7 Tips for Softer Skin

Guide to softer skin

Combating dry skin requires a combination approach: adding moisture to your skin, sealing it in, and avoiding things that will take away natural skin oils as well as moisture. Try these tips to feel more comfortable this season.

1. Taker shorter showers

Keep your shower or bath short. Water helps hydrate the skin, but after five to 10 minutes, it works against you. And use warm—not hot—water. Gently dry your skin and apply emollient (moisturizer) within three minutes to seal in the water.

2. Use a mild skin cleanser

Whether you choose soap, body wash, or gel, choose one that contains a moisturizer and is free of deodorants, fragrances, and alcohol. These can irritate dry skin.

3. Moisturize daily

Ointments and creams are more effective and less irritating to dry, sensitive skin than are lotions. Choose products that contain lactic acid, urea, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerine, lanolin, mineral oil, or petroleum jelly. Avoid those with alpha-hydroxy acid.

4. Invest in a humidifier

A humidifier will add moisture to your home’s air in the winter and in dry weather and relieve your chapped skin.

5. Avoid rough materials

Steer clear of wool and other fabrics that may irritate dry skin. Try smooth cotton fabrics instead.

6. Protect your hands

Your hands take the most abuse. Wear proper gloves when outdoors in cold weather and when your hands are immersed in water. Don’t skimp on hand washing, but do moisturize after washing and sanitizing.

7. Wear sunscreen daily

Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Apply sunscreen every day, even in winter, to any exposed skin. Don’t forget a lip balm with sunscreen, too.

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HealthAfter50 was published by the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, providing up-to-date, evidence-based research and expert advice on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of health conditions affecting adults in middle age and beyond. It was previously part of Remedy Health Media's network of digital and print publications, which also include HealthCentral; HIV/AIDS resources The Body and The Body Pro; the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter; and the Berkeley Wellness website. All content from HA50 merged into Healthcentral.com in 2018.