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Dry Skin: For Your Body
  • Ban bar soap. To stay in tip-top shape, your outer layer needs to have a slightly acidic pH. “A traditional bar tends to be made with lye, and its alkaline pH can throw skin off-balance and lead to irritation,” says Zeichner. Reach for a mild nonsoap “syndet”—a body wash or bar made with gentler cleansers (1). Again, just make sure to avoid drying sulfates.
  • Stop scrubbing. Loofahs, shower puffs, exfoliating mitts—they’re not doing your skin any favors. Aggressive rubbing can literally wipe away protective oils, so if you want to use something to apply your body wash, stick to a soft washcloth and go easy, recommends Heather Woolery- Lloyd, MD, director of ethnic skin care at the University of Miami’s Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery.
  • Choose the right moisturizer. Since your brick wall is crumbling a bit, you need heavy-duty hydrators to act as spackle. Lotions, creams, and ointments with thick, occlusive ingredients like petrolatum create a protective film on skin. Apply both morning and night (2)
  • Use that stuff right away. Put on body lotion or cream immediately after you get out of the shower to lock in moisture. “Your cream will be about 50 percent more effective if skin is still damp,” says Woolery-Lloyd. A thick layer of moisturizer prevents what’s called transepidermal water loss, which is when water passes through the epidermis and evaporates from the skin’s surface. To get in the habit, try a formula designed to be applied to damp skin in the shower (3).

    Skin Savers

    1. Dove Deep Moisture Shower Foam ($6; drugstores)

    2. Aquaphor Ointment Body Spray ($11; drugstores)

    3. Curél Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer ($11; drugstores)