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10 Tips to Soothe Dry Skin

sjogren's Nov 12, 2021
Woman with a facial mask and towel on her head touching her face gently, in a serene bathroom setting with green plants, suggesting a skincare routine.

Welcome to winter also known as the dry, itchy, ashy skin season. Sadly for those of us with Sjogren’s, many of us will deal with these symptoms all year round.

As a practicing allergist, Sjogren’s patient, and mom of a little one with eczema, I want to share some helpful tips I have learned over the years that may help you soothe your dry skin too!

  1. Optimize your bath or shower routine.
    • Close the bathroom door.
    • Opt for warm rather than hot water.
    • Limit your time in the shower or bath to 5 or 10 minutes.
    • Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser rather than a soap.
    • Apply enough cleanser to remove dirt and oil, avoid using so much that you see a thick lather.
    • Clean only the areas that need cleaning.
    • Blot your skin gently dry with a towel.

  2. Apply moisturizer immediately after washing.
    Ointments, creams, and lotions (moisturizers) work by trapping existing moisture in your skin. To trap this much-needed moisture, you need to apply a moisturizer within a few minutes of drying off after a shower or bath or washing your face or hands.

  3. Use an ointment or cream rather than a lotion.
    Ointments and creams are more effective and less irritating than lotions.
    Look for a cream or ointment that contains one or more of the following ingredients:
    • Jojoba oil
    • Dimethicone
    • Glycerin
    • Hyaluronic acid
    • Lactic acid
    • Lanolin (can be an allergen for some)
    • Mineral oil
    • Petrolatum
    • Shea butter

      Moisturizers come in 3 different types:

      Humectants
      These substances LOVE water and pull it into the skin. They tend to be light and absorb quickly into the skin in the form of gels and gel creams.
      Examples: hyaluronic acid, glycerin, lactic acid

      Emollients
      Soften the skin and help smooth and repair the damage. They are found in creams, lotions, ointments, and balms.
      Examples: shea butter, petrolatum

      Occlusives
      Create a barrier and trap moisture in the skin. These are the thickest, heaviest moisturizers.
      Examples include: dimethicone, jojoba oil, lanolin, mineral oil

  4. To relieve dry hands, carry a non-greasy hand cream with you and apply it after each hand washing.

  5. Wear lip balm.
    Choose a lip balm that feels good on your lips. If your lips sting or tingle after you apply the lip balm, switch to one that does not cause this reaction.
  6. Use only gentle, fragrance-free skincare products.
    Some skincare products, such as deodorant soaps, are too harsh for dry, sensitive skin. Dermatologists and allergists recommend using products labeled "fragrance-free."

    If you see the word "unscented," the product can contain chemicals that neutralize or hide the odors of other ingredients.

    These chemicals can irritate dry, sensitive skin.
    Click here to see a list of products that are some of the least irritating on the market

  7. Stop stripping your skin.
    Avoid products that contain any of the following:
    • Alcohol (except for hand sanitizer)- check out this hand sanitizer instead (link to
    • Beautycounter’s Hand Savior)
    • Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA)
    • Fragrance, including deodorant soaps
    • Retinoids
  8. Wear gloves.
    Many times, our hands are often the first place we notice dry skin.
    You can reduce dry, raw skin by putting on gloves before you:
    • Go outdoors in winter.
    • Wash dishes or perform tasks that require you to get your hands wet.
    • Get chemicals, greases, and other substances on your hands.
       
  9. Choose non-irritating clothes and laundry detergent.
    When our skin is dry and raw even clothes and laundry detergent can be irritating.
    To avoid this:
    • Wear cotton or silk under your clothing made of wool or another material that feels rough.
    • Use laundry detergent labeled “hypoallergenic.”
    • Ditch the dryer sheets.
  10. Add moisture to the air.
    Plug in a humidifier. If you can, check your home heating system to find out if you have a humidifier on the system — and whether it’s working.

 

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