When your skin feels tight and thirsty, it means you’re going through a dry spell. It may also be itchy, red, flaky or in extreme cases, cracked. “Dry skin occurs when environmental or internal factors strip the skin of its natural oils,” says Jensen Yeung, a dermatologist at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. Usually, harsh soaps and lack of hydration are the culprits.
The routine Yeung suggests using a rich daily moisturizing lotion all over your body two to three times a day. Focus on areas of the skin that tend to be drier, such as elbows, knees, hands and feet. Shower gels and lotions that contain petroleum, cocoa butter, natural oatmeal or shea butter also provide long-lasting moisture and help to soothe dry skin.
The antidotes St. Ives Oatmeal and Shea butter Moisturizing Body Wash, $7. RoC Hydra+24hComfort Hydrating cream, $30. Avene Gentle Milk Cleanser, $27.
We all wish acne ended with high school. One major cause of adult acne is hormonal activity due to stress. Dainelle Edwards, Dermalogica‘s education director, explains that sebaceous glands (which produce the skin’s oil) are very sensitive to androgens, which are stress hormones. Increased stress means increased oil, and this can lead to blockages in the skin, resulting in blackheads and breakouts.
The routine “Exfoliation is a must,” says Edwards. “It helps clear the skin of dead cells that trap the oil and lead to blackheads and pimples.” For faster results, try treating breakouts with medicated products that contain salicylic acid. Anti-inflammatory products will also help the healing process and reduce excess oil.
If your acts up or burns easily, you may fall into the sensitive category. Common triggers include harsh or heavily scented products, water that’s too hot or too cold, sun exposure, drying cleansers and pollution. “People with fair skin are more likely to suffer from sensitivity than those who are darker-skinned,” says Yeung.
The routine The best way to help sensitive skin is to avoid products and ingredients that may irritate it. “Look for products that are hypoallergenic and don’t contain harsh chemicals, to prevent reactions,” says Yeung.