With winter in the rearview mirror, you can finally stop being concerned about dry, itchy skin. Not so fast. Dry skin can be a problem during the warm-weather months too for a multitude of reasons, like spending too much time in the sun with not enough sunscreen, lounging an afternoon away in a pool or the ocean, and cranking the air conditioning way up.
And then there’s the everyday culprits: taking showers that are too hot, taking showers that are too long, a reaction to a skincare product you’re using, or the lack of a basic skincare routine.
For fast relief, try any one or – even better – all of the solutions outlined below. (Note: If your skin is always dry, no matter what you do or what time of year it is, see a board-certified dermatologist. It may be a genetic disposition. In which case, a more thorough intervention may be in order.)
Expedite your shower regimen
Soothing as a long, hot shower may feel, the hot water is stripping your skin of all the natural oils it needs to stay smooth and soft. And the longer you stay in, the worse the damage can be. Instead, aim for the cooler side of lukewarm and try to get in and out in about five minutes. And, no, taking multiple short showers throughout the day isn’t an improvement over one long shower. So, limit yourself to one short shower a day.
Reconsider your soap or body wash
While you’re evaluating your shower habits, take a closer look at the products you’re using to wash your skin, too. Many are made to extract excess oil from the skin, in addition to dirt and grime. But in the process of doing so, they can often dehydrate the skin. Seek out bar soaps and body washes that say they hydrate or preserve moisture while they clean.
Moisturize while you’re still damp
The best time to hydrate your skin is right after you step out of the shower. There are a couple reasons for this. First, with your skin cleansed of all grime and toxins, you’ll get the full benefit of your moisturizer. Secondly, moisturizers are designed to seal in moisture, which is that much easier to do when your skin is still damp. For that reason, you should get into the habit of gently patting yourself dry with a towel, rather than aggressively rubbing away every drop of water.
Sleep with a humidifier
A simple, but effective skincare routine is a must, particularly at night, when our bodies enter their regenerative, reparative cycles. A moisturizing cream and/or lotion can help skin cells regenerate overnight. But to defend against the dry air inside your air-conditioned bedroom, you’re going to need to think beyond products. Consider adding a humidifier. It’ll pump more water into the air (as long as you remember to close the door), which will prevent the air from dehydrating your skin overnight.