A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

7 tips to tame dry skin: Warm-weather edition

woman applying moisturizer to dry skin

If the winter weather hammered your skin, consider these tips to get your dry, itchy skin into spring shape.

The warmer weather has everyone anxious to break out their spring wardrobe, which can mean exposing arms, ankles and feet for the first time in months.

If the winter weather hammered your skin, consider these simple tips to get your dry, itchy winter skin into spring shape.

Long, hot showers equal dry skin

Few things are more tempting than a long, hot shower to wipe away a bad day, but showers may leave your skin in disrepair.

“Hot water is notorious for drying out skin. I typically recommend bathing and washing hands with warm or lukewarm water,” said Dr. Diane Meyer, a Marshfield Clinic dermatologist. “Long showers and baths also remove your skin’s natural, protective oils. Limiting bathing or showering to 5-10 minutes is ideal.”

Be smart about soap

After bathing, your skin should feel smooth and soft. If it’s dry or tight, your soap may be the reason.

”Washing with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser that contains moisturizer can help improve dry skin significantly,” Meyer said. “Deodorant soaps are not recommended for dry skin.”

Soften skin, then shave

It’s best to shave right after a bath or shower when hairs are soft if you want to reduce irritation.

“Also, leave a shaving cream or gel on the skin for 2-3 minutes before starting to shave helps,” Meyer said.

Keep your razor blade sharp and shave in the direction of hair growth to reduce irritating your skin.

Moisturize – post-shower

Apply moisturizer immediately after you bathe when the skin is still damp.

“This is a great way to lock in extra moisture,” Meyer said. “Look for fragrance-free creams, lotions and ointments, which are best for dry skin.”

Carry a hand cream with you to apply after each hand washing to help relieve dry skin on hands.

Increase humidity indoors

Central heating, fireplaces and other types of artificial heat may still be necessary this time of year, but don’t necessarily have to dry out your skin. Use a humidifier to add moisture back into the air and drink plenty of water.

Choose skin-friendly clothes

Silk, cotton and other natural fibers let your skin breathe, so look to these first if possible.

“Many people may not realize their clothes are affecting their dry skin,” Meyer said.

“Also, try using dye- and perfume-free detergents and avoiding fabric softeners,” she said.

Wear gloves

Our hands may be a common area to notice dry, raw skin.

Put on gloves before doing things that require you to get your hands wet and before getting chemicals, greases or other irritating substances on your hands.

If these tips don’t help, you may need to see your health care provider, who can talk with you about other ways to care for your skin. Find a Dermatologist from Marshfield Clinic.

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