Tips on how to soothe dry skin

Image: Corbis

We have all suffered from extreme skin dryness at some point, but a few unlucky individuals have to put up with dry and itchy skin every month of the year.

In Pretoria, for instance, a lot of people put up with irritated skin due to dry and polluted air, whereas people who live near the coast do not have that problem due to high humidity.

If you live in an area where dry air gets the better of your skin, consider these tips to assist the situation.

– Do not use scalding hot water

Who knew that extremely hot water is not good for dry skin?

“A steamy hot shower feels good, especially in the early morning, but it actually irritates dry skin,” says Andrea Lynn, a dermatologist.

The problem is hot showers strip your body of its natural oil barrier, and you need that barrier to help trap moisture and keep your skin smooth and moist.

If possible, take short, lukewarm showers that last no longer than 10 minutes and moisturise your body afterwards.

– Gently cleanse your skin

If you have dry and irritable skin, wash your face with a soapless cleanser when showering. Products with deodorant or antibacterial additives can be harsh on skin.

Go easy on toners, peels, and other astringents made with alcohol, which is drying. When you exfoliate, do not scrub too much or too hard, it can irritate and thicken skin.

– Be careful when shaving

Shaving can irritate dry skin. As you shave unwanted hair, you are also scraping off natural oils, which are essential to keep your skin hydrated and smooth.

The best time to shave is after you shower. Hairs are softer and more pliable after bathing, making shaving easier. Also try to always use shaving cream or gel, and shave in the direction the hair is growing to protect your skin.

– Protect your skin

Protecting your skin from the sun is important, whether you have dry skin or not.

Sun damage is one of the main causes behind dry skin, wrinkles, and roughness. You can prevent the sun from increasing the dryness of your skin by wearing sunscreen every day.

– Use a humidifier in winter

Cold, dry air is a common cause of dry, irritated skin. Heating your house keeps you warm, but it also removes moisture from the air, which can make dry skin even more parched.

To replenish that missing moisture quickly and easily, use a humidifier in your bedroom.

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