Dry skin is a common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, climate, and certain medications. While there is no cure for dry skin, there are a number of things you can do to manage it and keep your skin hydrated. Ahead, Fort Lauderdale, FL dermatologist Dr. Matthew Elias shares his top 5 dry-skin hacks to parch thirsty skin for good.
First, understand if your skin is dry or dehydrated.
Dry skin is an actual skin type and your skin will appear flaky, itchy, and maybe even painful, says Dr. Elias. If you have dry skin, your skin produces less sebum and oil than normal, and your skin lacks the natural lipids that help keep it moisturized, lubricated and protected.
Dehydrated skin is not a skin type, but rather a skin condition. If your skin is dehydrated, it means it is lacking water and wont snap back into shape quickly. “All skin types can be dehydrated, meaning you can have an oily skin type and be dehydrated. You don’t have to have dry skin in order to have dehydrated skin,” explains Dr. Elias. Dehydrated skin is caused by a lack of water in the cells and in the space between them. It can happen when we don’t drink enough water or when our skin doesn’t absorb moisture properly.
According to Dr. Elias, the easiest way to tell if your skin is dehydrated is to do the “pinch test.” “Pinch the skin over the back of your hand. If it snaps back into place it is properly hydrated; if takes time to return to its normal place you are dehydrated.”
To treat dehydrated skin, reach for a lighter moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid, a humectant that helps to bind water and retain moisture. Also be sure to incorporate more water, and water-filled fruits and vegetables—think watermelon, cucumber, cabbage, zucchini, or tomatoes—to treat dehydration from the inside out.
Ahead, Dr. Elias shares his top hacks for treating dry skin at home.
Apply moisturizer to damp skin.
One of the best ways to make moisturizer work better is to apply it to damp skin. This helps to lock in the water and keep your skin hydrated for longer. Dr. Elias says applying your moisturizer right after you get out of the shower to damp skin usually yields the best results. “Another good trick is to buy a thermal spring water and spray the dry area first with the water and then apply an excellent moisturizer like CeraVe.”
Choose a moisturizer with ceramides.
Ceramides are essential lipids that help to keep the skin barrier strong and healthy. “Ceramides are the state-of-the-art ingredient needed for dry skin types,” says Dr. Elias. “When you combine ceramides with glycerin, petrolatum, hyaluronic acid and cholesterols, you yield a top-of-the-line moisturizing product like CeraVe Moisturizing Cream.” If you don’t love the idea of using a rich cream, opt for CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion which offers the same ceramide-packed benefits in a more lightweight formula.
Be careful with retinoids and other acids.
Retinoids and other acids can be effective at treating a variety of skin conditions, but they can also make the skin more dry and irritated, Dr. Elias warns. If you have dry skin, be careful when using these products and start slowly. You may also want to talk to your dermatologist about how to incorporate them into your skin-care routine without irritating your skin.
Slugging is a skin-care technique that involves applying a humectant moisturizer to your skin and following it up with a petrolatum-based product, such as CeraVe Healing Ointment, before you go to bed. This helps to create a seal on the skin and lock in moisture. “Slugging can be a good option for people with super dry skin, but it is not recommended for people who are prone to acne,” says Dr. Elias.
The bottom line:
If you have dry skin, it is important to find a skin-care routine that works for you and to be consistent with it. By following Dr. Elias’s dry-skin hacks, and using high-quality skin care from a brand like CeraVe, you can help to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
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