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Treat your dry skin the right way

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Treat Your Dry Skin the Right Way

Dry skin often responds well to lifestyle measures, such as using moisturizers and avoiding long hot showers and baths. If you have very dry skin, your doctor may recommend a moisturizing product formulated for your needs.


Skin Dryness can be treated by following few measures that can help keep your skin moist and healthy :

Gently wash your face at least twice a day. Use a gentle, alcohol-free, non-foaming cleanser on your face twice a day and after sweating. Products with stearic acid (found in Shea butter) or linoleic acid (found in Argon oil and others) can help repair your skin. If you have sensitive skin, wash with a cleanser in the evening and just rinse with water other times.

While your skin is still damp, apply any topical medication you’re using, wait a few minutes (see medication packaging for specifics), then apply your moisturizer. If you use cosmetics, consider selecting products with a cream or oil base. Use a moisturizer that contains sunblock or a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even on cloudy days. Apply sunscreen generously and reapply every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or sweating.


Moisturize. Apply moisturizer several times a day, especially when your skin feels dry and after hand washing or bathing, while your skin is still moist. Ask your doctor about the pros and cons of various products for your skin and condition. You may need to try several products before you find those you like, that help you and that you’ll use regularly.

Look for healing ingredients such as urea, Ceram ides, fatty acids and glycerol (also known as glycerin), Shea butter, and cocoa butter. Look for fragrance-free products that don’t cause acne (non-comedogenic) and don’t contain allergy-causing substances (hypoallergenic). Avoid products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is drying.

For the face and neck, you might want to use a cream. Choose something that’s easy to apply and leaves no visible residue. If you are acne-prone, avoid products on your face that contain petroleum jelly, cocoa butter or coconut oil. If you skin is very oily, try using a sunscreen instead of a moisturizer. If you have mature skin, you might prevent scaly, flaky skin by using products that contain antioxidants or alpha hydroxy acid. Moisturizers often form the basis for wrinkle creams, with added retinoids, antioxidants, peptides and other ingredients.

If nonfacial skin is very dry, you might want to use a thicker moisturizer (Eucerin, Cetaphil, others) or an oil, such as baby oil. Oil has more staying power than do lotions and prevents the evaporation of water from the skin’s surface. Another possibility is a petrolatum-based product (Vaseline, Aquaphor, others). If it feels too greasy, use it only at bedtime or just on tiny cracks in your skin. For very dry hands, apply petroleum jelly liberally at bedtime and put on plain cotton socks or gloves.


Use warm water and limit bath time. Long showers or baths and hot water remove your skin’s natural oils. Limit bathing to no more than once a day and no longer than 5-10 minutes. Use warm, not hot, water.


Use allergen-free moisturizing soap. For handwashing, use fragrance-free (hypoallergenic) moisturizing soap. Then apply a moisturizing cream while your hands are still damp.

In the shower or bath, try a nonsoap cleansing cream or shower gel, and use soap only in areas where needed, such as the armpits and groin. Avoid loofahs and pumice stones. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.


Use a humidifier. Hot, dry, indoor air can parch sensitive skin and worsen itching and flaking. A portable home humidifier or one attached to your furnace adds moisture to the air inside your home.


Choose fabrics that are kind to your skin. Natural fibers, such as cotton, allow your skin to breathe. Wool, although natural, sometimes irritates even healthy skin. For laundry, use detergents without dyes or perfumes, both of which can irritate your skin. These types of products usually have the word “free” in their names.


Relieve itchiness. If dry skin causes itchiness, apply a clean, cool, damp cloth to the affected area. You might also apply an anti-itch cream or ointment, containing at least 1% hydrocortisone