Although skin is on the outside of your body, it’s considered the human body’s largest organ. Since your skin is constantly exposed, it’s important to keep it in good health. Healthy skin contains a small amount of natural oils and is well hydrated. Skin becomes unhealthy when it contains too much oil, not enough oil (dry skin), or becomes dehydrated.
If you’re dealing with dry or dehydrated skin, the following things might be contributing to the problem:
1. Treating the wrong skin condition
If you think you have dry skin, but you’re not seeing results from products formulated for dry skin, you might actually have dehydrated skin. Resolving dry and dehydrated skin requires two different approaches and using the wrong approach can worsen your symptoms.
Dry and dehydrated skin are two entirely different issues. French Pharmacy explains that dry skin is considered a skin type determined by genetics, while dehydrated skin is a condition caused by a variety of external factors. A person can have dehydrated skin regardless of their skin type; it’s simply a lack of water in the top layers of the skin.
Dry skin is characterized by itchy, flaky, and rough skin. Dehydrated skin looks dull, feels sensitive, and is often red. When you’ve got dehydrated skin, your body will produce more oil, which can lead to breakouts.
If you have naturally dry skin, avoid harsh, drying soaps and use moisturizers that contain humectants. Avoid shower gels with harsh chemicals, and switch to natural, hand-made soaps filled with moisturizing ingredients.
2. Using the wrong skin care products
Not all skincare products deliver on their promises, especially when you have an underlying issue the product isn’t intended to resolve. For example, people with healthy skin who happen to experience dry hands in the winter will usually benefit from lotion. When their hands feel dry, they’ll put on a little lotion, their hands will soften up, and they’ll be good for the day.
On the contrary, a person with dehydrated skin might experience irritation and more dryness from using the same lotion. Lotion by itself won’t automatically hydrate your skin unless it contains ingredients specifically designed to increase moisture. Lotion won’t necessarily moisturize your skin, but ointments and creams will.
3. Shaving with the wrong soap or shaving cream
Whether you shave your face or legs, the soap you use to shave can contribute to dehydrated skin. If you already have dry skin, you need to be especially selective about your shaving cream.
Sharpologist points out that dehydrated skin makes it harder to shave. However, you can care for dehydrated skin by drinking more water, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, taking warm showers rather than hot, and using a daily moisturizer.
While you’re working on rehydrating your skin from the inside out, ditch the chemical-filled shaving cream in a can and opt for some moisturizing shaving soap. You’ll need a shaving brush, a bowl, and a little patience to learn how to create lather but your skin will feel better and you’ll get a better shave.
4. Using harsh cologne or perfume
If you spray cologne or perfume on top of your clothes, you don’t need to be concerned. However, if you spray it directly onto your skin, you might be perpetuating your skin problems. For instance, if you’ve got dry skin, “winter” fragrances are likely better for you since they’re a bit stronger and you won’t need to reapply them as often.
If your skin is already sensitive, you also want to avoid fragrances with ingredients that can cause breakouts and allergic reactions.
5. Go easy on the Epsom salt
Epsom salt is a wonderful exfoliant to add to your bath, but if you use too much, it will dehydrate your skin by stripping away natural oils.
If you’re dealing with acne, temporary dehydration can be a good thing. Less oil means less pimples and the dry environment is unlikely to foster the growth of bacteria. Epsom salt is anti-inflammatory and can reduce redness, pain, and swelling caused by acne.
However, if you’re not experiencing acne, go easy on the Epsom salt. You may want to use a topical magnesium spray instead.
Take care of your skin correctly
Whatever skin issues you’re dealing with, make sure you use the appropriate skin care products. It’s tempting to try every product that promises relief, but you might end up doing more damage to your skin. See a dermatologist to find out exactly what’s going on and get professional advice regarding which products you should be using.