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Dermatologists come clean about skipping moisturizer

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Do you really need lotion every day? 3 Doctors explain

Call me nuts, but I've always imagined that lotion is a little bit like butter on toast — nice, but not totally necessary.

Apparently, though, physicians are taught in medical school that human skin is nothing like toast. It's a living organ. It requires tender loving care in order to function properly, and lotion is one of the primary ways we can protect our skin from a hostile world.

Three physicians — two dermatologists and one cosmetic anesthesiologist — recently schooled me on why skipping lotion is such a terrible idea. (Hint: It's a really bad idea.)

Skipping lotion leads to a compromised skin barrier

Dermatologist Dr. Marina Peredo understands how consumers can sometimes forget their lotion routine, but she warns against skipping daily and nightly moisturizing treatments. "Skipping can lead to real problems, such as a compromised skin barrier," she says. A compromised barrier, in turn, may introduce bacteria into the skin — leading to redness, acne and other infections. In other words, you're not starving your acne by skipping the lotion. You're contributing to it.

Dehydrated skin is an eyesore

Skin is no different than your other body organs, which all function at their peak when properly hydrated. Dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldfaden explains, however, that skin hydration is far more affected by the external environment than other body organs. "Many external factors lead to surface-dehydrated skin, which can cause many skin concerns like redness, uneven tone, roughness, fine lines and loss of elasticity," he says. Without lotion, all of these conditions can turn into an eyesore over time. "Neglecting to use daily hydrating products, regardless of skin type, can lead to extensive skin shrinkage, itching, flaking, scaling and premature aging."

Hydration reduces irritation

Between flakes, redness, bumps and even acne, it's easy to feel confused by the signs of skin irritation. Depending on your skin type, irritation can surface in the form of many different symptoms. Cosmetic anesthesiologist Dr. Arleen Lambda explains, however, that the many symptoms of skin irritation can be traced to one typical source. "If you feel that your skin is irritable and inflamed, it may be a good time to see if your skin is adequately hydrated," she said. "Skin that hasn't locked in moisture with lotion is skin that can show signs of irritation early on."

She suggests that you troubleshoot your irritation with lotion, rather than relying upon scratching, picking or unnecessarily medicating inflamed skin.

A simple solution to your search for lotion

Interestingly, all three physicians suggested that consumers look for a moisturizer with one specific ingredient: Hyaluronic acid. This specific acid can draw in moisture from the air, and hold up to one thousand times its weight in water, leading to plump, protected and hydrated skin. They were also quick to point out that consumers should wear sunscreen every single day in order to prevent skin irritation and premature aging.

Easy enough, right? Don't skip the butter.

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored advertising collaboration.

More about skin care

Adult acne: What to do when your skin still thinks you're a teen
11 Things you don't realize are drying out your skin
8 Homemade secrets to baby-soft skin (INFOGRAPHIC) 

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