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Remedies for Itchy Dry Skin

Remedies for Itchy Dry Skin Remedies for Itchy Dry Skin Remedies for Itchy Dry Skin

Skin does not become dry because of lack of moisture. It dries out as a result of insufficient sebum, the oil created by sebaceous glands to protect and lubricate hair and skin. Without sebum, skin can tear and crack, causing it to feel itchy. A secondary effect of insufficient sebum is that, without its protective barrier, moisture evaporates from skin, causing skin to become dehydrated and exacerbating the itchy feeling of dry skin.

Oil Replacement

The first step in combating itchy dry skin is to replace the lost oil. It is important to choose the correct product, however, as different formulations deliver different benefits to skin. Creams are oil-in-water formulations, meaning that there is less oil than water. Lotions are made of powder crystals dissolved in water. The high water content in creams and lotions temporarily relieves skin but, without oil to act as a barrier on skin, the water will quickly evaporate. Ointments, on the other hand, may be the most effective treatment for itchy, dry skin, as they are water-in-oil formulations. This means that water beads are suspended in an oil base, and therefore there is more oil than water. Aquaphor is a popular ointment, though petroleum jelly, or even the application of a small amount of castor oil, can be equally effective.

Over-the-Counter Medications

When itching is intense or persistent, the topical application of corticosteroids may provide relief. recommends trying an over-the-counter product containing at least 1 percent hydrocortisone to stop the itch. A variety of over-the-counter medicated ointments contain hydrocortisone for the itch and supply oil to treat dryness.

Bathing Remedies

Hot water breaks down skin's protective acid mantle. Likewise, harsh soaps, dyes, perfumes and fragrances can break down sebum. Switching to a soap-free product that cleanses without stripping the oil barrier, such as Purpose, Aveeno Cleansing Bar for Dry Skin, or Cetaphil, can greatly benefit dry, itchy skin. Taking short, cool, showers rather than hot baths helps. People who prefer baths can use cool water, or at least not hot water. Adding either 2 cups uncooked colloidal oatmeal or baking soda to the bath water and staying in the water no more than 15 minutes are also helpful. Blotting skin gently after the bath and applying an oil-rich ointment within a few minutes of bathing will help lock in moisture and replenish the oil barrier that skin needs.

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