Skin-Care Tips

A Derm Says This Post-Shower Mistake Could Be What’s Making Your Skin so Dry

Zoe Weiner

Zoe WeinerDecember 15, 2019

Welcome to Dear Derm, our video series in which dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, shares serious skin-care realness. In each episode, she’ll answer your most burning beauty questions and give you all the tools you need to take your glow game to the next level. See All

Your skin-care routine starts in the shower. Everything from the temperature of the water to the ingredients in your body wash make a significant difference in how your skin feels when you step out. But according to board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, there’s a critical—and common—mistake that people are making after they turn off the water that could be making their skin dry.

In the latest episode of Dear Derm, Dr. Gohara delivers a deep dive into everything you need to know about dry skin—from what could be causing it to exactly the products you should be using to get it to go away.  A few of the common culprits are hardly surprising: a dry environment, harsh ingredients, and physiological factors could all be coming into play. But according to Dr. Gohara, the way you, well, dry off your face after you wash it could be what’s making it feel dehydrated throughout the day.

Bath towels aren’t exactly the smoothest thing to rub all over your skin, and drying off too intensely could compromise your barrier. “We all know that over-exfoliating is a problem. People scrub left and right trying to get rid of pimples, trying to get rid of wrinkles, trying to get rid of this and that. I tell my patients every day, ‘exfoliating is for toilets, not for skin,’” says Dr. Gohara. “Be gentle to your skin.” Her suggestion? Pat your face dry instead of wiping it, then slather on your favorite moisturizer. “That locks in the ambient moisture from the shower for the rest of the day, and then you’ll be good to go,” she says. 

In addition to properly towel drying your face, you also want to make sure the rest of your routine is dry-skin friendly, too. Dr. Gohara says to avoid harsh cleansers, play it slowly and safely with retinol, and be sure to use an oil-based cream to lock in all that moisture. For her favorite dry-skin products, check out the video above, and be sure to join our Beauty Geek Facebook group where Well+Good readers (and editors!) share favorite products of their own.

Want more from Dr. Gohara? These are her favorite drugstore products, plus the ingredient she calls the “LBD” of any skin-care routine.

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