How to Fix Dry Facial Skin
Dry facial skin can be unsightly and uncomfortable. Dry skin is a common problem, notes the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, or AOCD, one that tends to worsen as we age and our skin's ability to retain moisture diminishes. While cold air and low humidity contribute significantly to dry facial skin, often your own hygiene and cosmetic practices are partially responsible as well. By recognizing these factors and taking some basic skin care steps, you can usually fix dry facial skin with minimal effort and expense.
Wash your face only once or twice a day, and keep showers short--no longer than 10 minutes, suggests the American Academy of Dermatology, or AAD, on its website SkinCarePhysicians.com. The water you wash with should be cool or warm. Over-washing and hot water both take natural oils out of the skin, promoting dryness.
Use only mild, moisturizing, fragrance-free soaps on your face. Avoid deodorant and antibacterial soaps, which aggravate dry skin, according to allergist and University of Texas assistant clinical professor Glenn Kline, M.D.
Lather your face with a massaging motion with your fingers, rather than with a washcloth. Scrubbing irritates dry skin and contributes to the problem. For the same reason, don't rub facial skin dry after washing, just dab it dry.
Apply a moisturizer to your face within three minutes of washing it, recommends AAD. Moisturizers don't provide the skin with moisture, but they lock in the moisture it already contains. Skin is most hydrated right after being wet. The University of Iowa points out that there are moisturizing products made specifically for the face, designed to be hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic. If allergies and acne are not a concern, however, face-specific moisturizers are probably not worth the inflated cost, offering no other real benefits.
Check the ingredients on your cosmetic products, especially those used to treat acne or as part of an anti-aging regimen. Many active ingredients in these products dry skin out as a side effect. In particular, retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids are commonly-used ingredients that can contribute to dry facial skin, notes AAD.
Apply a petroleum or beeswax-based lip balm as needed to moisturize your lips, says Medical News Today. Because they don't contain oil glands, lips are prone to drying out. Also, avoid licking your lips, which also promotes dryness.
Run humidifiers around the house, including overnight in your bedroom, keeping the door closed. This is especially important when atmospheric humidity is low and when running your indoor heating system. Ideally, humidity should be between 45 to 55 percent, and the temperature should be kept constant, between 68 to 75 degrees, according to AOCD.
Treat flaking, severely dry facial skin with a 0.5 percent hydrocortisone cream. Use it daily for a week or two, recommends Guy F. Webster, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of dermatology and director of Thomas Jefferson University's Center for Cutaneous Pharmacology.
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