Dry skin occurs when skin doesn’t retain sufficient moisture. This can happen as a result of frequent bathing, use of harsh soaps, aging, or certain medical conditions. And for those in colder climates, it can stem from cold, dry winter air.
Here are some practical solutions.
1 Limit yourself to one 5- to 10-minute bath or shower daily. If you bathe more than that, you may strip away much of the skin’s oily layer and cause it to lose moisture. Use lukewarm rather than hot water, which can wash away natural oils.
2 Minimize your use of soaps; if necessary, choose moisturizing preparations such as Dove, Olay, and Basis, or consider soap-free cleansers like Cetaphil, Oilatum-AD, and Aquanil. Steer clear of deodorant soaps, perfumed soaps, and alcohol products, which can strip away natural oils.
3 To avoid damaging the skin, stay away from bath sponges, scrub brushes, and washcloths. If you don’t want to give them up altogether, be sure to use a light touch. For the same reason, pat or blot (don’t rub) the skin when toweling dry.
4 Use moisturizer immediately after bathing or washing your hands. This helps plug the spaces between your skin cells and seal in moisture while your skin is still damp.
5 To reduce the greasy feel of petroleum jelly and thick creams, rub a small amount into your hands and then rub it over the affected areas until neither your hands nor the affected areas feel greasy.
6 Never, ever scratch. Most of the time, a moisturizer can control the itch. You can also use a cold pack or compress to relieve itchy spots.
7 Use fragrance-free laundry detergents and avoid fabric softeners.
8 Avoid wearing wool and other fabrics that can irritate the skin.