Five ways to treat dry skin

Cool winds, low humidity and central heating, can cause skin to lose moisture and leave it more prone to itchy and sometimes painful conditions such as severe dry skin and eczema. Dr. Michael Freeman, Principal Dermatologist at the Gold Coast’s Skin Centre, shares his top tips on how to keep skin naturally supple and healthy this winter.

  1. Consider natural products containing Manuka Honey

Honey has been used in skin care, wound care and healing for centuries. Medical grade Manuka honey is produced under strictly controlled conditions and may be applied to cracked and inflamed skin such as eczema to assist with control of skin colonising bacteria associated with eczema. Manuka honey creams with soothing ingredients including aloe vera and chamomile may provide symptomatic relief of eczema.

  1. Avoid added fragrances

Fragrance isn’t just for perfume – artificial scents can also be found in everyday products. Added fragrances in hand lotions, body washes and shower gels may smell lovely but the chemicals or oils may irritate sensitive skin. Look for labels that say no added fragrance and try to stick with the most natural products possible, as any added chemicals may irritate or dry out your skin.

  1. Moisturise often

Irritated skin is always worse when it’s dry and cracking. To avoid it getting to this point, moisturise your whole body straight after bathing, and any time you wash your hands, to lock in the moisture and avoid the skin drying out. Look for those containing antibacterial Manuka Honey, aloe vera and chamomile to provide long-lasting hydration.

  1. Avoid the preservative Methylisothiazolinone {MI}

Read labels rigorously and try to use products that are free from chemical preservatives, especially MI which often triggers flare ups. MI can be in anything from makeup, to lotions, to shampoos and body washes. If you’re confused or overwhelmed, go to a chemist and ask the staff to help you find products that are MI free. They should be able to show you a range of products at many different price points and help you find what’s right for your needs.

  1. Keep it simple

You don’t need an eight step face cleansing routine or to use five different hand lotions targeting different problems throughout the day. Find a simple, fragrance and paraben free skincare routine that works for you and your skin and stick to it. A cleanser, face moisturiser, body moisturiser, shampoo, conditioner and body wash should be all you need to keep your skin in top condition without drying it out.

About Dr Michael Freeman

Dr Michael Freeman is the principal Dermatologist at The Skin Centre, specialising in Cosmetic and Laser Dermatology.

He has more than 30 years’ experience in the medical field. In addition to his position at The Skin Centre, Dr Freeman is the Director of Dermatology at the Gold Coast Hospital, a visiting Dermatologist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, and is an Associate Professor of Dermatology at Bond University. He is also a member of the Skin and Cancer Foundation of Queensland and an international member of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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