Managing Dry Skin As We Age

When it comes to managing dry skin, understanding what causes it and how to best resolve it can save you a lot of time and money.
Managing dry skin

Whether you’ve sailed past your forties without your skin getting dryer or you’re experiencing it now, it’s almost certain that half of us will get dry skin in our lifetime. There’s no cure for dry skin, but there are things you can do to manage it. The key is to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. When this happens, we must manage dry skin as we age with care. Here are a few tips.

Managing Dry Skin As We Age

Dry red skin on arms

Dry skin is a common problem as we age. But there are things we can do to subside the pain. According to AARP, more than 50 percent of women age 40 and older deal with dry skin. Dry skin is one of the most common skin conditions. It’s also one of the most frustrating to deal with because there’s no cure for dry skin. You can only treat it. It hit me in my late fifties, after menopause, and I found some relief from my dermatologist.

During my last dermatology visit, the PA mentioned that my back was super dry, with dry spots everywhere. She told me if I took warm showers instead of hot showers, it would help the dry skin on my back. I’ve always taken hot showers because it felt so good on my tired, stressed shoulders. However, since she told me this, I have stopped taking long hot showers and baths. This change has helped my dry skin tremendously.

What Causes Dry Skin The Older We Get?

Dry, chapped lips

In addition to genetics, environmental factors like pollution and harsh weather conditions can cause dry skin. Dry skin is more common during the colder seasons of the year.

But as we age, our bodies produce less oil that compromises our skin barrier and therefore holds less moisture. It’s inevitable at this point. Some experience dry skin more than others.

How Can I Tell If I’m Experiencing Dry Skin?

You’ll know when your skin starts to look dull, harsh with a rough texture, and feels dry and tight, even after you have washed and applied moisturizer. It can be downright miserable, especially if you have flaky patches. Look for these dry patches or flakes on your elbows, arms, legs, behind the knee, back, and inside your arm …they are everywhere. Try not to pick at them, as some can bleed.

If you are experiencing dry skin and are itching quite a bit, it’s best to see a dermatologist. Remember, you can’t see spots on your back, but they can. Make an appointment with a dermatologist if your dry skin is so irritating that you’ll use anything to relieve that itch, like a stick or kitchen utensil!

15 Tips For Managing Dry Skin

Woman putting on lotion after a shower
  1. Protect your skin and cover up more in dry and windy winter weather.
  2. Do not take hot baths and showers; always take warm baths.
  3. Check your soap; stop using harsh chemicals and instead use mild, fragrance-free soap.
  4. When it comes to moisturizers, ensure there are no harsh chemicals. You also may have to apply them several times a day to get the best results.
  5. Check your laundry detergent; again, don’t use harsh chemicals.
  6. After showering, pat dry your skin with a towel, don’t rub because it can irritate and dry out your skin.
  7. Apply moisturizing cream to your body and face as soon as possible after getting out of the bath or shower.
  8. Turn down the heat at night when sleeping. It’s better to cover up with more blankets than to have the heat blowing on you all night.
  9. Try using body oil to relieve dry skin symptoms; this can give you smooth younger-looking skin too.
  10. Using a humidifier in your bedroom at night can help bring back moisture in the air from the heat during the wintertime.
  11. Eat plenty of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, fatty fish, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseed, or take omega-3 supplements. Both can help boost hydration.
  12. Drink lots of water daily.
  13. Eat water-filled foods like lettuce, strawberries, watermelon, and cucumbers.
  14. Using peppermint essential oil in your warm bath may also help with dry, irritated skin.
  15. Also, watch the clothing you wear. Materials that are stiff or certain fibers (think rough wool or certain polyesters) can irritate your skin. I’ve had to stop wearing my favorite pea coat because it aggravates my neck and shoulders.

And two more thoughts I’d like to add. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and always wear sunscreen. If you don’t, you’ll start to see the effects, and you’ll find it’s much harder to fix the issues (puffy eyes, wrinkled skin) they cause than simply prevent them.

By following these simple steps in maintaining soft, smooth skin, you can restore your moisture, bounce back, look like new again, and gain more energy to enjoy life. Try to stick to these tips. Choose three or four now and do the others as you see fit. It might take a few months to feel a difference.

If you have severe dry skin, you may want to seek a professional.

Top Products for Dry Skin

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