gentle skin care

Gentle Skin Care: It’s a Vote Against Dry Skin – Musings of an NYC Dermatologist

gentle skin care
Gentle skin care becomes important at the weather gets colder in the winter months

As we enter into the colder months it’s time to start thinking about preventing winter skin.  In a word, winter skin is dry.  Dry skin is itchy.  It is not cosmetically pleasing.  Further, dry skin results in inflammation which causes flares of skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and even acne.

As skin is the largest organ, dry skin produces a lot of inflammation that also affects other parts of the body. Inflammation in the body in general is associated with an increased risk of skin aging, cancer, dementia, heart disease and autoimmune disease. As we get older, especially after the age of 50, our skin’s capacity to stay hydrated diminishes. During the winter, dry cold outside, dry heat inside, and the tendency to want to take long, hot baths and showers, also contributes to dry skin.

So, how does one vote for healthy, hydrated skin? Practice gentle skin care! Here is how:

  1. Avoid too much hot water. No one likes a cold shower, especially in the winter, but be aware that hot water strips away the oils in your skin that help hold in the moisture. Limit baths and showers to 10 minutes.
  2. Use a gentle cleanser. Again, with hot water, strong soaps strip away oil promoting dry skin. Gentle moisturizing cleansers add back oil. We want our dishes to be squeaky clean—not our skin.
  3. Avoid bathing multiple times a day.
  4. Only soap up the face, neck, armpits, groin and buttocks regularly—unless you are dirty. Water does most of the work. Soap breaks down oil.
  5. Moisturize right after a bath or shower. At this time the skin is hydrated. Moisturizer seals it in. Use thicker creams and body butters in winter if lotion isn’t enough. And in this time of frequent hand washing, moisturize hands throughout the day after washing.
  6. Hydrate your environment. Use a humidifier, serenity fountain, or boil a pot of water in your home when the air feels dry.

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