- Dry skin can be difficult to treat and there are some ways that it could irritate your skin without realizing it.
- When your skin is dry, you may want to avoid excessive washing and excessive exfoliation.
- The application of moisturizer on moist skin instead of dry skin can make it more effective.
Dry skin can be frustrating, but there are some ways in which, unknowingly, it could be harder to manage. To help determine what skin care habits could worsen your dry skin, INSIDER spoke with board-certified dermatologists and other skin care experts.
Here are some things that recommend that you avoid doing if your skin feels especially dry.
Do not wash your face very often
Even just washing your face with water can dry out your skin, said board-certified dermatologist, Adam Friedman, MD, FAAD, an adviser to Remedy Review.
"People with dry skin should minimize washing to avoid additional dryness," Dr. Caroline A. Chang, FAAD, dermatologist and badistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University, told INSIDER earlier. "Wash the morning and night with a gentle wash for the face that cleans but does not remove the grease from the skin." Before activities, use a makeup cleanser instead of washing.
Avoid excessive exfoliation.
Friedman said that the exfoliants can damage your skin barrier and make your skin even drier. He added that a damaged skin barrier can also create more opportunities for allergens, irritants and pathogens to enter the skin.
Although exfoliation may be important, Michael Nova, MD, board certified dermatopathologist and director of innovation at Pathway OME, previously told INSIDER that "it is important not to overdo it". He said you should exfoliate only once or twice a week.
Do not apply moisturizer to the skin without moistening it first
"Most moisturizers are really moisture blockers, which means they prevent water from evaporating from the skin and [they] Create a gradient to introduce it to the skin, "said Friedman, who said that applying moisturizer to dry skin will temporarily soften his skin, but applying it to moist skin may be more effective in the long term.
Avoid products that contain glycolic acid.
"Choose a lactic acid cleaner instead of a glycolic acid cleanser," said board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Monica Bonakdar. He explained that glycolic acid is a strong exfoliant, but can worsen dry skin. He said he recommends using cleaners with lactic acid because they gently exfoliate the skin and also hydrate it.
Do not skip applying moisturizer
"Do not leave your home without applying a rich moisturizer," said celebrity beautician, Dr. Maribel Pedrozo. She suggested using ones that contain lipids and squalene. Applying them is important because they rehydrate the upper layer of skin cells and help seal moisture, he explained.
Read more:10 things to do if your skin is peeling
Avoid overuse of diuretics such as alcohol and caffeine.
"Patients with dry skin should also avoid excessive use of diuretics, [like] alcohol and caffeine, and observe their salt intake, "plastic and reconstructive surgery surgeon Inessa Fishman, MD, told INSIDER.
On the other hand, he said it is important to make sure that you are consuming a sufficient amount of vitamin C (which is important for the production of collagen), healthy proteins and fats (such as those found in avocados).
Do not use very perfumed products.
"If your skin is dry, it's not wise to use very perfumed lotions or creams," said Dr. Richard Torbeck, board-certified dermatologist, with Advanced Dermatology PC. These fragrances and scents can further irritate your skin, so you can choose products without perfume or slightly perfumed.
If possible, avoid the triggers that can cause an outbreak of eczema, especially if your skin is already dry
Although not all cases of dry skin are eczema, if you are prone to outbreaks of eczema, you may want to find out what triggers them. Some known triggers of eczema include things like pet dander or pollen, according to the National Eczema Association.
Read more: 6 signs that your skin is dry and irritated is actually eczema
These triggers can vary from person to person. And once you have begun to discover which ones are yours, you should avoid them when possible, Dr. Torbeck told INSIDER. He said that this is especially important when it comes to dry skin because it is more likely to have an outbreak of eczema or come in contact with allergen exposures that can cause them.