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The dermatologist-approved reason to apply body oil *before* you shower


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Photo: Stocksy/Nadine Greeff
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Not to get all Games of Thrones on you (because I actually don’t watch that show), but winter is coming. And although I may be a fan of the lower temperatures, my skin is not. My entire body gets so dry and flaky (and my face does, too). That’s exactly why I religiously apply some kind of body oil daily, to help hold moisture in my skin.

However, while I’d been over here diligently slathering it on every night post-shower, my own dermatologist, Michele Farber, M.D., of Schweiger Dermatology in New York City, told me that I actually needed to reorder my regimen. Apparently, you should apply your body oil before you shower instead.

“By applying body oil before you shower, you’re creating a barrier between your skin and the shower water.”

Seems crazy, right? Well, it turns out that if you like piping-hot showers like me, you could be stripping your skin of its natural oils with those higher temps, explains Dr. Farber, and once those are gone, water evaporates more quickly from your skin. “By applying body oil before you shower, you’re creating a barrier between your skin and the shower water, preventing the skin from drying out faster,” she says. That’s because oils contain occlusive agents, which increase skin’s hydration levels by providing a physical barrier to keep it from losing any water.

Dr. Farber’s one word of caution, though? “Make sure you have a bath mat so you don’t slip.”  Which is probably the most important advice of all, because you know, safety first.

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