10 Things No One Ever Tells You About: Dry Skin

Rachel Adler
Woman applying lotion

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We all know the troubles that arise when your skin gets dry – flakiness, peeling, scales – your skin takes on an entirely different form and sheds more than your hair. If you’re someone who is prone to dryness when the weather changes, you’re often used to this behavior and are prepared with your standard regimen of thick lotions and creams. But, if you’re not used to it (say, after a long vacation in the Caribbean) it can take awhile to get your normally moist skin back into prime condition.

In order to keep your skin in tip top shape so you won’t be embarrassed about shedding layers, we’ve pulled out ten things that people rarely tell you about dry skin – from what causes it to how to battle it. Read on below so that the next time dryness ails you, you’ll be ready.

1. Dry skin can simply be caused by taking frequent hot showers.
While we all love a steaming hot shower – especially as the air gets colder in the winter months – the hot water dries out your skin (and hair!) even more. Save the hot water and turn your faucets to a lukewarm temp instead.

2. Your dry skin could actually be caused by a lack of humidity in the air.
We tend to hate humidity due to what it does to our hair, but the lack of it can actually cause our skin to dry out. If you live in climates that tend to be really dry, this could be why your skin is so dry as well. Keep this in mind for travel as well, and stock up on heavier creams to keep your skin in shape. Apparently we have to choose between good hair and good skin!

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3. You may have a more serious skin condition.
Skin conditions like Eczema and Psoriasis may start out as severe dry skin and then develop from there. If your skin is dry and itchy and then continues to get worse, go see a dermatologist.

4. The detergents or soaps you use may be drying you out.
Allergies are nothing new – we sneeze and cough the second the flowers bloom in the spring. But, did you know you can also be allergic to your detergents, or even your soap? If your skin is dry or irritated after doing a new batch of laundry, try doing a skin test with your new detergent and see if this may be the cause.

5. Been in the sun recently? Your current state of dryness is probably due to sun damage.
As often as we preach to wear sunscreen, sunburns still happen. Plus, even if you’re wearing your sunblock, you often still want to get a gorgeous tan, and as that tan fades dryness can occur. This dryness in the skin can be due to the sun damage that was caused (sorry guys, any coloring from the sun is still damage!) and will need extra TLC – heavy moisturizers and perhaps aloe depending on the severity of the damage.

6. Just because your body is dry doesn’t mean you categorize as a “dry” facial skin type.
Learn what skin type you are to find the proper products for you. If you feel like your body is dry but your face is oily with dry patches, you’re most likely a “combination” skin type. Many skin care brands have guides to figuring out your skin type so you can decide which products fit you best.

MORE: 101 Best Tips For Clear Skin

7. Everyone says to apply your lotion right when you get out of the shower, but make sure to follow the proper method.
If you apply lotion after a steaming hot shower, your body won’t be able to absorb enough of it to satisfy, leaving your skin dry again shortly thereafter. Take a lukewarm shower (we know, not as satisfying!) but your skin will thank you later. Then, pat yourself dry with a towel and apply a lotion meant for dry skin – this will be a thicker cream and will have a longer absorb time.

8. If you’re in that serious flaky stage, use a body oil to shave. 
Using a body oil rather than a traditional shaving cream when you’re suffering from dryness helps in the shower, as the body oil absorbs in your skin whereas the shaving cream tends to rinse away.

9. In fact, embrace those oils at all time! 
While many people tend to be afraid of oils on their face, embrace them on your body when you’re suffering from dryness. They absorb quickly and are easy solutions to constantly combat flakiness and peeling skin.

10. Even if your skin is painfully dry, remember to exfoliate to slough off the dead skin. 
Once you’ve exfoliated, use a heavy moisturizer (or Coconut Oil!) to pamper your skin and let it shine like new.