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Dealing With Dry Skin

By Paul Rothbart

Dry skin is one of the most irritating health problems there is. It itches, it cracks, it sometimes even bleeds. Your skin may feel like leather, not at all pleasant for holding hands. It reminds of that old Henny Youngman joke about giving his wife alligator gloves so she could tell people she has a skin condition. Dry skin, however, is no joke. It is all too common, especially in colder, less humid weather. During those times, your skin care routine should change. Here are some tips from dermatologists on fighting dry skin.

Change Your Shower Routine

Showers can severely dry out skin., stripping away the oils that protect it.  When the humidity drops, use warm rather than hot water. Keep your showers down to 5-10 minutes. Use a gentle soap without fragrances and just enough to clean the skin. You don't want heavy lather. Blot your skin dry with a towel, rather than rubbing, which can pull moisture from the skin. Use a moisturizer immediately upon drying. 

Using Moisturizer

Using moisturizer is one of the most important things to do when dry skin becomes a major problem. As mentioned, it should be applied liberally right after showering. Any time you wash your hands and face, you should also use moisturizer as soon as you dry. Like showering, washing takes off the oils and dries out the skin.

Use Ointments or Creams

Moisturizing lotions are often irritating and less effective than an ointment or cream. It's best to use a moisturizer that contains ingredients that are proven to be effective in adding moisture to  the skin. Shea butter is a popular and very good ingredient for this. Others are hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, and jojoba oil. Lanolin and mineral oil are two other effective moisturizers. Always read the labels carefully.

Use Lip Balm

The lips are also part of the skin and often dry out and become chapped. Use a quality lip balm that feels good to you. If a product causes your lips to tingle or sting, it's not right for you. Scrap it and find one that works.

Wear Gloves

Protecting your hands is essential. Warm gloves should always be worn when going outside in cold weather. Wearing rubber gloves to wash dishes, walls, or handle laundry is also a good idea. In addition to hot water, you expose your hands to soaps and chemicals. Any time you do any kind of work that uses detergents, greases, or chemicals, regardless of the weather, gloves should be worn. Hands tend to get the worst of the dry skin problems. 

Dry skin is common, unpleasant, and unhealthy. Take the necessary steps to protect the skin, especially when the humidity drops. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Azusa, Calif.

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