In this article, you will find the best remedies and natural ways to treat dry, itchy, and scaly skin.
When your skin doesn’t retain adequate moisture, your skin becomes dry. This can occur due to using harsh soaps, frequent bathing, aging, and certain medical conditions.
In winter, the air has low humidity, both indoors and outdoors. The water content that your outermost layer of skin retains depends on the humidity in the air around you. If you are living in colder climates, dry winter air can dry out your skin. In very severe cold climates, you may suffer from rough, red, and itchy skin.
Even for people who live in a part of the world where the cold winter is not a concern, they may have to manage dry skin at some point.
The most common symptoms of dry skin are:
(c) Cracks in the skin
Dry Skin Prevention &Treatment
You can do many simple and inexpensive remedies to treat dry skin. Fortunately, lifestyle measures often help in getting relief from dry skin, keeping skin soft and healthy, such as using moisturizers and avoiding long, hot showers and baths.
Lifestyle and Home remedies
The following tricks can help keep your skin moist, soft, and healthy:
Skin moisturizers can rehydrate the top layer of your skin and help seal in the moisture. They are your first step in the battle against dry skin.
Use moisturizer several times a day, particularly when you feel your skin is dry and after bathing or handwashing while your skin is still moist.
Choose moisturizers that have healing ingredients like ceramides, urea, fatty acids and glycerol (also called glycerin), shea butter, and cocoa butter. Go for fragrance-free products that don’t have allergy-causing substances (hypoallergenic) and don’t cause acne (noncomedogenic). Keep away from products that have sodium lauryl sulfate because it’s drying.
For your face and neck, you might like to use a cream. Look for something that’s easy to apply and leaves behind no visible residue. If your skin is acne-prone, never use products on your face that have petroleum jelly, coconut oil, or cocoa butter.
For very dry non-facial skin, you might need to use a thicker moisturizer (Eucerin, Cetaphil, others) or an oil, such as baby oil. They have more staying power than lotions and are more effective in preventing the evaporation of water from the skin’s surface. Another possibility for very dry non-facial skin is a petrolatum-based product (Vaseline, Aquaphor, others). If you feel it’s too greasy, use it at bedtime or just on tiny cracks in your skin. For extremely dry hands, apply petroleum jelly liberally at bedtime and put on plain cotton gloves or socks.
You may have to try several products before you find what you like that helps you.
Use warm (not hot) water in cold weather. In warm weather, use normal water. Limit bathing to once a day and no longer than five minutes; otherwise, your skin will lose the oily layer and moisture, aggravating dryness.
Minimize Use Of Soaps – Use allergen-free moisturizing soap
For showers or baths, use a cleansing cream or shower gel. Use as little soap as possible (preferably moisturizing) only in areas where needed, such as the genitals, groin, and armpits).
For handwashing, use fragrance-free (hypoallergenic) moisturizing soap. Then apply a moisturizing cream while your hands are still damp.
- Avoid harsh soaps, alkaline soaps, perfumed soaps, deodorant soaps, and products that contain alcohol. They can strip away natural oils. Use mild cleansers or baby soaps.
- Use bath oils.
- Oil-based creams or greasy moisturizers are recommended.
- For itchy or severely dry skin, use baby oil or coconut oil. For dry hands, use petroleum jelly.
Gently wash your face not more than twice a day.
Wash your face after sweating with a gentle, nonfoaming, alcohol-free cleanser. Products containing stearic acid (found in shea butter) or linoleic acid (found in argan oil) can help repair your skin. If you have sensitive skin, wash your face with a cleanser once a day in the evening and simply rinse with water other times.
While your skin is still damp, apply moisturizer. Look for a moisturizer that has a broad-spectrum sunscreen or sunblock with an SPF of at least 30. Apply sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours — or more often if you’re sweating or swimming. If you use cosmetics, choose products with a cream or oil base.
Avoid using bath sponges, loofahs, washcloths, pumice stones, and scrub brushes. Use a light touch if you don’t want to give them up altogether. For the same reason, pat (don’t rub) your skin while using a towel.
After you finish bathing or washing your hands, immediately apply moisturizer. This helps seal in moisture while the skin is still damp.
Use a humidifier.
Hot, dry indoor air in the winter can dry out sensitive skin and worsen itching and flaking. Instead, use a humidifier in the winter to add moisture to the air inside your home, which will help replenish moisture to the top layer of your skin.
Wear fabrics that are kind to your skin
Steer clear of wearing wool and other fabrics, as they can irritate your skin. Instead, choose natural fibers, like cotton, to allow your skin to breathe. Wool, though natural, at times can irritate even healthy skin.
For laundry, use detergents without perfumes or dyes. Avoid fabric softeners. They can irritate your skin.
To Relieve itchiness.
If your dry skin is causing itchiness, never scratch. Instead, apply a moisturizer or a clean, cool, damp cloth to the irritating area. You can also apply an anti-itch or cream containing at least 1% hydrocortisone.
Drink plenty of water (at least eight glasses a day) throughout the day to keep you hydrated and increase moisture in your dry skin.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine because they cause the skin to lose moisture, leading to dry skin.
Eat foods high in protein. Vitamins A and C are good for the skin, so eat foods that contain these vitamins (such as carrots and apricots). Include foods in your diet that are high in sulfur (such as asparagus, garlic, onions, and eggs).
If the measures mentioned above don’t relieve your dry skin symptoms or if they worsen, consult your doctor, or check with a dermatologist about creating a personalized skin care plan based on your skin conditions and skin type.