Showering and washing your face in the morning and evening are a natural part of a daily routine, ensuring that all the grime and dirt you encounter during the day gets taken off of your skin. But the type of cleanser you use could cause more harm than good if it dries out your skin to an uncomfortable, irritable level. Choosing the right cleanser will make all the difference.
Normal, healthy skin has a natural layer of lipids, or fatty substances, that keep moisture in the skin. Harsher cleansers can strip skin of these natural oils and leave your skin feeling dry and itchy. Soaps are one of the most common perpetrators of dry skin -- the bubbling and lathering of soaps strips away the protective oils. When selecting soaps and cleansers, look for mild, unscented cleansers; soap-free products or soaps with added oils and fats. Products with deodorants or antibacterial elements are going to be harder on your skin. Cleansing creams and cleansers with added moisturizers are also effective in helping skin maintain its natural moisture.
The right type of cleanser will help in the battle against dry skin, but your cleansing routine is just as important. While a steaming hot shower may feel great at the end of the day, it can contribute to your dry skin. Using warm water instead of hot and limiting showers to five to 10 minutes will reduce the amount of oil being washed from the skin. Also, you need to use soap only on the areas of your body that get particularly dirty, such as the underarms, groin and feet. A gentle cleanser is best for the face. A warm-water rinse should do the trick everywhere else.
After you've patted your skin dry, moisturizer should be the immediate next step in your routine. The skin should still be a bit damp when you slather on a thick moisturizer -- this will ensure that you trap the moisture beneath the skin by providing a seal that keeps water from escaping. These steps may require you to change up your current skin cleansing habits, but they'll save you a great deal of irritation and itching that comes with dry skin.
Read on to learn how to tell if you are mistaking dry skin for clean skin.