How to Alleviate Dry Skin
Dry skin is rarely serious, but it can cause itching and flaking and hasten the development of fine lines and wrinkles. In severe cases, it can lead to deep, painful cracks in the skin that are prone to infection. Treating dry skin involves avoiding aggravating factors and restoring moisture to the skin. Consult your doctor if your dry skin is persistent or severe or if you develop inflammation or other symptoms.
Bathe in lukewarm water and opt for mild cleansers formulated for dry skin. The National Institutes of Health recommends washing with these types of products and using soap only when necessary. Showering in hot water removes the protective oils naturally found on your skin that hold in moisture, according to the University of Iowa.
Pat your skin dry after bathing with a soft towel. Rubbing your skin can increase dryness and itching.
Change your skin care products and cosmetics if you believe they may be contributing to your dry skin. Products containing alcohol are especially drying.
Wear gloves when cleaning, as the harsh chemicals found in many cleaning products can cause the skin on your hands and arms to become extremely dry. If you frequently wash dishes throughout the day, wear gloves or switch to an automatic dishwasher.
Lather moisturizer on your dry skin three or more times each day. Moisturizing immediately after exiting the bath or shower will help your skin hold moisture. Oil-based moisturizers are generally more effective than water-based lotions for very dry skin, but these products may contribute to breakouts if used on acne-prone areas.
Exfoliate two to three times per week with a fine-grained product or loofah sponge to remove accumulated dead skin cells. This will enable your moisturizing lotion to better penetrate your skin and will decrease itching and flaking.
Increase your fluid intake and use a humidifier inside your home and office. Central heating and cooling symptoms can decrease environmental humidity levels and dry out your skin.
Wear sunscreen every time you are outdoors, even during the winter months. Choose soft, natural fibers when buying clothes to prevent irritating your skin. Natural fibers, such as silk and cotton, also allow your skin to breathe and can help alleviate dry skin.
Consult your doctor if your dry skin fails to respond to home treatment. Sometimes, dry skin may indicate the presence of an underlying medical condition, such as hypothyroidism or psoriasis. Treating the underlying problems should alleviate your symptoms.
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