If there’s one
skin care woe that nearly everyone has experienced at least once in their lifetime, it has to be dry skin. No matter the season, or even your skin type, dry skin can pop up like an unexpected breakout (that was clearly not invited to the party). To get the skin care low-down on why dry skin happens, the different kinds of dry skin and how to deal, we spoke to skin care expert Dr.Paul Cohen of Rosedale Dermatology in Toronto, for the best skin care tips on dry skin.

Why do I get dry skin?

Dry skin is actually a common problem that impacts many,” explains Cohen. “For some, this is due to a genetic predisposition or skin condition that was inherited.” Chances are if your mother and grandmother had dry skin, you probably do too. “These cause a deficit in the barrier of skin, so that it isn’t fully intact and doesn’t function properly and retain moisture as it should.” Other than genetics, Cohen says the way you take care of your skin can also be a major factor in your skin’s dryness or lack of hydration. “Taking long, hot showers will strip oil from skin, as will using harsh soaps or cleansers, or using products not suited to your skin type.”


Everyone is prone to dry skin (unfortunately!)

Even those with oily skin aren’t resistant to the perils of dry skin now and then. In fact you maybe have oily and dry patches at the same time. “Dry skin can impact anyone, regardless of age, gender, or skin type,” explains Cohen. “Those with skin conditions, such as Eczema, or who have asthma, tend to be more prone to dry skin. Certain environmental aggressors can make skin more susceptible, and certain jobs that expose skin to environmental conditions can exacerbate or cause dry skin too.”

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When is dry skin, more than just dry skin?

If your dry skin is very irritated or persistent, it may be time to visit your derm to get a professional assessment. “Anytime dry skin disrupts your daily life, or interferes with sleep, I would say that is a sign to see a dermatologist,” advises Cohen. “Any recurring infection, redness or inflammation, bleeding, extreme itching or excessive scratching can be a sign of a more serious problem, and you should then see a dermatologist.” Bottom line is this: If your dry skin just isn’t going away book an appointment, stat.

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More skin care tips for treating pesky dry skin on the next page …
Treating dry skin: The low-down
At home:

Most dry skin issues can be solved at home by switching up products, and avoiding irritants such as hot showers that Cohen mentions above. “At home, I would recommend bathing,” suggests Cohen. “While that seems counter-intuitive a bath with a bath oil or moisturizing bath formula will actually help skin. What happens is that the oil and water form an emulsion and adhere to your skin, helping to moisturize it.” Cohen also suggests looking at your cleanser and switching to a mild, unscented soap and investing in a good high quality moisturizer. “Be careful how you moisturize,” Cohen warns though. “Always do so right after you shower or bathe, on damp skin for the best results.”

At the derm’s office:

“At the dermatologist, you can get stronger, prescription strength solutions such as a cortisone cream to help soothe and treat skin,” says Cohen.

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Dry skin know-how: Ingredients to look for

When you have dry skin it’s even more important to read the label and look for key ingredients. You don’t want an ingredient that could irritate your skin even more, but one that provides deep hydration is essential. “Always look for products that are low on fragrance,” advises Cohen. Cohen suggests looking for ingredients such as, shea butter, urea, ceramides and oatmeal – all of which will help soothe dry skin. “Be sure to use products with the correct textures for your skin type and where you are applying it.
Face creams, should be more liquid and not as thick with a lighter texture, such as Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture SPF 15, which won’t clog pores or cause breakouts but will hydrate,” explains Cohen. Save heavier formulas for body areas such as hands and elbows that are specifically designed to penetrate through tougher skin that requires more hydration. “One of my favourite products for body is AVEENO Daily Moisturizing Lotion with colloidal oatmeal that helps to soothe moisturize your skin and is fragrance-free,” says Cohen.

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Seasonal dry skin

For most people, dry skin doesn’t last all year long (we are more than grateful for that), but with changing seasons comes dips and spikes in temperatures, humidity and more – all causing our skin to try and adapt and protect itself against the elements. “The way you treat skin should change with the seasons, as different environmental factors change your skin’s needs,” explains Cohen. “For example, in the winter, with the harsh winds and the indoor heating,
skin tends to be prone to dryness. In the summer, lighter, less heavy moisturization is needed, as skin sweats more.”

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