According to Jennifer Lee, M.D., of REN Dermatology, exfoliating your skin too often can dry it out and can irritate sensitive skin. She suggests exfoliating only once a week and only using harsh products like toners "if you have super-oily skin or wear a lot of makeup."
"Getting your omega-3s by eating fish can lead to healthy skin," Dr. Lee explains. Pass the salmon.
Though spring brings warm weather for most, some are still cuddling up under a blanket at night and cranking up the heat — a sure-fire way to dry out your skin, according to Dr. Lee. She suggests using a humidifier to help combat the drying effects of your heater.
"Washing your hands too often or using hand sanitizer excessively can really dry out your skin," Dr. Lee explains. She says you can avoid this by washing your hands only when it's really necessary (for example, if you work in health care or child care) and using hand sanitizer as a last resort.
Another dry skin sin is using too many acids in your skin care routine. Debra Jaliman, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says one example is "using a glycolic acid wash, then a salicylic acid toner and then a retinol anti-aging cream. Cleansing scrubs and clay masks can also dry the skin out."
Dr. Marie Hardy of Dermatology Associates says, "Exposure to the sun and low-humidity environments are big factors. Springtime brings its own set of contributors to skin dryness. Though environmental humidity tends to increase with the onset of warm weather, greater sun exposure and chemical exposures such as chlorine from pools can add to skin dryness."
Ouch. Sometimes the truth hurts. But the fact is our skin changes as we age. J. Michael Taylor, M.D., M.P.H., explains, "Unfortunately, age can play a factor. As we get older, our skin loses its ability to retain moisture and becomes thinner."
Taking a hot shower can feel good on a brisk morning, but Omar Ibrahimi, M.D., Ph.D., founding medical director of the Connecticut Skin Institute and visiting scientist at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, says that using too-hot water can easily dry out the skin. He says, "Lukewarm showers are better and strip less of the body's natural emollients from the skin."
Once you step out of that lukewarm shower, put on moisturizer right away. Dr. James Marotta, dual board-certified facial plastic surgeon and skin care expert, says, "Lather on your favorite lotions, creams and oils just after you get out of the shower, while skin is still damp. This will help lock in moisture and replenish skin far better than if you were applying a lotion to dry skin."
Though water can be drying to your skin externally, it is extremely good for it internally. Dr. Marotta says, "Even better than drinking your full eight glasses of water a day? Eating it. Studies show that when you hydrate your body with water-rich foods (think watermelon and zucchini), you actually retain more (water) than when you drink it." Good to know.
Work out to improve your body and your skin? Doesn't sound so bad to us. Jeannette Graf, M.D., F.A.A.D., says if your skin is dry, you’re not getting enough exercise. She advises, "Since it’s spring, go out, get fresh air and start walking. Also, try yoga, as deep breathing helps your body detoxify."
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