Dry skin isn't inevitable, no matter the season or the location. Here's a harsh truth: you actually might be the cause of your own dry skin without knowing it. Some easy things you can change in your daily routine will make a big difference in regards to the health of your skin. Follow these dry skin remedies, and see how quickly your skin makes a turn-around.
Watch the Temperature of Your Bath and Shower Water
It's always nice to come in from a long day and get in a scalding hot bath. But while it may feel relaxing, it's not great for your skin. Hot water can strip both the moisture and oils out of your skin—leaving it parched, dry and scaly.
As hard as it may be, use warm water instead of hot water when you shower or take a bath, and limit your bath to 15 minutes at the most. Similarly, when you shower, the less time under the water the better. You shouldn't have to wipe the steam off the mirror when you step out, and your bathroom shouldn't feel like a sauna. You'll notice that your skin is less dry if you play it safe and limit the time spent in the shower and also change the temperature of the water you use. You can even moisturize your skin right in the shower with a product like Le Labo's Shower Oil ($32).
On a related note: that hot water might make your hair frizzy and dry, and will likely cause colored hair to fade quicker. It's best to rinse your hair in cool water.
Skip the Bubbles
Who doesn't love a bubble bath? It's something that most of us grew up with, and plenty of us love bubble baths even as adults. A few caps full of bubbles is almost a ritual for some come bathtime. But you should probably know that many of the bubbles you put in your bath may strip your skin of the oils it needs.
Instead of using a bubble bath, find a soothing oatmeal or milk powder that will enhance your bath experience, and forget the bubbles.
Try a bath oil. A cap full of oil, when added to your bathwater, will leave your skin even more hydrated than before you hopped in, so you may even be able to skip the moisturizer afterward.
Correct Your Shaving Mistakes
Whenever you learned to shave, you were probably told to shave in the direction of your hair growth for safe shaving. And while that's a nice thought, realistically, most people shave in the opposite direction of hair growth because it gives them the closest shave. However, if you find that shaving is getting irritating, actually do go with your hair growth. If you just can't seem to get yourself to follow that rule, make sure you're following these shaving tips:
- Use a moisturizing shaving gel or cream. The $1 bottle at the drug store is likely to leave your skin dry and more susceptible to nicks and bumps.
- Look for a product that offers moisturizing ingredients you recognize, like aloe and essential oils.
- Skip the products that have alcohol listed in their top few ingredients, because they'll likely dry your skin out more.
Run out of shaving cream? You can always use hair conditioner in a pinch for a close, nick-free shave, but don't make it a habit.
Pat Dry, Don't Rub Dry
When you get out of the shower or bath and grab your towel, gently pat the water off your skin instead of rubbing your skin dry. This will save your skin the misery of the "towel abuse" most men (and some women) habitually inflict on their skin.
By patting your skin dry (or very gently rubbing), your skin will be able to retain more of the moisture you're going to seal in with our next step: body moisturizer.
Never Ever Skip the Moisturizer
The most important step to remember is to moisturize every single time you get out of the shower or bath. Yes, every time. It's kind of exhausting, but it also isn't something you want to skip. Find a favorite lotion, body butter, or body oil and keep it in your bathroom within arm's reach. We, in particular, like these products:
- Grown Alchemist, Body Cream, $67
- Tata Harper, Revitalizing Anti-Agin Body Oil, $115
- L'Occitane, Almond Smoothing and Beautifying Milk Concentrate, $54
When you skin has been dried off, it's important to seal in the moisture from the shower, and the quicker you do this after your shower, the better your skin may look and feel. Plus, if your moisturizer of choice is a body oil, it's actually best to apply it to damp skin. Just make sure you're careful, since spilled oil will make your tub or floor very slippery. And don't fall into the easy trap of being lazy and waiting more than 10 minutes after you get out of the shower or bath to moisturize your skin. The sooner you get that hydrating product on, the better.
Cleveland Clinic. How often do you really need to take a shower? Updated April 27, 2020.