"My skin differs from my body to my face. My face is kind of oily, but when it gets to my arms, and my legs it's pretty dry," said Toles.
Her legs get even more scaly and rough when it's dry and windy.
"During the winter months my skin does change a little bit," said Toles.
Dermatologists told Dara to now think of her skin as her body's safety net.
"You want to keep the bad stuff out, let the good stuff in," said dermatologist, Dr. Ranella Hirsch.
When the barrier is functioning properly, skin cells are plump and hydrated, forming a tight seal. This helps fight off allergens and prevents infection.
But when the barrier is damaged in any way, for example, with dry skin or acne skin, cells will de-hydrate.
"So instead of being plump, the skins begin to separate and shrink, creating gaps that irritants, allergens and infectious material can freely penetrate," said dermatologist, Dr. Richard Fried.
Infectious material including staph and herpes simplex. A damaged skin seal can also inflame existing conditions like psoriasis, acne and eczema. The good news is that there are easy ways to protect yourself.
"Some of the techniques that we talk about with patients are making sure not to use any products that strip the skin, so we tend to avoid using any perfumed products, scratchy sort of scrubs," said Dr. Hirsch.
Moisturizing is also important. A variety of products can be found right at your local drug store, including some that contain ceramides.
"Ceramides are natural components or constituents of our skin that allow the skin to stay hydrated or moisturized, and allow the skin to function well," said Dr. Fried.
"We also recommend shorter showers, not a hot bath. Hot baths tend to take the little bit of moisture the skin has and actually remove it," said Dr. Hirsch.
After showering, seal in the moisture with a lotion. Dara says all these tips are finally giving her relief.
"I don't tear up my skin by itching," said Dara.
If over the counter remedies aren't working, there may be something a dermatologist can give you in a prescription strength that will provide some relief.
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