In mid-January, with the cold air outside and the dry air inside our homes, many people see and feel that their skin is getting drier. How can we avoid or relieve this discomfort?
Moisturizers keep water in the outermost layer of our skin, thus acting as a temporary barrier. The best moisturizer for your skin depends on your skin type, your age, and whether you have skin problems like acne or eczema. Here is a simple guide to help you:
- Normal skin is usually neither too dry, nor too oily. To maintain its natural moisture, use water-based moisturizers that don’t leave a greasy feeling.
- To restore humidity to dry skin, opt for a thicker, oil-based cream or butter. For very dry or cracked skin, products made from a petroleum jelly (Vaseline) base are recommended. They keep the skin saturated longer and are more effective at preventing the skin’s humidity from evaporating.
- Sensitive skin is prone to redness and irritation. Try to find moisturizers that contain chamomile or aloe and that contain no potential allergens such as fragrances or dyes. Also avoid products that contain acids because they are very irritating to the skin.
Getting the most out of your moisturizer:
- Expensive products are not necessarily more effective.
- Be willing to experiment. You may have to try a few brands before you find which product works best with your skin.
- Apply your moisturizer right after your shower or bath, while your skin is still humid.
- Avoid extended hot baths, as they can diminish the skin’s protective oily layer.
- Apply hand cream as needed. If you have very dry skin, it is recommended that you apply some after each hand-washing.
Bear in mind that there is no guarantee that a manufacturer’s claims about a product are true, because these products are not subject to the type of rigorous testing performed on medication. In order to be put on the market, however, the complete list of ingredients must be submitted to Health Canada.
Don’t hesitate to speak to your pharmacist for help in identifying the moisturizers most likely to suit you.