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Dryness on the body is a common concern that occurs when your skin loses too much water, which can happen for a variety of different reasons—such as a deficiency in ceramides, environmental influences, harsh skincare products, certain medications, and aging. Keep reading to discover CeraVe’s easy-to-follow daily body care routine to help deliver moisture and support your skin’s protective barrier.

Dry Skin Tips for Your Body Care Routine

  • Help minimize the drying effects of bathing by taking warm (not hot) baths or showers, and limiting bathing time to 5-10 minutes.1
  • Harsh soaps and cleansers may deplete moisture levels. Look for hydrating body cleansers and soaps that are gentle, fragrance-free, developed with dermatologists, and non-drying.
  • Apply moisturizer immediately after bathing or washing your hands to help seal in much-needed moisture.
  • Look for deeply hydrating body moisturizers and healing ointments that are formulated with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, as well as ceramides to help restore and maintain your skin’s protective barrier.
  • Opt for comfortable clothing made from soft materials and choose a hypoallergenic detergent to help avoid potential skin irritation

What Are the Common Causes of Dry Skin?

Dry skin can affect the skin on both your face and body and, although it’s typically worse during the winter months, dry skin can appear seasonally or year-round. Your skin is constantly exposed to environmental irritants and allergens, UV rays, cold temperatures, various household chemicals (such as cleaning supplies), indoor heating, and more. All of these factors—along with genetics, certain medications, or medical conditions—can play a role in causing dry skin. Although it is often temporary (such as seasonal dryness), dry skin on different areas of the body can be uncomfortable.

Some common signs of dry skin include skin that appears dull, rough, flaky, or even scaly. It may also be tight-feeling, itchy, irritated, red, more prone to cracking, and less elastic. Dry skin can vary from person to person and may appear on different areas of the body—including the face, inner elbows, hands, and neck. When in doubt, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist for the best personalized assessment of your skin.

The Difference Between Dry and Dehydrated Skin

Dry skin lacks sufficient oils (sebum) to keep the skin moisturized, whereas dehydrated skin is a temporary state where the skin loses more water than it is taking in. More often than not, dehydrated skin comes and goes, depending on the environmental influences (such as the changing seasons), whereas dry skin is considered a skin type. In either case, the right skincare routine and habits can help you support your skin’s protective barrier and restore healthy-looking skin.

To learn more about these differences, check out CeraVe’s Dry Skin Tips: Is My Skin Dry or Dehydrated.

An Easy Body Care Routine for Dry Skin

To help effectively moisturize dry skin and achieve improved levels of hydration, it will require a consistent routine both in the morning and at night. CeraVe’s easy-to-follow body care routine focuses on ceramide-formulated products that are gentle, fragrance-free, and developed by dermatologists. Here are five steps to incorporate into your body care routine for dry skin.

Step 1. Begin With a Hydrating Body Cleanser

The path to restoring hydrated, healthy-looking skin should ideally start in the shower. Although it can be tempting to skip this step if your skin is uncomfortably dry, it’s important to thoroughly remove dirt, oil, and other debris—and begin your routine with fresh, clean skin. This is why the first step in your body care routine should include a hydrating body cleanser that gently cleanses and comforts your skin, while helping it attract and retain moisture.

CeraVe Hydrating Body Wash is a gentle foaming formula that helps cleanse and refresh the skin, while also helping to restore the skin’s natural protective barrier. To use this non-comedogenic formula, simply wet your skin with lukewarm water and massage it into your skin in a gentle, circular motion. Remember to limit shower time and try to keep temperatures warm, rather than hot, to help minimize the drying effects of bathing.

Step 2. Apply a Moisturizing Body Cream

Once your skin is cleansed, gently pat yourself dry and immediately follow-up with a moisturizing body cream, such as CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. This cream’s unique formula, with hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides, effectively hydrates the skin and helps restore its natural barrier. Restoring barrier function is particularly important, since dry skin is the result of a compromised skin barrier. When applying your moisturizing cream, the trick is to apply your moisturizer as soon as possible after bathing or washing your hands—ideally no more than a few minutes afterwards—to help trap existing moisture in the skin.

For extremely dry skin, we suggest a deeply hydrating ointment, such as CeraVe Healing Ointment. This lightweight yet intensely hydrating ointment can be applied as needed to protect and help relieve extremely chafed, chapped, or cracked skin.

Step 3. Use a Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen (In the Morning)

Daily sun protection is an essential part of any skincare regimen, and this is equally true for anyone struggling with dry skin. As the next step in your body care routine, apply CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 Body Lotion. This 100% mineral sunscreen includes broad-spectrum SPF 50 to help protect your skin from the damaging effects of UVA and UVB rays. It’s formulated with ceramides, ​​titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide to help form a protective barrier over your skin.

Apply this product liberally 15 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply at least every 2 hours (or as needed when swimming or spending extended periods of time outdoors). To learn more about CeraVe’s mineral sunscreens, visit our article on the differences between mineral vs chemical sunscreens.

Step 4. Apply Extra Moisture To Targeted Areas (At Night)

For areas in need of extra care, add an additional layer of moisture in the evening. You can do this by applying another body moisturizer to the driest areas of your skin at nighttime. If frequent hand-washing, cleaning, and other common daily activities are taking a toll on your hands, you can also apply a therapeutic hand cream at this step in your routine. CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream helps prevent and temporarily protect chafed, chapped, or cracked skin, alleviate dryness, and help restore your protective skin barrier.

Step 5. Take Care of Itchy Patches

Dry skin tends to become itchy, which is why the final step in this body care routine is to target itchy patches with an anti-itch treatment—like CeraVe Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream. This fragrance-free anti-itch cream helps temporarily soothe itchiness. It contains 1% hydrocortisone (the maximum strength available without a prescription), as well as essential ceramides and other hydrating and soothing ingredients. To use this anti-itch cream, apply it to the affected area no more than three to four times per day, and consult with your doctor if itching persists for more than seven days.

No matter which products you choose to include in your body care routine, CeraVe products are always rooted in the science of dermatology and formulated with fatty acids, three essential ceramides, and other lipids to hydrate, lock in moisture, and help maintain the skin’s natural barrier. Remember to seek the help of a dermatologist if dry skin is consistently uncomfortable or if symptoms persist.

To learn more about dry skin, explore this helpful guide on how to choose a facial cleanser for dry skin.

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