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Cleanse Your Skin Without Drying
Dry Skin Care Tips
By Debbie Steele

The challenge here is to find a gentle, effective cleanser thatís not totally boring! When I went to a dermatologist about my chronic dry skin, she recommended Dove Beauty Bar for sensitive skin.

I used that faithfully for a year or more. It is mild, and reasonably priced (although a bar doesnít last long,) but it is pretty unexciting. Happily, I have found some more interesting options that are also acceptably gentle.

Iíve recently begun to prefer shower gels to bar soaps, and there are some nice ones available. Hereís one thing Iíve learned: Donít pay much attention to hefty price tags or labels claiming that a product is moisturizing, hydrating, for very dry skin, etc.

Step one is to read the label. Iím amazed (appalled?) that so many start off basically the same. The first ingredient is usually water (or de-ionized water or water infused with various herbs, or even "aqua").

Frequently, the second ingredient listed is the cleanser (usually something ending in "sulfate" such as sodium laureth sulfate or ammonium laureth sulfate).

When I see those as the first two ingredients, I usually donít read much further, but conclude that Iím looking at a pretty standard cleansing gel that could be drying to my skin.

What I look for instead are products that list a sulfate cleanser further down the ingredient list, or not at all. Happily, Iíve discovered several gels that meet this criterion, including some drugstore brands.

Drugstore Brands

One nice option is Aveeno Oatmeal Body Wash (12oz for about $7.00), available fragrance-free or with a mild, honey-like fragrance. Aveenoís ingredient list starts off with water and glycerin, with the cleanser further down the list.

One quirk about this body wash: it has sort of a gloppy consistency, perhaps because of its colloidal oatmeal. Aveeno products are widely available, including online.

Another good drugstore option is Doveís Nutrium Body Wash (12oz for about $6.50). It is available in two formulas: Nourishing, which is pink with a fairly heavy mass-market-baby-powder scent, and Age-Defying, with an equally heavy mass-market-green kind of fragrance (I used the "Age-Defying" formula on my daughters a few times; I hope it doesnít stunt their growth).

Personally, Iíve been pretty happy with these Dove gels, although their fragrances start to seem unimaginative pretty quickly. Dove products are available almost everywhere.

Okay, so when youíre bored with the drugstore brands but still want to go easy on your skin, there is hope.

Gentle Options

First, check out the nice shower gels from Shikai (reviewed in an earlier article, You Should Try Shikai). The first ingredients in these gels are water and aloe vera gel, followed by the cleanser.

ShiKai Shower Gels
These gels are available in six appealing fragrances (all of which are pretty heavy) and, at $6.50 for 12oz, are no more expensive than the standard drugstore brands. Definitely worth a look.

For more gentle skin care cleansing options including bar soaps and shower gels that won't leave you high and dry, check out Soaps for Sensitive Skin.

[Step 2: Moisturize Your Skin]

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