As most people with dryness – prone skin know, with the onset of cooler temperatures discomfort, irritation, and dryness really start to increase. With the cooler weather comes a drop in the ambient humidity. When this happens the air beings to “steal” moisture from your skin, causing an acceleration in dryness.
Fall, and the coming onset of winter, is a good reminder of why you need the help of a high quality moisturizing lotion. But with so many options, how do you know which one is best for you? Let’s explore what your dry skin needs from a moisturizer to determine which ones will be most effective in helping you find relief.
The Moisture Barrier's Role in Healthy Skin
Your skin has a natural moisture barrier. Think of this barrier as your body’s shield. It protects your body from outside irritants, and helps retain the moisture that’s in your skin. Healthy skin replenishes itself every two weeks through regular cellular turn-over. When the moisture barrier is functioning properly skin is left looking healthy, moisturized, and free of irritants.
But when the moisture barrier is weak or damaged due to factors such as age, genetics, or environment, it won’t heal or replenish itself the way it should. If you are already dealing with dry, sensitive skin it’s possible you may have a weakened moisture barrier. Which means the onset of cooler temperatures can accelerate your skin’s dryness. The best way to deal with dry skin is to be proactive in taking care of your moisture barrier by using a quality moisturizer.
Moisturizers Repair the Moisture Barrier
Using an effective moisturizer on a daily basis is the first, critical step in strengthening your skin’s moisture barrier and getting it back to an optimal, healthy state. But, not all moisturizers are going to be effective at repairing a damaged moisture barrier. The most efficacious moisturizers for dry, sensitive skin are typically classified as “therapeutic.” Therapeutic moisturizers are specifically designed to provide soothing relief, and repair skin’s moisture barrier with daily use. In order to repair the moisture barrier a therapeutic moisturizer will accomplish three critical tasks:
- Reduce water loss
- Prevent irritants from entering the skin
- Reduce or eliminate dry skin symptoms
One ingredient used in some therapeutic moisturizers that helps repair a damaged moisture barrier is ceramides. Clinical studies have shown that dry and damaged skin is often linked to depleted ceramide levels. Ceramides are naturally found in skin and when ceramide levels are low, skin has difficulty retaining moisture. Moisturizers with ceramides can help to replenish skin’s ceramide levels, repair the moisture barrier, and help to maintain a healthy moisture barrier with regular use.
Now that you know therapeutic moisturizers are the best for meeting the needs of dry, sensitive skin, how do you find one in the store? The skincare aisle can be overwhelming, and with so many different brands and products on the market, identifying the best moisturizer can be challenging. The best way to identify a high quality therapeutic moisturizer is to look for some key callouts on the bottle:
- Claims such as “Clinically Proven…”
- Dermatologist Tested, Recommended, or Developed
- Ingredients like Ceramides
- Credentials from skin health organizations
There are many benefits to using a therapeutic moisturizer, especially in the cooler months. The key here is to use it daily. Remember, a healthy skin barrier replenishes itself every two weeks, so it’s important to apply your therapeutic moisturizer regularly. By following these tips and finding a good therapeutic moisturizer you can have a strong moisture barrier and enjoy healthy, hydrated skin all season long.
For more information on how cooler air physically affects your dry skin, click here.