10 Ways to Moisturize And Protect Your Skin Starting Today!
Let’s Relieve Your Dry Skin…Starting Today!
This post contains affiliate links.
By Scott St. James, AGNP-BC
Medical Dictionary defines dry skin as, “epidermis that lacks moisture or sebum, often characterized by a pattern of fine lines, scaling, and itching.”(1)
Do you have any experience with unbearably dry skin? I personally have had a long battle with dry skin. I grew up in Michigan and was stationed in North Dakota and Alaska, three places that are terrible for your skin. Especially in the winter. I remember how itchy my skin would get. It’s miserable.
Sometimes it would get so dry that I used to get red marks at my waistline and it would start cracking and burning. Even the hot water in the shower would irritate it. Can anyone relate to this? Especially those of you living in dry and/or cold places.
Now, I live in Mississippi where it’s not as cold or dry. However, it does still get cold here for a little bit in the winter. As we all know winter is fast approaching. I want to prevent dry skin from coming back this winter so I found some ways to help us prevent our dry skin. I hope these will help you as much as I believe they are going to help me.
What causes our skin to dry out? See article.
Age is a big factor. The older you become the drier your skin tends to be. This is caused by your body not producing as much oil as it once did. I’m in my late forties and I am definitely noticing a change in my skin. It’s not as moist as it used to be and cuts and scrapes don’t heal as fast.
The season of the year is the second factor. In the summer it can be very hot and dry depending on where you live. The wind also plays a part in drying out your skin. Also, in the winter it can get cold and dry which will also dry out your skin.
The third and most preventable, factor that dries out skin is bathing or showering in hot water. This will strip the body of its oil and your skin will become dry. This is a problem for me year-round. I love my hot showers. It loosens up all my muscles but I can definitely tell that it does dry my skin out.
The Top 10 Ways To Relieve Dry Skin
(These tips were obtained from this article)
How to prevent baths and showers from making dry skin worse
By closing the bathroom door you keep the moisture in the bathroom. If you need to, turn the exhaust fan on to eliminate some of the moisture. However, by limiting your time in the shower or bath it decreases the need for the fan. Use warm rather than hot water. I recently had to start doing this. My skin was getting way too dry from the hot water. Plus, my skin was red when I would get out of the shower. So, that tells me that the shower was obviously way too hot. Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser. My wife also uses this type of cleanser. She says it works just as well as the other type with the heavy fragrances.
Click here to see current prices of bath salts on Amazon.
Apply moisturizer immediately after washing
You should always remember to apply lotion right after your shower. By doing this it will allow your skin to trap the moisture. What I have noticed my wife do is to towel dry off a bit and then apply the lotion while her skin is still a little wet. She has been doing this for years and her skin doesn’t get dried out. Sometimes in the winter, her shins will get a little dried out but that’s it.
Use an ointment or cream rather than a lotion
I remember this lesson from Nursing school. Ointments and creams don’t have the skin-irritating chemicals as lotions do. There are even lotions that are made to trap moisture in for wound healing. There is also medicinal honey if you choose to go that route. If you need something stronger it is probably best to see your healthcare provider. I don’t have a preference for lotions. I like to try different ones every few months, especially during the winter months.
Wear lip balm
I recommend using an organic lip balm. Or at least one that has as many natural ingredients as possible. I like Burt’s Bees lip balm.
Click here to see current prices of lip balm on Amazon.
Use only gentle, unscented skin care products
According to the article, “you should avoid deodorant soaps, skin care products that contain alcohol, fragrance, retinoids, or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). Avoiding these products will help your skin retain its natural oils.”
Wearing winter/warm gloves
This may seem like an obvious one but, it bears repeating. When the temperature outside starts dropping you begin wearing gloves. The gloves absorb the natural oil from your skin and your hands begin to dry out. So, when you know the cold months are coming it’s best to start using lotions before the cold weather even arrives.
Choose non-irritating clothes and laundry detergents
I’ve noticed that cotton seems to be the softest and most breathable fabric that I wear. My wife and I have also been using fragrance-free laundry detergent for quite a while now. I’m happy to report we haven’t had any skin irritation from the detergent.
Click here to see current prices of laundry detergents on Amazon.
Stay warm without cozying up to a fireplace or other heat source
It gets cold enough at night in Mississippi to have a fire at night in our woodburning fireplace. I enjoy our fires but I can tell the next morning when I wake up that my nose is dry and my throat hurts just a little bit. That’s why we don’t have them too often. We’ll only let it burn for a couple of hours. Then we stop adding wood and just let it die out. It’s nice to look at for a little while and feel the warmth from it. We usually use a quilt, thick blanket, or an electric blanket to keep warm during the fall and winter months.
Add moisture to the air
I’ve seen some of our friends put a pot of water or a kettle on top of their wood-burning stoves to keep moisture in the house. Especially if you live somewhere where it gets cold and dry in the winter. The colder it gets the more wood you have to burn. The more wood you burn the drier your house gets. It’s just a vicious cycle! You can also use a humidifier which you can purchase for a reasonable price. We don’t use anything but we really should. It would probably take care of a lot of our sinus issues that we have year round.
Click here to see current prices of humidifiers on Amazon.
Wear socks with petroleum jelly to bed
One of my wife’s oldest habits is to put socks on after she puts vaseline on her feet. Then she’ll sleep with them on all night. Come morning time her feet are softer. I’ve never tried it but if you can handle having socks on while you sleep it’s worth a try.
Click here to see current prices of socks on Amazon.
Skin Cancer Awareness
Ok, Tribe, I’m about to get on my soapbox. I’m telling you this because I really do care about your health. As we all know the sun shines year round. That means that we should be moisturizing our skin, wearing lip balm and applying sunblock year round. Especially if you’re doing outdoor activities. Remember to apply often and liberally when you’re involved in water activities. I myself don’t wear sunblock as I should. I definitely do in the summer or the hotter months. I’m working on it though.
I want to ask you to remember to watch any moles you have for changes. If they are in spots you can’t reach or see ask your partner to check them. When in doubt go see your healthcare provider. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Together you can discuss whether or not you should get a second opinion or go see a specialist.
Let’s review the ways to relieve dry skin that we discussed in this post:
Take short (5-10 minutes) baths or showers to prevent making dry skin worse.
Apply moisturizer immediately after drying off from bath or shower.
Use an ointment or cream rather than a lotion. They are less irritating.
Wear lip balm year round. I prefer Burt’s Bees.
Use only gentle, unscented skin care products.
Wearing gloves dries out your hand so use lots of hand lotion.
Choose non-irritating clothes and laundry detergent.
Stay warm without cozying up to a fireplace or other heat source.
Add moisture to the air by using a humidifier or boiling water on top of the stove.
Wear socks with petroleum jelly to bed to help soften feet.
Remember to check your skin monthly for any changes.
Let me know if you have any tips to add to our list. Please leave a question or comment. I’m here for you.
So how are you going to start moisturizing your skin every day? Let us know.