No matter your cleanser choice, look for mild options with added oils and fats (also referred to as ceramides on labels). While looking for ingredients you want, avoid added scents, deodorants, antibacterial detergents, salicylic acid and alcohols.
Now that you know some skin cleanser basics, let's focus on the liquid variety, since that will be your best bet for managing dry skin. When it comes to liquids, you can outfit your shower stall with a different cleanser for every region: body, face and even hair. If this suits your daily regimen or if you feel different parts of your body need gentler care, have at it. However, also note that if your body cleanser proves gentle enough for your face, you can let it do double-duty. In that same vein, if while shopping, you find an all-in-one -- body, face and hair -- cleanser that does the trick for your skin, this could be the way to go to keep your shower footprint small.
Don't think you need a padded wallet to purchase the dry skin cleanser that's perfect for you. Look for cost-effective options at your local drugstore. For example, the Aveeno and Cetaphil lines are both widely available and offer products that often come recommended for sensitive skin [sources: MedlinePlus, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics].
If you have to go with a bar no matter what, opt for a beauty bar formulated for sensitive skin. Basis, Dove and Neutrogena product lines offer options for this. Still look for varieties with added fats and oils [source: Mayo Clinic].
Other ingredients that may be helpful for your dry skin -- whether you're sticking to your guns and opting for a bar or going the liquid route -- are:
- Lactic acid
- Hyaluronic acid
- Natural oils, such as sweet almond oil, jojoba or argan oil
Now that you know how to navigate the skin cleanser aisle, you can get your skin in tip-top condition. Still curious about dry skin? There's lots more information on the next page.