Is the skin on your bod more sensitive than a newborn? I hear you. Every Christmas and birthday, I sit politely while well meaning friends and family gift me with yet another fancy, scented body lotion, scrub or wash that I have no intention of putting anywhere near my psoriasis-prone, easily irritated person. If you also suffer in silence, I suggest you send this list of the six dry, sensitive skin commandments to your smooth-skinned, blissfully unaware nearest and dearest.
#1 – Wash your hair first
I’m sorry, but I am not about to swap my professional hair care prods for 100% natural, fragrance-free ones. And as for the no-poo movement, I would rather be a walking, flaky rash than give up shampoo. However, I do make sure I do my washing and conditioning first, making sure I then wash off the drying, potentially pore-clogging film from my body with a dermatologist-formulated, mild cleanser like Physiogel Daily Moisture Therapy Body Wash. Hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested and pH-balanced, it’s gentle, soap-free and free from fragrances, preservatives and colours. So pretty ace for all skin types, especially a more delicate dermis. And we just so happen to be sampling it this month!
#2 – Avoid soap
I know, I know. Nothing else delivers that squeaky clean sensation, but think about it… Should skin really squeak? Most supermarket soaps are packed full of chemicals and fragrances and can be both drying and irritating, stripping the skin of its natural oils. Opt for a specially formulated gentle cleansing bar or body wash with moisturising ingredients and your dry, itchy skin will thank you.
#3 – Don’t soak for too long, or use hot water
It’s tempting to zone out in a piping hot bath for an hour, or turn up the temperature in the shower after a long, hard day or sweaty workout. But it’s a big no-no for promoting healthy skin, especially if yours resembles the Gobi Desert. Hot water is drying and can deplete natural oils, and in extreme cases scald the skin. In general, lukewarm water is best as skin is not designed to endure extreme temperatures. Hot water on the face and décolletage is particularly unadvisable. And if you’ll be in the bath for a while, you should be adding some nourishing oils to seal in moisture.
Fragrance is a major culprit when it comes to rashes, redness and irritation. They are virtually everywhere, both to mask some of the less sexy ingredients in products and to add a sense of luxury or create an uplifting or calming mood. Natural fragrances can be just as irritating, so take time to read the packaging.
#5 – Slather up
Once out of the shower, it’s important to slap on some hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, nourishing body lotion or more heavy duty cream to keep you soft and supple. Here’s the important part – make sure you do this ASAP while the skin is still damp. This will really help to lock in moisture. One of my favourites is Physiogel’s Daily Moisture Therapy Intensive Cream, which you’ll remember we sampled last month.
#6 – Feed your skin
It’s important to nourish your body from the inside out with a diet rich in essential fatty acids (as well as a variety of vegetables, grains and lean proteins). Eat your way to soft, supple skin by munching on nuts, oily fish, and avocados. And downing two litres of water a day.