We can practically feel the peeling now.
To keep your skin from drying out even more than it already will this winter, we are giving you the necessary deets on what chemicals will leave your skin more parched. Our tip? Avoid them like the plague and moisturize up. Even if you think you moisturized enough, moisturize some more. And then maybe a little bit more.
According to Al-Nisa Ward, a cosmetic chemist and president and owner of Cosmetic Science and Innovation, dry skin happens when your skin's natural barriers are impaired. Without our skin's basic defenses, toxins can enter into our bodies and moisture can leave. As a result, we're left with flaky skin that can get red and irritated. All of this can be caused by, you guessed it, the weather. But many of our favorite products have chemicals that make all of winter's nastiness even worse. To avoid becoming the human equivalent of the Sahara, stay away from these chemicals in your lotions and cleansers.
1. AlcoholMore products than you know have alcohol, and it can be super damaging to skin already prone to dryness. Used occasionally to help fight acne or help a product's ingredients penetrate into the skin, alcohol is found in a lot of gels and lotions. According to Women's Health, the best way to avoid drunken and dry skin is to stick with thicker creams and read the label on your fave lotions.
To check the ingredients of your fave products, you can always head to the Environmental Work Group's Skin Deep Database for a full list of chemicals.
2. Salicylic AcidYou have to be careful with this one! Salicylic acid is a great exfoliant that can help treat dry skin, but it can also make dry skin worse. If you're looking to get this chemical over the counter, check with your dermatologist to see if it will make itchy, flaky skin more irritated.
3. Fragrances and PreservativesWe love a good cucumber melon scented lotion, but certain scents and preservatives can also leave skin parched. If you're allergic to fragrance compounds in lotions or makeup, be sure to stay away from them come the winter. Fragrances and preservatives are the most common causes of allergic reactions and can make your skin a desert-like mess.
4. Benzoyl PeroxideLike alcohol, benzoyl peroxide is a major component in acne-fighting creams and cleansers. But in order to get rid of acne, most solutions will try to dry skin out to defeat the bacteria foe. If you're not trying to combat zits and oily skin, stay away from benzoyl peroxide. And if you have combination skin, talk to your derm about solutions that will work for your drier patches.
Beyond looking into product chemicals, Al-Nisa says it's important to limit your shower times. (Yes, we're bummed too.)
"Avoid extended time in the shower and avoid using really hot water," she told Cambio. "The heat from the shower in combination with soap strip the skin's naturally produced oils."
How to Get Moisture BackWhen on the hunt for the best moisturizer, Al-Nisa had some tips for chemicals that will help refresh your skin.
"Choose a moisturizer that contains emollients and humectants," she said. "Emollients include natural oils that provide some [protection]...Humectants are substances that attract and promote water retention, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin and urea."
Petroleum jelly is also a good idea because it prevents your skin from losing moisture. Our best tip? Use your moisturizer right after you shower. This will lock in some of the water that got you nice and clean and keep you from drying out.