If you are battling bouts of dry, flaky skin, you most likely already know how frustrating it can be, especially when you don’t know what’s behind it. Here are a number of habits that dermatologists believe are responsible for your dry skin.
Taking Long, Hot Showers
We don’t blame you for wanting to turn up the temperature dial in your shower as hot as you can handle, but this seemingly harmless act of self-pampering will quickly leave you with dry skin.
Excessive exposure to water, especially hot water, can strip the skin of natural oils and disrupt the skin barrier. Instead, keep showers short—down to ten minutes or less—and temperatures no higher than 84° F, or the temperature of most heated pools.
You Wash With Harsh Soaps
You might think the average bar of soap out there is good enough to cleanse your skin, but you may be mistaken, especially if it contains harsh detergents and chemicals. Traditional bar soaps use harsh cleansing ingredients called surfactants that have an alkaline pH.
Alkaline products can disrupt the outer skin layer and prevent the skin from protecting itself properly causing dryness and irritation. A gentle, unscented soap, like Dove or Aveeno, is a much better match for the slightly acidic pH of your skin and will fully cleanse without compromising the integrity of the skin.
Exfoliating Too Often
There’s a reason why the directions on your exfoliating face scrub says to use no more than one to two times a week. While exfoliating can be extremely beneficial, especially for dry skin, over exfoliating can lead to microscopic tears that result in inflammation, redness, dryness, and peeling.
The purpose of exfoliating is to remove dead cells from the surface of the skin and enhance radiance by allowing light to reflect off the skin surface. However, when you don’t allow enough time in between exfoliations, the exfoliant removes healthy skin instead of dead skin.
Stick to using exfoliating washes once or twice a week at most and reach for brands that contain ingredients like salicylic acid or glycolic acid. These ingredients dissolve the connections between skin cells so that the cells gently exfoliate from the skin surface.
Using The Wrong Moisturizer
If your skin is usually on the drier side, you make think putting a moisturizing lotion on is the answer, but in fact, you should stay away from them, especially ones that contain fragrance. They can make your skin more irritated.
Lotions are water-based with low oil content, so they are not well-absorbed by the skin and quickly evaporates, which can dry your skin out even more. For best use of Vaseline, apply your cream or ointment directly after showering—just pat your skin dry first to make sure that the cream soaks in properly.
Not Drinking Enough Water
You’ve probably heard the 8×8 rule, which states you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day minimum. This is a good rule to follow, especially since your body’s lack of hydration affects your skin too.
Not drinking enough water can show up on your skin, causing it to become fatigued and less plump. Increase your water intake on a daily basis and see if that helps your skin to glow.