Many of my patients complain of dry skin. Whether this affects just the face or the whole body, it results in the skin being much more sensitive. There are some simple techniques and advice that I give to all of my patients that experience these problems which can make a significant difference to the health of their skin.
Many people are unaware that products that foam or form suds contain detergents that wash away the natural lipids in the skin. I therefore advise anyone with dry skin to avoid shower gels and soaps and use products such as E45 Wash, which has a cream base. I also advise my patients to moisturise daily. It is important to use moisturisers that contain products such as glycerine, cholesterol, ceramides and fatty acids, as these all restore hydration within the skin. Hydrating creams will moisturise dry skin much better than any lotion. Toners actually dry out the skin and can worsen any flaking and are only useful for patients who have problems with oily skin.
When applying moisturisers, I always advise that you treat all areas of your skin. Apply the moisturiser liberally and always in the direction of hair growth. There is good reason for this method of application. If moisturisers are rubbed into the skin in all directions, they can penetrate the hair follicles which can result in tiny bumps appearing on the skin. Patients often feel that this is a reaction to the moisturiser, but it is really a result of applying the moisturiser incorrectly.
Most patients who avoid soap/shower gels and moisturise daily will find that their skin is no longer dry. Patients with skin rashes, such as eczema and psoriasis may need to apply their moisturisers several times a day to help with their symptoms.
Facial steaming is drying rather than hydrating. Steam rooms, swimming pools and chlorinated hot tubs will all worsen dry skin as these all contribute to decreasing the water content within the skin. Many cleansers contain detergents and strip the skin of its natural lipids, causing dryness and increased sensitivity. For patients with dry skin, I would suggest a cream cleanser to reduce this effect. I recommend, the Medik8 Cream Cleanse available at the ESS Clinic.
I hope you find these tips useful. By following these tips, you will find that your skin feels and looks much healthier.
Dr Shereen Rahman