Ways to Prevent Dry Skin

Dry skin can strike all over your body - your face can flake and redden, while your elbows and knees can turn scaly and crack. Once your skin loses moisture and flaky skin sets in, it can be hard to restore that moisture. But preventing dry skin is easy by adding these simple steps to your daily skin care regimen.

1. Use Gentle Cleansers

But any cleanser with added moisturizers will do, adds Dr. Johnson, as long as there is no fragrance in the product. "Avoid true soaps like Ivory, which de- fat the skin and tend to cause more dryness by removing the lipid barrier," she says.

2. Slather on a Rich Skin Moisturizer

You have to moisturize skin to keep it from drying out. If you're prone to dry skin or flaky skin, use a thick lotion moisturizer every day. Put it on as soon as you get out of the shower while your skin is still damp, says Johnson. You should also reapply it several times throughout the day. Her favorite moisturizer is Vanicream, but she also recommends Vaseline petroleum jelly as a good, pure moisturizer to prevent flaky skin and dryness.

For those who prefer a lighter product, Johnson also recommends Eucerin, Cetaphil, and CeraVe moisturizers.

3. Consider Limiting Shower Frequency

"There are some dermatologists who feel you should limit your bathing," says Johnson, while others say it's fine to bathe twice a day. If you bathe with a rich bath oil, it will help lock in the water and keep your skin moisturized.

4. Think Warm, Not Hot

What's even more important for preventing dry skin than frequency is how you're washing your skin and the water temperature you're using. "The prevailing thought is try not to take too hot or too long" a shower, says Johnson.

So keep your bath or shower short, and make sure the water is only lukewarm or even slightly cool. Gently pat your skin dry with a towel after you bathe and rub in your moisturizer as soon as you get out of the shower.

5. Protect Against Dry Air

Cold, dry air can suck the moisture right out of your skin, leaving it chapped, flaky, and even cracked if it's severely dry. To protect your skin from the elements, "keep your barrier intact," says Johnson.

That often means managing health problems that can remove fats from the skin, which makes it more susceptible to dryness and vulnerable to dry air. Thyroid disease, anemia, and certain medications (especially cholesterol-lowering medications) also contribute to dry skin, adds Johnson. Using a humidifier in your home will add moisture to the air.

6. Drink Water to Moisturize Skin From Within

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