We're so excited to have been able to pick the brain of Dr. Kenneth Howe, Consulting Dermatologist for LUBRIDERM®. He shares with us his secrets on taking care and preventing extra-dry skin.
Dry skin is something that we all deal with from time to time. What daily or weekly skin care steps can we do to keep on top of our dry skin?
It is important to be pro-active about the prevention of dry skin. Too many people (especially men) ignore it until it becomes severe. Untreated dry skin can become irritated, inflamed and itchy; it is more properly termed eczema at that point.
Dry skin can be avoided if the skin maintains the proper amount of oils and moisture. Two things are important: not removing too much oil (through over-washing) and adding back oils (through use of a moisturizer).
- Keep showers short, under 5 minutes if possible.
- Avoid excessively hot showers, as hot water more readily removes surface oils, just like hot water does when washing dishes.
- Use soap only in areas of skin folds—underarms, neck, groin, feet. Soap is a detergent that lifts off oils from the skin.
- Use a mild soap.
Regarding moisturizing, it is important to do this every day. Daily application of a good moisturizer keeps the barrier of the skin (the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of dead skin cells) in good repair. Specifically, it keeps the stratum corneum from drying out and cracking. An intact barrier allows the stratum corneum to fulfill its function of keeping allergens and irritants from penetrating the skin.
With the cold weather soon to be upon us, for many of us that means we'll be experiencing the awful white, flaky skin, especially on our legs. Is it just something we have to do deal with in the winter? If not, what products can you recommend we pick up and what makes these products so helpful?
It is certainly not something that anyone should just accept! Such dry, unattractive skin can be easily prevented.
Skin over the shins is particularly prone to dryness and often develops deep cracks that can take on the appearance of a dry riverbed. Shaving the legs can exacerbate the problem, as the uneven surface of the dry skin will tend to be nicked by the shaver’s blade.
The best treatment for such dry skin is LUBRIDERM® Advanced Therapy Triple Smoothing Body Lotion. This LUBRIDERM® product contains an alpha hydroxyl acid that gently strips away the excessive build-up of dry, dead skin cells, leaving a smoother, more even surface. Removing the excessive surface build-up allows the moisturizing elements of the product to penetrate more deeply, and relieve the dry skin.
What about our hands and cuticles. What can we do to make sure they stay nice and soft instead of dry and cracked?
The hands need frequent moisturization, especially during the winter. A good, rich hand cream such as LUBRIDERM® Advanced Therapy Hand Cream should be applied at least daily. More frequent applications are necessary for people who are prone to dryness of the skin of the hands, such as chefs or homemakers.
People with a tendency to dryness in this area should also make sure to protect their hands. They should wear rubber gloves when doing dishes and avoid contact with strong detergents. Excessive hand washing will also worsen dryness of the skin of the hands.
Let's talk about men. Can you give men any skin care tips? What products would men feel comfortable using?
All of the Lubriderm products are guy-friendly. They go on easily and quickly, without any greasy or damp feeling. A guy can slap this stuff on and put on his shirt immediately. There is also little to no fragrance in any of them, but for the really skincare-phobic man, I recommend LUBRIDERM® Daily Moisture Lotion Fragrance Free. This product is completely free of scent. The only thing a guy can smell after he puts on this moisturizer is himself.
If you could recommend just one skin care step that we may not be doing on a regular basis, what would it be?
The daily application of a moisturizer. It will keep your skin looking healthy and feeling comfortable. It’s the quickest, easiest way to avoid annoying wintertime itch. It will also keep your skin from looking brittle and pasty.