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What Are the Treatments for Dry, Itchy Skin?

What Are the Treatments for Dry, Itchy Skin?

Treatments for dry skin that flakes and itches must be based on the cause, not just symptoms, to avoid further damage from temporary or chronic conditions. For instance, cosmetic products that include rosewater or glycerin, which are gentle for most skin types, increase dryness and itching in people with atopic dermatitis, a type of chronic eczema. This is why doctors at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommend identifying the cause before selecting skin care treatments to clear up general symptoms of dry skin and itching.

Seasonal Skin Care

Dry, itchy skin can arise from moisture loss caused by sun or wind exposure, or from a heat rash caused by excessive sweating. Sun or wind burn may be treated with cool cleansing or compresses followed by the use of moisturizing cosmetic products, such as creams or lotions. The AAD recommends a moisturizing ointment, which has the highest oil content, for very dry skin.

If you have a heat rash, Mayo Clinic skin care experts report that simply avoiding further sweating will allow the skin to calm itself and resolve dryness and itching in about a week. Use air conditioning and refrain from physical exertion. If you must be in a hot, humid environment, wear moisture-wicking clothing.

Dry Skin from Allergies

Skin reactions to allergens in cosmetic products, poisonous plants and other substances cause inflammation and dryness. Painful red bumps or blisters may be present. Pointing your treatment at the cause of allergic contact dermatitis is important, and you may need a dermatologist's help in determining the source. Severe rashes may require prescription anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drugs.

If you have come in contact with poison ivy or another known allergen, the AAD recommends home treatment with cool compresses and topical hydrocortisone cream. Keep blistered or broken skin covered with bandages. If you suspect an allergy to a cosmetic product, avoid using it. Products that contain fragrance and artificial color are the most likely to cause allergic reactions, according to the AAD.

Itchy Skin from Eczema

Chronic skin conditions in the eczema family require ongoing skin care to reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups. Your doctor may prescribe creams, medication or light therapy to treat inflammation and immune system imbalance.

Home care will help to keep bouts of itchiness at bay. The AAD advises simple cleansing and moisturizing for eczema cases such as atopic dermatitis, but you should get a dermatologist's's advice on which personal care products are safe for you to use. Daily cleansing and moisturizing both treats dry, itchy skin and strengthens its natural moisture barrier.

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