Whether you're born with dry skin, or you've developed it with age, my skin
are recommendations can help. It's important to pick products that hold water into your skin and to avoid products that remove so much oil that your skin dries out. This means choosing a gentle cleanser or soap, and applying an effective moisturizer immediately after toweling off when you get out of the bath or shower.
The trick with cleansers and soaps is to use only mild ones such as:
- The many lovely glycerin and oil soaps available at specialty boutiques or natural food stores
- Soapless cleansers (like Toleraine Cleanser) which clean without the irritating ingredient sodium laurel sulfate. (Sodium laurel sulfate is the foaming agent in cleansers and has other names including sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium laurel sulfate) Adding oil to harsh cleansers doesn't compensate for the irritating effects so don't be fooled by fancy claims. If your skin feels dry and tight after bathing then your cleanser is too harsh for you!
In addition, all soaps and cleansers need to be rinsed completely off the skin using warm water. Avoid really hot water. Remember, hot water strips oils better that cooler temperatures, which is why it's better for cleaning the dishes!
Also, only apply soap to areas of your skin that need to be cleaned. These include the areas with body odor glands and a lot of oil glands. We all know where these are: the armpits, groin, buttocks and feet have body odor glands, oil production is greatest on the face, ears, upper chest and back.
The trick with moisturizers is timing and product quality. Moisturizers work by holding water inside the layers of your skin right after you bathe. The water evaporates fast so you must apply moisturizers within 3 minutes after toweling off! Simple but key.
Product quality is more complicated. The most effective moisturizers add oil, bind water and strengthen the skin barrier.
- The most common oil ingredients are petrolatum and mineral oil. Natural and food based oils include shea butter, jojoba oil and sesame seed oil.
- Water binding ingredients include glycerin (as in Glycolyx Elite Facial Cream and Dry Skin Hand Cream), lanolin or wool alcohol (Bag Balm and Eucerin products), hyaluronic acid (Replenix CF Cream) and the alpha hydroxy acids (AHA's) lactic acid (Amlactin Cream) and glycolic acid (Glycolyx Elite Facial Cream 15% and Glytone products)
- Barrier strengthening ingredients work by tightening the outermost cell layer of the skin called the stratum cornium. They make the skin smooth and polished. My favorite barrier enhancing ingredients are the alpha hydroxy acids (AHA's). My elbows are velvety soft after years of using Glytone Body Lotion. For the face, I like Glycolyx Elite Facial Cream 15% (normal skin) and Glytone Facial Cream #2 (dry skin). You need to know that AHA's can be irritating to chapped skin. For chapped skin, moisturize for a month or two first with a gentle non-AHA moisturizer (such as Glycolyx Elite Facial Cream, Nivea Cream or Dr. Hauschka's Rose Body Moisturizer or Rose Day Cream)
Remember, bathe with only mild cleansers, applied where needed and rinsed well with warm water and then apply a good moisturizer within 3 minutes after toweling dry!