People often say that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” — and when it comes to skincare, that couldn’t be more true.
As you help your patients and clients optimize their moisturizing routine, it’s valuable to arm them with some actionable tips about factors that might be contributing to their dry skin, including:
- Age. When we reach puberty, our body starts to produce sebum (a skin oil). Higher levels of sebum are associated with a decrease in skin lipids; regrettably, the sebum is not as effective in keeping the skin hydrated, and as we age our body produces less and less of these moisture-trapping lipids.
- Dry air. Central heating, especially during the winter’s low humidity, forces hot, dry air into the home or workplace, reducing skin’s moisture levels. Similarly, airplane air treatments expose and dry out the skin.
- Acne-fighting products. Harsh ingredients in these formulas typically strip skin of its lipid content, not only drying skin, but setting off a compensatory mechanism which produces more skin oils and often leads to more breakouts.
- Tight clothing. Close-fitting fabric in clothes, like jeggings, tends to worsen dry winter skin through abrasive friction.
- Baths, showers, and swimming. Frequent showering or bathing, especially with hot water or for long periods of time, can break down the lipid barriers in the skin. Similar changes occur with frequent swimming, particularly in heavily chlorinated pools.
- Soaps and shower gels. Normal skin has a healthy balance of moisture and oils, and a slightly acidic pH of 4.5 to 5.75. Soaps and detergents, which are alkalis of pH 7 to 12, damage the skin’s barrier function by stripping away essential moisture and lipids. Deodorant and antibacterial soaps, as well as the commonly-sensitizing artificial fragrances and colors popular in bath gels, can also be drying and irritating to the skin.