Should You Use a Body Oil or Moisturizer to Help Dry Winter Skin? Here’s What a Derm Says
Unfortunately, we are no strangers to dry winter skin. The cold temperatures and dry air have a knack for causing those itchy, flaky patches that are oh-so uncomfortable. But with so many products on the market that promise hydrating results, it can be hard to figure out which ones actually do what they say. Should you reach for a body lotion or body oil to help with your dry skin? Ahead, we consulted with board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner M.D., to find out the best methods to hydrate dry skin in the winter.
What’s better to revive dry, winter skin: body oil or moisturizer?
Ultimately, you can use either body oil or moisturizer to revive your dry skin, but if you really want to reap hydrating benefits, it’s best to try both. “While moisturizers have been used traditionally to treat dry skin, body oils are becoming increasingly popular,” says Dr. Zeichner. “Body oils contain emollient ingredients, like fatty acids, to help hydrate and soften the outer skin layer.” In the same breath, some oils lack humectant ingredients, like the ever-so-popular hyaluronic acid, so if you find that your skin is extra dry, Dr. Zeichner says you can also apply a traditional moisturizer in addition to an oil for maximum hydration. And if you’re someone with a naturally oily skin type, don’t worry, you can still use body oils to hydrate your skin. “Many people feel that oily skin types cannot use oil-based skin-care products, which is not true,” explains Dr. Zeichner. “Most of the cosmetic-grade oils used in skin care dry on the skin completely without weighing it down or even causing breakouts.” So, if you’re willing to give it a try, we recommend the Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Nourishing Dry Body Oil for its lightweight texture that leaves skin hydrated and nourished without feeling greasy to the touch.
What are common mistakes people make when moisturizing their body?
When it comes to moisturizing your body, either with a body oil or traditional lotion, there are some common mistakes you’ll want to avoid to get the best results. “The biggest mistake I see patients make is exfoliating dry skin (before moisturizing), which makes dryness even worse,” says Dr. Zeichner. “Exfoliating already dry skin can lead to microscopic cracks in the outer skin layer and loss of hydration. If you still have dry flakes after moisturizing, then you can use a gentle exfoliator.” The Kiehl’s Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub is just what you need to effectively exfoliate your skin without overdrying.
What are the best methods to apply body moisturizer or body oil to retain the most moisture?
“Whether you are using a traditional moisturizer or an oil, apply the product within five minutes of getting out of the shower to lock in hydration,” says Dr. Zeichner. He also says that because some oils can be difficult to spread, in order to avoid using too much product in one area, “it is much better to dot the product on different parts of the body and then rub it in connecting the dots. Applying it this way will allow you to use less product and cover larger areas of skin.”
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