Monthly Archives: September 2016

Dry Skin Product

Daily exposure to the elements — sun, wind, rain, heat, and cold — takes a toll on skin. And if you have naturally dry skin, your complexion is even more vulnerable to damage.

That’s why a consistent beauty routine with effective skin products that protect, clean, and moisturize your skin is essential. Every dry skin care product that you use — your cleanser and moisturizer in particular — should add moisture to your skin and help keep it hydrated.

Sandra Marchese Johnson, MD, a dermatologist with Johnson Dermatology in Fort Smith, Ark., and Jeffrey Benabio, MD, a dermatologist with Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in San Diego, Calif., offer their suggestions to help you find the right products to care for your dry skin.

Choosing a Dry Skin Moisturizer

A rich moisturizer is your go-to skin product to help soften and protect dry skin. Here are some effective options:

  • Vanicream. “My absolute favorite is Vanicream because it is very effective,” Dr. Johnson says. This moisturizing skin cream provides hydration without aggravating your skin. Find it at your local drugstore or online for under $15.
  • Cetaphil. A great all-over moisturizer that comes in lotion and cream formulas, Cetaphil is gentle and fragrance-free and offers rich moisture for dry skin. You can purchase it for between $8 and $15.
  • CeraVe. Available in a thick, rich moisturizing cream or a moisturizing lotion to help add and trap moisture in the skin, CeraVe is sold at most drugstores for $10 to $20, depending on the size of the jar or bottle.
  • Aveeno moisturizers with soy. Soy helps fight the effects of aging, makes skin look smoother, and is a great moisturizer. Johnson recommends any of the Aveeno brand’s moisturizers that contain soy to hydrate dry skin every day.
  • Neutrogena Norwegian Formula. This line of moisturizers and creams contains glycerin, a naturally hydrating substance that helps skin retain moisture. A tube or bottle retails for around $10.
  • AmLactin. This moisturizer contains 12 percent lactic acid, according to Johnson, and is great for dry skin. Pick it up over-the-counter for around $20 a bottle. Lac-Hydrin is a prescription moisturizer available through your dermatologist that is also 12 percent lactic acid. “They are both great passive exfoliators to help remove excess dry skin,” she explains.

Find Shower Gel or Bar Soap

Standing in the skin and beauty aisle at the drugstore store can seem overwhelming. Bar soaps, body washes, and shower gels all compete for your attention and your dollars. How can you find the best soap for your skin?

What you buy is largely a matter of which type of product you like best — with a few exceptions, says Jami Miller, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the department of dermatology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Dr. Miller cautions against falling for the advertising that surrounds body washes, bar soaps, and shower gels. Most of the messages in these ads are misleading. Instead, you should consider your skin type, specifically whether your skin tends to be sensitive and dry, or oily. Your bathing habits may actually be more important than the product that you choose: it’s best to use warm instead of hot water when taking a bath and to moisturize immediately after toweling off.

Related: Try These 10 Foods to Enhance Your Skin and Hair

Whether you choose a bar or a bottle, many body cleansers may all have the same effect. These products remove dirt, bacteria, and — unfortunately — some or all of your natural body oils.

“Most soaps and body washes remove the oils that keep skin soft and naturally moisturized. Removing that oil makes your skin dryer,” says Miller. One solution is to look for products that state that they are moisturizing. “Many body washes leave a layer of moisturizer on the skin that helps to replenish the oils removed.”

In a Lather Over Lather

Despite what many bath product commercials may suggest, you do not need a lot of foam to get clean. In fact, avoiding lather might be your best bet, especially if you are worried about dry skin.

“The non-soap cleansers that also do not foam tend to leave more of your natural oils behind and thus are less drying,” explains Miller. “Most people can avoid over-drying their skin by selecting a soap for sensitive skin such as Dove, Aveeno, Cetaphil, or CeraVe, and applying a body lotion to still-damp skin after bathing. This seals the moisture back into your skin and replenishes the oils you removed.”

A Conversation About Film

Miller explains the term “film” can have several different meanings, but we usually think of it as a thin layer of oil deposited by bar soap or body wash. It forms a barrier to seal in moisture and, as long as this doesn’t lead to a breakout or make you feel greasy, it’s perfectly fine. Both soap and body wash can leave a film, she says, adding to beware of soaps that leave no film. Soaps that strip off all your oil, making you feel squeaky clean but leaving no moisture barrier, are harsher than those that leave a film.

Related: Are You Using the Right Moisturizer?

If a film bothers you, Miller suggests trying newer formulations of soap, shower gel, body wash, and moisturizers. These “more closely approximate the skin’s natural lipids and still leave moisture in the skin, but feel less greasy, so you do not feel a film left behind,” she says.

The Facts About Bar Soap

Many people believe that a simple bar soap is the best body cleanser. However, bar soaps may be unpleasantly drying, says Miller. The most important step you can take is to check the ingredients for lye.

“Deodorant soaps and lye soaps tend to strip the skin’s oils and do not replace them. If your skin is really oily, then that is not a problem,” says Miller. “If you use these relatively harsh soaps and your skin becomes dry, you will need to moisturize afterwards.”

If you like using a bar soap, it’s better to choose a beauty bar, which tends to be more moisturizing that regular bar soaps.

How to Take Care for Winter Dry Skin

A scratchy wool sweater may make your skin itchy and sensitive during the cold months, but winter weather itself poses a special threat to your skin. There’s little humidity in the air and revving up the heat indoors makes it even worse. The result: Dry skin in need of moisture, says Francesca Fusco, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and a spokeswoman for the Skin Cancer Foundation.

When you have dry, sensitive skin, it itches, appears dull, and may be flaky. Darker skin tones may look ashy, Dr. Fusco says. Dry skin can become cracked and even split. In an extreme case, dry skin can look thickened and leathery, she says.

Before you decide to relocate to a warmer, more humid climate, take these steps to sea in the moisture and repair winter skin.

Your Moisturizer: Go From Thin to Thick

While you might only need a thin lotion on your body during summer months, Fusco suggests switching to a thicker skin moisturizer, such as an ointment or cream, in the winter. Apply it when your skin is still damp from a shower.

An ointment such as petroleum jelly is the thickest skin moisturizer you can buy and will work well for treating dry skin, Fusco says. Although it can be greasy, if you put it on when your skin is damp, the greasiness will go away. “But don’t put it on the bottom of your feet because you could slip and fall,” Fusco cautions.

Creams are also thicker than lotion and are great for winter skin. If your skin is very, very dry, you may want to try one that contains alpha hydroxy acid, or AHA, to exfoliate dead skin, Fusco says.

Winter Complexion Protection

Be sure to use a separate moisturizer specifically designed for your face, Fusco says. The skin on your face is thinner and more sensitive, so always choose a moisturizer that’s labeled “non-comedogenic” because it won’t clog your pores or lead to pimples. If you have sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to look for a hypoallergenic moisturizer, adds Fusco.

Go with a lighter moisturizer such as a lotion if you have oily skin and a heavier formula if you have dry skin. If you have a combination of oily and dry skin on your face, use a lighter lotion overall and dab the areas of dry skin with the thicker cream, Fusco says.

The sun’s damaging rays can still reach your skin in the winter. Fusco recommends using a face moisturizer with an SPF, or sun protection factor. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests using a sunscreen all year round, with an SPF of 30 or higher that protects against ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays.