The Science Behind Skin Maintenance
By Dr Rosemarie Ingleton, MD
Maintaining healthy skin is just like embracing other beneficial habits for overall health. One of the most common skin conditions my patients struggle with is dry skin. It affects people of all ages, and it can be pretty uncomfortable. For me, eliminating dry skin includes identifying the cause and then recommending a regimen based on my patients’ individual skincare needs.
Everyone’s skin is unique and that is why it is so important that I listen to my patients and give them customized skincare solutions based on their needs. Giving people the means to feel happy and comfortable in their skin is my ultimate goal.
Dry Skin Symptoms
Dry skin is widespread, and typical signs include flaking, scaling, itching and rough patches. Sometimes you can see white marks if you “write” on your skin with a fingernail. Dry skin can also feel itchy without the presence of a rash. These dry skin characteristics or signs can occur anywhere on the body, including your hands, arms, legs, feet and face. The sensitivity can range from mild — such as general itchiness and light flaking — to more severe issues like eczema and psoriasis. The longer you ignore your skin issues, the greater your level of discomfort can become.
Causes of Dry Skin
Now that you know how to identify dry skin, here are some of the most common causes.
Contrary to what some people believe, both hot and cold weather can contribute to dry skin. Additionally, many people don’t realize that the environment and activities that they participate in throughout the year can also have a direct effect on the skin.
In the summer months, activities like swimming in chlorinated pools and exposure to excessive sunlight can lead to dehydrated skin, especially without using the right product for dry skin relief. Throughout the winter people tend to turn up their heaters, which then dries out the air and the skin. Outdoor activities like snowboarding, skiing, or simply exposure to harsh bitter wind, can also dry out the skin.
Low humidity environments also dry the skin. Airplane cabins maintain a very low humidity that can noticeably dry skin during a flight.
Alcohol and caffeinated drinks like soda and coffee tend to have a diuretic effect on the skin. I tell my patients that they can enjoy these beverages as long as they stay hydrated by drinking water and incorporate a daily moisturizing routine to combat dry skin.
Exposure to harsh soaps, hot showers, excessive washing and contact with harsh chemicals or ingredients can also contribute to dry skin. All of these factors can emphasize the appearance of wrinkles, cracks, fine lines and can be irritating to skin.
Lastly, mature, aging skin produces less natural oils. As a result your skin may require additional moisturizers as you age. I advise my patients is to incorporate a high quality moisturizer for daily use into their lifestyle so that they can help prevent dry skin and maintain their skin’s health at any age.
To pinpoint the exact causes of your dry skin, consult your dermatologist.
Skincare Mistakes That Worsen Dry Skin
Often times, people don’t realize that dry skin can start in the shower if you aren’t using the right products. I find that most of the time people are using harsh cleansers or soaps, which tend to strip the skin of natural oils.
During the summer months especially, people like to exfoliate more often with soft scrubs. While these scrubs might make your skin feel smoother, they may leave your skin dehydrated. When you exfoliate, you not only remove dead skin cells, but also the natural oils found in your skin. It is important to use the right moisturizer after exfoliating to help replenish your skin and keep it hydrated.
Your post-shower habits are important too. I tell my patients that they should always apply a moisturizer to damp skin after cleansing for more effective moisturization. Choose a rich moisturizer with long-lasting benefits so you don’t have to apply repeatedly during the day.
How to Repair Dry Skin
Combatting and repairing dry skin requires a daily skincare routine that provides intensive hydration and helps to replenish the natural moisture barrier. Protecting the skin’s natural barrier is essential to preventing dry skin from recurring and maintaining hydrated, healthy looking skin. It’s as easy as choosing the right product. I recommend Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion. Formulated with a unique combination of ceramides and natural moisturizing factors (NMFs), it intensively moisturizes and helps strengthen the skin’s barrier to prevent moisture loss. It gives back to your skin the NMFs that it naturally produces to help maintain an optimal moisture balance for healthy looking skin. Because it’s lightweight and non-greasy, it’s comfortable to wear, and Eucerin Advanced Repair is clinically proven to deliver moisture that lasts 48 hours.