Our skin plays a major role in protecting our body from external elements and is also one of the first organs to react when something’s wrong with our body.
Ever notice how your skin feels tight after a shower? Some people think it’s a positive sign and relate it to being youthful.
Well, sorry to break your bubble folks, but skin tightness, especially when paired with itchiness and flaking, can be a sign of dry skin.
Skin dryness (or xerosis) happens when our skin produces less oil (sebum) compared to normal skin.
Sebum is a lipid that our dear skin needs to hold moisture and build a powerful barrier against harmful external elements. Much like dried up soil, skin which can’t retain moisture can end up dry, flaky and worse of all, cracked!
There are a lot of contributing factors to skin dryness, one culprit could be your shower habits and most importantly your shower products.
Using the best moisturizing body wash for dry skin is the first step in improving your skin condition.
This article will equip you with all the important information about skin dryness as well as provide you with recommendations on the top body washes out there whether you prefer gels, soap or dermatologist recommended body wash for dry skin.
Let’s get this (shower) party started!
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- Let’s Talk About Dry Skin
- Best Body Washes For Dry Skin (2021)
- Putting It All Together
Let’s Talk About Dry Skin
Dry Skin Symptoms: How Do I know If I Have Dry Skin?
A famous drugstore lotion brand once advertised doing a “Scratch Test” to gauge your skin’s dryness.
It’s really easy to do, simply run your fingernail (preferably your index finger) across your arm or leg. If it leaves a white chalky mark on your skin, it means your skin is dry. If not, your skin’s fine.
While this may be true, dry skin can easily be spotted without having to do this test by simply watching out for the following symptoms:
Pretty common after using anti-aging, antibacterial or deodorant soaps and also after swimming.
Skin tightness means your skin shrank because of the lack of moisture and that is not a good thing as it makes you prone to some other symptoms like the ones below.
Itching (or Pruritus)
Along with tightness, itching is one the first few signs of dryness, itching may get in the way of getting a night of restful sleep or make you lose focus during the day.
People with sensitive skin may itch almost immediately when using bath products containing harsh ingredients.
Flaking, Scaling or Peeling
These may come in small patches or totally cover an entire area. Flaking, scaling and peeling are signs that your skin is extremely dry.
It may be best to visit your doctor to get to the bottom of why you’re experiencing these.
Fine Lines, Cracks (either shallow or deep)
When your skin cracks, it’s a sign of severe dryness.
Deeply cracked skin may bleed and is extremely painful. These cracks can be the entry point of bacteria that may eventually lead to infection.
Uneven Toned Skin
Skin starting to look red, gray or ashy? Girl, these are signs that your skin is super parched. It may start out red from being irritated then slowly turn to gray.
Common body areas I’ve seen having discolorations like this are the nape, elbows, knees, legs, and feet.
Dry Skin Causes: What Causes Dry Skin?
Environmental factors are the leading cause of dry skin. However, there are other factors that may result in having dry skin and some may be preventable while the others are not.
Let’s take a look at what these are.
As we age, our skin slowly loses the capacity to retain moisture making it vulnerable to dryness, age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Winter is definitely our skin’s enemy. With less humidity, the air is dry and can easily evaporate moisture out of our skin.
The worst thing is even if we stay inside, all these heating (whether you have central heating or a traditional fireplace) can do the same moisture zapping action to our skin.
Prolonged exposure to water via swimming (especially in heavily chlorinated pools) or taking a nice, hot bath can sure have positive health benefits for the body and mind but not for our skin.
Meanwhile, not drinking enough water can make your skin dehydrated and dry too.
Skin and Household Products
A lot of popular products in the market are built to strip oil and are made out of harsh ingredients.
Body soaps, washes, shampoos, dishwashing liquids, and detergents are some examples of oil-stripping products that may wreak havoc on our skin.
Yes, not eating properly can also cause dry skin! Specifically, not enough omega-3 fatty acids (from fishes like salmon, mackerel and herring) are linked to dry skin.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to keep your skin thick, bouncy and well moisturized.
Skin Conditions Such as Eczema and Psoriasis
Having dry, scaly skin can be a sign of any of these two skin conditions. Consult your doctor for proper diagnosis.
Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders and Diseases
Our skin can indicate if there is something wrong going on inside the body. For example, high accumulation of fat in the liver can cause you to have a dry, itchy and red skin (atopic dermatitis).
Can Body Wash Make You Itch?
Yes! Using heavily scented, antibacterial and deodorant body soaps and gels can make you itch. It’s best to switch to gentle and hypoallergenic bath products to alleviate this symptom.
I personally prefer baby products especially during cold seasons as my skin is drier and can get sensitive to certain ingredients easily.
I’ll share my top body wash for dry skin in a bit! 😉
Dry Skin Do’s And Don’ts: How Can I Stop My Skin From Drying Out?
Help your skin out by keeping in mind the following do’s and don’ts. Dry skin’s out, healthy skin is in!
- Use the best moisturizing shower gel for dry skin.
- Limit bath, shower and swimming time to 5-10 minutes.
- Use warm water.
- Keep the bathroom door closed.
- Gently pat your skin dry with a towel.
- Lock the moisture in with a good moisturizer or body oil.
- Increase your water intake (8 glasses a day is recommended).
- Include omega-3 rich foods in your diet.
- Use a humidifier to increase moisture in the air especially during winter.
- Apply too much body wash or a thick lather of soap.
- Use heavily scented deodorant or antibacterial soaps.
- Wear abrasive clothing materials such as wool.
- Warm up near a fireplace or a heating source.
- Go out without wearing gloves during winter (hands can easily show signs of drying).
- Skip wearing gloves when washing dishes.
Choosing the best body wash depends on what your skin needs. Is it dry and itchy, sensitive, extremely dry or just seasonally dry?
Whatever your skin needs and whether you prefer soap over gels, I surely have a good product recommendation just for you. Check them out below!
Best Body Washes For Dry Skin (2021)
Best Moisturizing Body Wash for Dry Itchy Skin
Best Body Wash for Dry Sensitive Skin
Best Natural Body Wash for Dry Skin
Best Drugstore Body Wash for Dry Skin
Best Body Wash for Extremely Dry Skin
Best Body Soap for Dry Skin
Q: Does Dry Skin Cause Acne?
A: Yes! we often associate oily skin with acne, but in reality, dry skin can cause that too!
Acne is caused when pores get clogged with sebum, dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria.
Having dry skin means your lipid layer is gone or damaged that it cannot perform its job efficiently (its job is to protect the skin from external factors).
As a result, cell turnover goes haywire and builds up on top of the skin (thick, scaly or flaky skin), blocking the pores and potentially causing irritation. Add bacteria to the mix, and you have yourself an acne cocktail.
Acne is not limited to the face, your back and other parts of your body can experience it too. Proper hygiene and moisturization can keep acne at bay.
Q: What Is The Best Natural Soap For Dry Skin?
A: I’m currently loving the L’Occitane Extra-Gentle Soap. I have sensitive skin and occasionally dry skin and this soap works wonders for me.
It’s gentle yet it leaves me feeling really clean and moisturized. The scent? Ugh, it’s intoxicating!
Q: What Is The Best Hypoallergenic Body Wash?
A: The term “hypoallergenic” means that it’s less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Yet people feel duped when a certain product they used caused some allergic reactions when it claims to be “hypoallergenic”.
A good measure when choosing the best hypoallergenic wash is to read the label closely.
Choose unscented, paraben, sulfate and formaldehyde-free formulas as these may cause allergic reactions to certain people.
My recommendation? Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Baby Unscented Wash. It contains 100% natural ingredients that are certified organic and vegan plus it cleanses really well and keeps the skin super moisturized.
Putting It All Together
We can easily combat dry skin with a few tweaks in our lifestyle, bathing routine and by using the best moisturizing body wash for dry skin.
Should you be experiencing unusual extreme dryness, severe flaking, cracking and bleeding skin, a consult to your GP is required prior to using any skincare product as the proper diagnosis is important in treating the underlying cause of your dry skin.
Which product mentioned above is your favorite? Are you team bar, gel or cream?
Share your personal tips in combatting dry skin (especially during winter!) below, I’d love to hear them. Looking forward to hearing from y’all! Cheers!