Moisturizing tips to protect your skin

Because hand washing can lead to dry hands, make sure to moisturize to combat dry skin this winter.

Because hand washing can lead to dry hands, make sure to moisturize to combat dry skin this winter.

Every moisturizer contains different ingredients. Some treat the cause of dry skin, whereas others make symptoms worse by temporarily masking the problem. You should avoid lotions and moisturizers that contain heavy fragrances and dehydrating alcohol. Instead, use products that contain glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which are lipid molecules that bind to the skin and are effective in rebuilding the skin barrier. When choosing a winter moisturizer, buy products in a jar over products that come in a pump, which typically contain more water and a higher pH base that can cause skin to dry out. Jar moisturizers are thicker and better suited for parched skin. Use a thick cream moisturizer on your body at least twice a day: once in the morning and once before bed.

Skin on your hands and face requires a different type of moisturizer from what's typically used on your body. People usually wash their hands more during the winter to prevent the spread of cold and flu germs. Between excessive washing and exposure to the wind, sun and cold, hands tend to take a beating this time of year. Switch to moisturizers made with botanicals and vitamins, and use products that are made for your skin type. You'll want to avoid emollient-rich moisturizers. The best hand moisturizers are oil-based, as the oil creates a protective layer that helps your hands retain moisture. If your hands do become dry and chapped, apply a layer of olive oil to them and put on a pair of thin gloves just before bedtime. By morning, your hands will begin to look and feel better.

Avoid cleaning your face excessively; doing so can remove natural oils. Use a moisturizer made with almond oil, avocado oil or primrose oil. Products that contain shea butter might clog your facial pores, which can cause irritation and excessive dryness. Always apply a moisturizer under your makeup or use cosmetics that have built-in moisturizers.

Making an appointment with a dermatologist is an important first step in finding the best treatment for your dry skin problems. Look up dermatologists near you on Angie's List to see what other patients are saying about the service they received. For example, Angie's List includes more than 200 dermatologists in Indianapolis, more than two-thirds of which have received top ratings from member reviews.

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