10 Strategies for Minimizing Dry Skin
- Avoid wearing itchy uncomfortable clothing
- Avoid Jacuzzi tubs and dry saunas
- Take shorter baths (under 5 minutes) and try to keep the water warm as opposed to hot
- Don’t “over clean” your skin as doing so will strip the natural oils
- Consider using a humidifier so that your body is not exposed to dry air for long periods of time. Winter air frequently causes dry skin as does air from heating
- See your physician if you experience uncomfortably itchy dry skin. Sometimes dry skin can be related to a serious medical disease such as diabetes, hypothyroid, or other condition
- Moisturize your skin, but make sure that you are using moisturizer correctly and using the right type of moisturizer. When you moisturize your skin, apply it to slightly wet skin. Use moisturizer that is thick. Opt for moisturizers that do not have scents
- Minimize your exposure to harsh weather elements and wear sunscreen
- Try dry brushing your skin once a day with a natural bristle brush. The extra exfoliation will allow more moisture to penetrate into the epidermis
- If recommended by your doctor, a lotion containing lactic acid and urea may also help with exfoliation of dry skin and increased epidermal moisture retention
Causes of Dry Skin
Even if you do your best to avoid dry skin, you may still experience dryness at times. If the condition does not seem to be improving, see a dermatologist who can diagnose and treat you effectively. Some of the more common causes of dry skin include
- exposure to dry air
- symptom of an existing medical condition such as diabetes, psoriasis, malnutrition, or hypothyroid
- side effect of certain medications,
- prolonged exposure to hot water
- poor diet with insufficient essential fatty acids
- genetic predisposition
- dehydrating work environments
- age (natural oils in the skin generally help keep skin from becoming dry, but as people age the body does not create as much oil so most people as they get older begin to experience drier skin…and thinner skin)
- exposure to chemicals
Visiting the Dermatologist for help with your dry skin problems
When you visit your dermatologist try to provide information that will assist him in the diagnosis. Write down any medications you are currently taking and keep track of your diet. Note where your body is itchy and whether itchiness is more bothersome at certain time periods during the day or if worse when wearing certain clothing.
Chronic dry skin with inflammation or intolerable itching may be diagnosed as eczema.
Over the counter and RX treatment of dry skin
Often dry skin can be treated with a cream or ointment you can buy over the counter in your local drug store or discount store. Prescription ointments may yield quicker results, but there are many good over-the-counter moisturizers too. Aveeno products, Cerave, Cetaphil and Eucerin are all good quality moisturizers that come in both lotion and cream forms.
If Dr. Pilest does not feel that you need a prescription lotion, he will advise you what key ingredients to seek in a moisturizer or he may recommend a particular brand. You will want ingredients that help your skin retain water (urea). Follow the specific recommended routine, which may include multiple applications throughout the day or applying the product to damp skin.
Dr. Pilest may suggest a medication modification if you are experiencing an allergic reaction. He may also take tests to make sure you are not allergic to certain materials that could trigger dry itchiness. He may recommend that you avoid wearing or exposing your skin to certain materials. If the condition appears to be related to a more serious undiagnosed condition, you will be recommended to a specialist before topical treatments.
In some situations, diet may improve your skin’s condition. Vitamins A and B can help reduce dryness and limiting caffeine can also improve the appearance and condition of your skin. Foods with more fatty acids or zinc may also be recommended to help your skin retain water. Cold water fish oils are now recognized as useful supplements for skin moisture as well as for internal health.
Sometimes changing your skin care products can improve the condition of your skin. Harsh soaps and deodorants can dry out your skin. Deodorant soaps can be especially drying. You don’t really need deodorant soap on your entire body as only certain areas have odor glands.
In short, the cures and treatment of dry skin are related to the causes. If your dry skin discomfort is not responding to self-treatment, visit a dermatologist so you can get relief.
If you would like to learn more about the different treatment options for dry skin, please call our office at 949.484.8660 today to schedule a consultation or fill out the form on this page and one of our trusted staff members will reach out to you promptly.