Dr. Evan Rieder, a dermatologist at New York University Langone Health, says dry skin is one of the most common reasons people visit him. That’s partly because so many different factors can contribute to dry skin, and some people are just more susceptible than others — even people with oily skin can have problems.
“Causes of dry skin include harsh soaps, itchy clothing, the misuse or underuse of moisturizer as well as dry, cold air and long, hot showers,” Rieder says. And what’s going on inside your body counts, too. Inadequate water intake, stress, poor diet, gastrointestinal issues, certain medictions and medical conditions (namely diabetes, psoriasis and eczema) can also cause or exacerbate dry skin.
Since your environment is not entirely within your control, dry skin can fail to resolve itself on its own. Your best line of defense — after making positive changes in your diet and drinking adequate amounts of water — is keeping skin hydrated with a consistent moisturizing routine.
Moisturizers work by replacing some of the oils your body makes, which are naturally stripped away. This is important because those oils are a natural protectant for your skin. Prolonged dry skin can have all kinds of uncomfortable side effects, like inflammation and redness, and it can be easily irritated by clothes. It can also make skin look dull, emphasize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and create blotchiness when you apply makeup.
“Moisturizers can cover and protect fissures in your skin, both by creating a layer of soothing protection from damaging environmental hazards and helping to slow down the evaporation of water from your body,” Rieder says. Since evaporation can increase in dry climates, it’s important to be proactive about locking moisture in.
How do you break the cycle of persistent dryness? First, consider how you’re washing your skin. Consider using cooler water for washing and gentler products. For the face, which tends to be a particularly sensitive area, Rieder recommends Dove DermaSeries Dry Skin Relief gentle cleansing face wash. The cleanser has a creamy texture and is formulated to reduce visible dryness in a few washes.
Next, create a regular and consistent moisturizing routine that covers your whole body. Look for a product like Dove DermaSeries Dry Skin Relief replenishing body lotion, which Rieder recommends because it’s fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. If you’ve got especially stubborn patches — often found on elbows, knees and heels — give them a little extra TLC with a product specially formulated for tough areas, like Dove DermaSeries Dry Skin Relief expert repairing balm, Rieder says.
The biggest takeaway is that it’s important to make your skin a priority. “I say this all the time to my patients, but when you suffer from dry skin or a chronic skin condition, you must dedicate time every day to caring for yourself,” he says. Take the time to treat your skin well. You’re worth it.
This post was sponsored by Dove DermaSeries.