Dry skin can strike at any time with an itch on your arm, cracked knuckles, even a dry, flaky scalp! Skin moisturization often becomes lost in our busy schedules at times. Thankfully, there are effective, easy to use products to bring that dry skin back to life!
Today, we will review what products are available for dry skin, the benefits and drawbacks of each, and how to select the best skincare products for your individual needs.
Best Moisturizers for Dry and Cracked Skin
In order to determine what skincare products will deal with dry skin, we must first understand how moisturizers and other hydrating skin products actually work!
There a number of factors which can lead to dry skin. Dry skin can be caused by low humidity, high temperatures, skin irritants, and the overuse of cleansers to name a few. When moisture is lost from the skin, that is called trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL).
Moisturizers and other hydrating skincare products combat water loss by supplying the epidermis with ample water, creating an occlusive "seal" on the outer layer of the skin to lock in moisture, fill in moisture gaps on the skin, and/or attract naturally occuring moisture to the skin.
Moisturizers, Oils, Creams, or Skin Serums?
So you have decided that you want to fight your dry skin with a natural and effective skincare product. But which should you choose?
Moisturizers primarily function as occlusives. This form of moisturizing skincare product creates a barrier on top of the skin to prevent moisture from evaporating or being lost to the environment. Moisturizers usually contain oil, which delivers moisturization.
Oils have no water and therefore are not delivering any concrete moisturization. However, oils such as argan oil act as emollients for the skin - treating dry, scaly skin by filling in the skin's rough patches.
Skin creams are primarily oil based like moisturizers, and frequently carry many of the same benefits. Anti-aging skin creams may also contain potent ingredients to smooth and rejuvenate skin without the sole focus on moisturization.
Skin serums are products which are both water and oil based. In this way, skin serums may act as both an occlusive and an emollient. Serums are great for everyday use.
Choosing the Best Moisturizing Products for You
As we discussed in the previous section, different moisturizing products have different methods for restoring your skin's natural hydration. So how can you choose the best products for you? Here are some suggestions to find the best skincare products for your dry skin:
Consider your skin's needs. Dry skin is not all created equal. Winter dry skin from long hours in a dry apartment is different from dry skin from a hot sunny day. Where heavy moisturizer might be good for dry winter skin, a daily, hydrating serum might do wonders in the summer.
Does the moisturizer support my skin's natural hydration process? Many moisturizers just pump the body full of water and harsh waxes to soothe the skin. This may be necessary for extreme dry skin, but not in most cases. Consider a moisturizer with active, probiotic ingredients that work with your skin.
Will my moisturizer interfere with other skincare products? Finally, choose a moisturizer, oil, serum, or skin cream which will work well with your existing routine. And always apply moisturizing products last so that they can effectively seal in the moisture of your skin!
Other Tips for Dry Skin Treatment and Prevention
Sometimes dry skin is unavoidable, but there are some ways in which we can prevent dry skin from taking control! Here are some dry skin tips from the American Academy of Dermatology:
- Avoid those long, hot showers. Believe it or not, those 20 minute showers under infernal temperatures are not great for the skin! The AAD recommends keeping showers under ten (10) minutes, closing the bathroom door to keep moisture in, and turning that water temperature down a notch.
- Consider using oil based products for moisturization as well. Your skin contains both natural water and oil, and both need to be nourished for well-hydrated skin. Many of us are guilty of focusing only on moisturizers and ignoring serums, oils, and creams.
- Avoid harsh skincare products. Makeup, soaps, and even laundry detergents are included here as well! Chemical irritants can damage skin and leave it woefully dry.
- Use moisturizing products soon after bathing and/or using a cleanser. This goes back to our earlier comment about order of operations. Moisturizers create a physical barrier that locks in moisture. This process is most effective when the skin is at its most hydrated.
Dry Skin Management with Effective Skincare Products
Dry skin happens to all of us from time to time. Whether you are living in a tiny Manhattan apartment with bone dry air or spending long days outside in the hot sun, hydrating skin is extremely important. Choosing a high quality and effective moisturizer can be a great way to keep dry skin under control.
Whether you select a traditional moisturizer, skin serum, oil, or face cream, try and look for products with scientifically proven ingredients. At the end of the day, it only takes a few seconds in your skincare routine to keep skin moisturized. We think those few seconds are well worth the effort!