Cold, dry air and indoor heating make winter the season for dry skin. It’s more important now than any other time of year to protect your skin from dryness. The first way to do this is to limit the damage you do to your skin everyday. Some things, like the weather, you cannot control. But, some of the things you do everyday to your skin might be making already dry skin much worse. One area where you can make a big difference is in the shower.
Showering daily is a modern-day cultural behavior. Although it has some advantages (reduces unpleasant odor) it also has disadvantages (strips natural oils from your skin).
I have patients, usually men, who use their shampoo to wash their body. Although convenient, this is a bad idea. Shampoo is “soapy;” that is, it’s designed to remove oils and buildup from your hair. This soapiness also strips oils off your skin. Shampooed skin will be left dry, dull, and susceptible to irritation. Dry, vulnerable skin is the main cause of winter itch. Remember these tips to be good to your skin this winter:
1. Never use shampoo to wash your body.
2. Let your shampoo rinse out of your hair while leaning forward, trying to prevent the shampoo from running down your whole body.
3. Never use a soap that makes “bubbles” in the shower or bath, it will strip all the oils off your skin.
4. Use a non-soap cleanser such as Dove.
5. Apply a body moisturizer immediately after showering, while your skin is still damp. This will lock in the moisture that has soaked into your skin, and keep your skin hydrated and protected all day.
Photo: Ted Blog