3 Habits that irritate your skin too much – from dermatological practice

There are certain skin care habits that we all know are not great for your skin: such as going to bed without removing your make-up, insufficient sun protection when you are at the water/beach or washing your face with a regular block of hand soap. These are quite logical examples, but there are other habits that are not always good for your skin. These then fall under the heading of ‘bad habits’ for your skin barrier.

Just a dermatological refresher, what is your skin barrier?

Basically, the skin barrier is your skin’s natural protection mechanism against external factors. This barrier consists of several components, such as the sebum layer, the acidity and the skin microbiome. The sebum layer, also known as sebum, is an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands in your skin. This layer ensures that moisture is retained and prevents the skin from drying out.

The acidity of your skin, also known as pH value, plays an important role in maintaining the skin barrier. Healthy acidity is between 4.5 and 5.5 and helps protect the skin from harmful bacteria and infections. The skin microbiome consists of billions of good bacteria that keep the skin healthy and protect it against external factors.

However, the ecosystem of your skin barrier can be disrupted by various influences from the inside and outside. For example, stress, poor nutrition, medicines and poor sleep can have a negative impact on your skin barrier. Seasonal changes and the use of heating or air conditioning can also affect the skin barrier. When this happens, it can lead to a whole host of problems, including dryness, redness, and skin irritation.

A well-functioning skin barrier is therefore essential for healthy skin. It is therefore important to protect and support the skin barrier. You can do this by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as enough sleep, a healthy diet and sufficient exercise. In addition, it is important to care for the skin with products that support the skin barrier, such as a mild cleanser, a moisturizing cream and a sunscreen with a high SPF. A good skin care routine can help restore and strengthen the skin barrier.

One of the habits – body lotion on dry skin

A body lotion spreads nicely, does not stick and absorbs ‘well’. But did you know that it makes the skin drier? A body lotion contains more water compared to a cream or ointment. Because it contains relatively more water, it glides more smoothly over the skin, but water evaporates on the skin. Evaporation drains more moisture from the skin leading to drier skin. Dryer skin will flake, then itch and finally it can become eczematous. The dermatological diagnosis is then made: asteatotic eczema, eczema based on and dry skin.

A cream or ointment is often more effective than a lotion or body milk due to the difference in water content and consistency:

  1. Water content: Lotions and body milks usually have a higher water content. This water evaporates quickly when exposed to air, which can lead to temporary hydration of the skin, but also to moisture loss over time.
  2. Consistency: Creams and ointments have a thicker consistency and contain less water. This allows them to better retain moisture in the skin and form a more effective barrier to prevent evaporation of the skin’s natural moisture.
  3. Deeper hydration: Creams and ointments penetrate deeper into the skin and provide long-lasting hydration, while lotions and body milks often remain more on the skin’s surface.

Iconic Elements Natural Moisturizer Cream provides a triple action to effectively hydrate and nourish dry skin:

  1. Natural Balm: This cream contains a natural balm. This balm acts as a protective layer on the skin, locking in moisture and preventing water from evaporating from the skin. This keeps the skin hydrated and supple.
  2. Ceramides and Squalane: Iconic Elements Natural Moisturizer Cream contains ceramides and squalane. Ceramides are natural lipids in the skin that help strengthen the skin barrier and retain moisture. Squalane is a light, non-greasy oil that penetrates deep into the skin and provides hydration without clogging pores. Together they contribute to a healthy moisture balance in the skin.
  3. Glycerin: This is a humectant that attracts and retains moisture in the upper layers of the skin. This helps to keep the skin well hydrated and reduce moisture loss.

By combining these three components, Iconic Elements Natural Moisturizer Cream provides intensive hydration and helps repair dry skin, leaving it feeling supple and comfortable.

Hot or frequent showering

Hot shower is soothing to your mind. A morning ritual to wake up and in the evening to relax.

Hot water is really something that can be harmful to the skin, it can strip your skin of essential lipids and proteins and your skin’s acidity is disrupted. This makes it much easier to lead to drier skin, disruption of your skin microbiome and eczema.

Ideally, your shower should be warm (not too hot) and short. If you really can’t live without those steamy showers, try to keep it short. Make sure you use a moisturizing cream, ointment or oil to restore your skin barrier.

Exfoliate frequently

Habits That Irritate Your Skin

Scrubbing or exfoliating your skin too much. Exfoliate your skin to remove superficial dead skin cells. This ensures that your skin looks fresher.

If you have a normal or a oily skin, you can exfoliate 2-3 times a week. Is the skin sensitive limit it to a maximum of 2 x per week.

There are several ways to exfoliate your skin. 1. sugar, salt or plastic microbeats scrubs – the latter is less sustainable and bad for the environment 2. fruit acids – AHA, BHA, glycolic acid, salicylic acid and 3. brushes.

Brushes work well but can irritate the skin more.

For those with sensitive skin build it up gently and start once a week and with low-concentrated fruit acid such as BHA.

Signs of over-exfoliation are: dry skin, irritation, redness, burning, shine on the skin without skin care cream and sometimes also pustules because the skin barrier is disrupted.

Bonus: Citrus juice mask – from your Do It Yourself list

A peeling to prepare your skin for spring by removing your excess skin cells. Citrus fruit is sometimes used in face masks or peeling to make it smell nice. The nice fresh scent is limonene, one of the components of citrus fruits. But at the same time, it can cause a skin allergy for many people. And also certain substances in citrus fruits in combination with sunlight can cause a photo-toxic skin reaction. This skin reaction is accompanied by redness, itching and sometimes blisters after several hours in the sun. Limonene-containing skin care products that you buy at the store are balanced and low in concentration.

Mioduszewski M, Beecker J. Phytophotodermatitis From Making Sangria: A Phototoxic Reaction To Lime And Lemon Juice.


Mioduszewski M, Beecker J. Phytophotodermatitis from making sangria: a phototoxic reaction to lime and lemon juice. CMAJ. 2015;187(10):756.

While you are here

The skin flakes, it is dry and itchy. What is this, do I have eczema or very dry skin? There are some clues to tell these two skin conditions apart. The major difference between dry skin and eczema is the presence of inflammation (inflammation). In eczema, the skin barrier does not work properly, which leads to moisture loss from the skin and disturbances in the top layer of skin (epidermis). If your skin is red, itchy, and flaky, it’s probably more than just dry skin and you probably have eczema.

Another important clue between eczema and dry skin is that eczema gets worse if not treated properly. It can then lead to other complaints such as tears, cracks, skin thickening and intense itching. People with eczema are also more prone to skin infections due to a disrupted skin barrier. More on: do I have eczema or very dry skin.

Picture of Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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