The big mistake you make when putting on lotion after a shower

Worried you’re not making the most of your body lotions? With colder weather right at our doorstep, it’s important now more than ever to make sure not only that you’re moisturizing, but that you’re doing it right. After all, winter is the season for dry skin. And if the idea of applying moisturizing incorrectly has stopped you in your tracks, don’t worry — it did for us too.

As it turns out, there is a specific way that we should be moisturizing our bodies in order to get the most out of our lotions, and to see the best results possible. Indeed, it’s likely you’ve been skipping right over the opportune moment that your skin is most craving that luscious moisture from your favorite body cream. And it’s at this moment that your skin will be most receptive to the lotion you give it.

Moisturizing your damp skin is key

Picture this: it’s a cold winter day, and you’ve just hopped out of the shower. It’s cold in your house — and even colder outside — and all you want to do is get yourself dry and into a nice warm bathrobe. Well, we’re going to stop you right there — before you throw off that towel and throw on your warmest clothes, take a moment to observe your skin. It’s damp, not wet. This is the moment you’re going to want to moisturize! Right after you get out of the shower and right before your skin is fully dry is the best time to put on that lotion, as your skin will be most receptive to the moisturizing qualities while it’s slightly damp (via Lifesavvy). 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “Applying moisturizer after a bath is absolutely key because it provides an artificial barrier that can help prevent water loss and also keep out agents bacteria, viruses, and irritants that we don’t want to get into the skin. After a bath, moisturizer should be applied very quickly. Before applying the moisturizer, we like to gently pat the skin but leave the skin feeling damp so that we’re not totally stripping off the moisture that we get from the water.”

Your moisturizing technique might be off

But just because you’ve got the timing right doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve nailed down the technique. We all love a piping hot shower, especially during those colder months. But as it turns out, this might not be the best thing for your skin. Even if you moisturize at the ideal time, the hot water has the capability to strip your skin of its already existing moisture.

“Keep in mind that moisturizers should be gently massaged into the skin to increase blood circulation which can help with the absorption of the product,” NYC dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel explains. “Rubbing the skin too hard can cause over exfoliation and lead to breakouts” (via Martha Stewart). While moisturizing the skin can breed some instant, superficial results, dermatologists advise waiting at least 30 days to see if your new skincare routine has had the effects you desire. If not, try changing up your process or using products with less fragrance and more hyaluronic acid for the face, and thicker body butters for the body (via the Independent UK).

And our final tip? Try leaving your body butter in the shower!

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