It is important to know that there is a difference between dryness and dehydration. Dry skin typically refers to skin experiencing unusual topical dryness, perhaps due to the weather or a new treatment. Dehydration, on the other hand, typically refers to skin showing the side effects of internal dehydration

The same skin care routine year-round may not work so well when the humidity drops. Without a change in your skin care, dry air can make fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable. Dry, itchy skin can flake, crack, and even bleed.

In this state, your skin is in a delicate condition, and it needs to be treated gently to resolve the issue. Just as there is a personally tailored skin care regimen to fit your needs, there are also specific lifestyle changes you can make to fix your dehydrated skin. They include abstaining from coffee and alcohol, both can dry out the skin, and eating a healthy diet rich in whole foods. And the most important is to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated internally is essential for beautiful skin.

To help heal dry skin and prevent its return, dermatologists recommend the following.

  1. Stop baths and showers from worsening dry skin. When the humidity drops or your skin feels dry, be sure to:
    • Close the bathroom door.Use warm rather than hot water.Limit your time in the shower or bath to 5 or 10 minutes.Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser.Apply enough cleanser to remove dirt and oil, avoid using so much that you see a thick lather.Blot your skin gently dry with a towel.Slather on the moisturizer immediately after drying your skin.
    Baths and showers can worsen dry skin. You can prevent baths and showers from worsening dry skin by following these dermatologists’ recommended tips.
  2. Apply moisturizer immediately after washing. Ointments, creams, and lotions (moisturizers) work by trapping existing moisture in your skin. To trap this much-needed moisture, you need to apply a moisturizer within few minutes of:
    • Drying off after a shower or bath
    • Washing your face or hands
  3. Use an ointment or cream rather than a lotion. Ointments and creams are more effective and less irritating than lotions. Look for a cream or ointment that contains one or more of the following ingredients:
    • Jojoba oil
    • Dimethicone
    • Glycerin
    • Hyaluronic acid
    • Lactic acid
    • Lanolin
    • Mineral oil
    • Petrolatum
    • Shea butter
    TipTo relieve dry hands, carry a non-greasy hand cream with you and apply it after each hand washing.
  4. Wear lip balm. Choose a lip balm that feels good on your lips. If your lips sting or tingle after you apply the lip balm, switch to one that does not cause this reaction.
  5. Use only gentle, fragrance-free skin care products. Some skin care products, such as deodorant soaps, are too harsh for dry, sensitive skin. Dermatologists recommend using products labeled “fragrance-free.”

    If you see the word “unscented,” the product can contain chemicals that neutralize or hide the odors of other ingredients. These chemicals can irritate dry, sensitive skin.Dry skin? Stop using skin care products that contain any of the following:
    • Alcohol (except for hand sanitizer)Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA)Fragrance, including deodorant soapsRetinoids
    Avoiding these products will help your skin retain its natural oils.If you find that frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizer dries your hands, these dermatologists’ tips can bring relief.
  6. Wear gloves. Our hands are often the first place we notice dry skin. You can reduce dry, raw skin by putting on gloves before you:
    • Go outdoors in winter.
    • Perform tasks that require you to get your hands wet.
    • Get chemicals, greases, and other substances on your hands.
  7. Choose non-irritating clothes and laundry detergent. When our skin is dry and raw even clothes and laundry detergent can be irritating. To avoid this:
    • Wear cotton or silk under your clothing made of wool or another material that feels rough.
    • Use laundry detergent labeled “hypoallergenic.”
  8. Stay warm without cozying up to a fireplace or other heat source. Sitting in front of an open flame or other heat source can dry your skin.

DO’s and DON’ts for Dehydrated and dry skin.

  1. Avoid harsh skin care products. This isn’t a time for rough exfoliating scrubs or cleansers that strip skin of moisture. Gentle products are best to help your skin look and feel hydrated and moisturized.
  2. Skip the use of exfoliating brushes or tools. While these devices are popular for  removing dead skin cells, they can also exacerbate rough, red, and dry skin.
  3. Review your skin care routine. If you’ve recently added several different kinds of potent products such as retinol, acids, and vitamin C, they could be a cause of the dehydration. Try decreasing the frequency of use or alternating products to see if that helps your skin get back to normal and make sure you are using them according to the directions on the label.
  4. Don’t wash your skin with hot water. Piping-hot water can make skin feel even more dehydrated. When washing your face, use lukewarm water instead.
  5. Use a hydrating moisturizer.  Make sure to use your moisturizer day and night for around-the-clock hydration. This step will restore your skin to look smooth and glowing again.
  6. Supplement skin with antioxidants. In skin care, antioxidants help protect skin and neutralize free radicals while giving your complexion a renewed vitality, which can counteract the signs of dehydration. 
  7. Always use sunscreen. Without diligent application of sunscreen, the damaging effects of UV rays will counteract the healing action of the peptides, anti-oxidants and other ingredients used in your skin care.

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