7 Dry Skin Shower Survival Tips

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Taking a shower

Our skin is the largest organ in our body, so it’s no wonder we get aggravated when it gets irritated. Dry or sensitive skin can be caused by a multitude of factors from high temperatures in the summer to chilly, low humidity weather in the winter. Sometimes you can’t change your environment, but you can change your shower routine to help combat sensitive, dry skin year-round. Next time you step under the spray, keep this advice at your fingertips.

1. Turn down the heat.

A nice hot shower might be the thing you want most on a cold winter morning, but it will only prolong your dry skin problems. Hot water washes nourishing oil from your skin and makes it even drier. Protect your sensitive skin by keeping the temperature at medium heat.

2. Short is sweet.

Showering might feel soothing to your skin, but staying underwater too long will rob your skin cells of moisture. The longer you shower, the more oil you wash away. Limit your shower time to 10 to 15 minutes and only take one shower per day to keep dry skin at bay. Skip a day between showers if possible—use a washcloth at the bathroom sink for the areas that need the most attention.

5 Things You Didn't Know About Sensitive Skin

3. Get slippery when wet.

It’s best to apply moisturizer when your skin is a little damp. After showering, gently pat your body dry and immediately apply moisturizer to help seal water into your surface cells. If you don’t have time to lather on the lotion after your shower, there are some moisturizers you can apply while you’re still wet. It’s efficient and effective!

4. Lay it on thick.

When it comes to moisturizers, thicker is better. Oils work best for severely dry or sensitive skin because they prevent evaporation of water. Ointments and creams have a mixture of oil and water and are a little lighter. Lotions are mostly water with powder crystals, so they’re less greasy but you’ll need to apply more frequently. Some people might feel comfortable wearing a light lotion during the day and using a thicker oil or cream overnight.

5. Skip the scrub.

Scrubbing and sloughing might seem like a smart way to brush off dry skin, but abrasive cleansers and cloths can actually irritate sensitive skin. Avoid abrasive materials, especially if you have dry skin on your face. Moisturizing is a better alternative. If you do feel the need to scrub, keep it gentle.

6. Shave with a strategy.

For those of you who shave in the shower, take care to protect your sensitive skin with proper shaving techniques. Shaving scrapes away oil from the skin, so always lubricate your skin first by applying shaving cream or lotion. If you leave your razor in the shower, be sure to replace it often so the blade doesn’t get too worn or even worse, rusty.

7. Shower naked.

In this case, we mean keep your shower and skin care products “au naturel.” Avoid soaps and shower gels that contain fragrances or alcohol. Choose cleansing products labeled as gentle or for sensitive skin and have added oils and moisturizers in the ingredients. Products with ceramides are particularly good for sensitive skin since they replace the natural lipids often missing in dry skin.

Remember, dry and sensitive skin is a problem for many people at some point in their life, so you’re not alone. Try to add in one new healthy skin habit each week until you find the skin nourishing combination that works best for you and your shower routine.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Jan 12
  1. Dry – skin — self-care. Medline Plus, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000751.htm
  2. Basic Skin Care Tips. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/healthy_living/hic_An_Overview_ofYour_Skin/hic_Basic_Skin_Care_Tips
  3. Diseases & Conditions: Dry Skin/Itchy Skin. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/dry-ski
  4. Diseases and Conditions: Dry skin. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-skin/basics/lifestyle-home-remedies/con-20030009?p...
  5. Healthy Lifestyle: Adult health. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/skin-care/art-20048237?pg=2&p=1
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