sensitive skin, and contain at least 2-3 of known hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, squalene, ceramide, glycerin, lipids, natural oils and sealants such as shea butter, moringa oil, dimethicone, petrolatum and allantoin. The sealants are usually oil based such that form a protective layer to further minimize water loss through your skin. Lastly thicker moisturizers are better for drier skin. Lotion may be suitable for everyday use, while creams and ointments are better for very dry patches. For stubborn dry areas, seal in the moisturizer with an additional layer of Vaseline or Aquaphor, followed by cotton pajamas at night. Lastly be patient when you first start repairing dry skin, it will take at least 2 weeks to notice visible changes in your skin appearance and feel.
Fight against dry skin around eyes
The skin around our eyes are thinner, have fewer sebaceous glands, therefore, is a lot more prone to dryness or irritation. Therefore, for dry patches around eyes, ingredients in your eye cream need to be even more “purer”, as in containing the least amount of added fragrances, preservatives or surfactants as possible. Look for “fragrance free,” “ophthalmologist tested” on the label of eye creams when you have dry skin around your eyes. When you do get persistent dry patches around eyes, first try to eliminate makeup wipes or harsh cleansers, and apply a fragrance-free eye cream twice a day to restore skin barrier. The Triple Peptide Eye Cream is a fragrance free nourishing treatment cream that contains the aforementioned essential ingredients that restore and hydrate the skin: lipids, ceramides and shea butter. It also contains triple peptide complex for more intense hydration and softening of fine lines. If dry patches persist or get worse, be sure to see your dermatologist.
Try a recovery sleeping mask
At nighttime, our pores are more open, and we lose more heat and water (transepidermal water loss). This is why active ingredients in our skin care products can penetrate deeper at night, and also why a nighttime routine, and adding a night cream, can be very effective to restore skin balance. The Hydro Biotic Recovery Sleeping Mask is an overnight leave-on gel moisturizer. It hydrates the skin with a rich combination of glycerin, ceramides and fatty acids. The unique combination of probiotics and oligosaccharide helps to restore normal skin pH and repair damages from daytime exposure to harsh ambient air. Lastly manuka honey and tea extracts help to calm down redness, so that you wake up with refreshed and hydrated skin especially when our skin has been exposed to cold and dry air during the day.
The moisturizing neck cream
The delicate skin of our neck is another area that needs TLC. Similar to the eyelid skin, it has fewer number of oil glands compared to the other parts of body, making it more susceptible to dry air, colder climates or harsh effects of cleansers. Additionally, the frictional rubbing of our clothing around our neck make the it easily irritated. Dry skin of the neck only speeds up the signs of aging our neck and décolletage. A neck firming cream with hydrators should be an essential part of your skincare routine to extend your youth. It’s best to extend your face lotion and cream down to your neck to prevent dry patches from setting in. To step up your routine, incorporate a firming and moisturizing cream designed specifically for the neck. The Do Not Age Firming Neck Cream is fragrance free, packed with good lipids, essential oils, shea butter, squalene and glycerin to add hydration to the skin. The glycolic acid from sugar cane provides gentle exfoliation to renew the skin without irritation. Another tip to minimize irritated or dry neck skin is to apply perfume on your inner wrists or behind the ears instead of your neck.
The perfect all in one cream
We all wish for a miracle cream that will fix everything from dry skin to dull complexion and that also reverses aging. Truthfully, there is no one product that does it all. For people with very dry skinand concerns of aging, a facial cream such as the Time Defying Cream is an intense hydrating treatment that restores and protects from dry skin with glycerin, shea butter, triglycerides (lipids) and natural oils. The Juvenessense complex and Sorghum juice helps to decrease the appearance of fine lines and give skin smoother texture.
Dry skin is something that can affect every skin type even if you normally have oily or combination skin. Be proactive in your skincare routine as soon as the weather changes to cooler and drier seasons. Reading the label is essential in picking the right cream for your needs. Eliminate harsh soaps/ cleansers, fragrance or excessive exfoliation when you experience a dry or dull complexion. To treat dry skin, it is best to choose products that are specifically formulated for face, eyes, neck and body as our skin varies in thickness, sensitivity and needs by body area. Lastly be patient and consistent when you treat dry skin, it takes at least 2-4 weeks to see and feel the difference in your skin’s hydration level, smoothness and glow. If you have persistent dry patches, or experience itching and redness, be sure to seek professional evaluation by your dermatologist.