Dry Skin Treatment Tips

Dry skin becomes more sensitive and can crack, tear and succumb to bacterial infection, especially if an itchy rash forms. Treatment with moisturizing cosmetic products is essential, but some compounds may irritate your sensitive skin. When your skin is damaged or suffering the effects of sun or aging, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using hypoallergenic cosmetic products, free of perfumes and color, for all your skin care. The AAD also endorses certain lifestyle adjustments to protect and hydrate dry, itchy skin.

Cleanse Your Face Daily

Facial skin that is dry functions less efficiently and needs help from daily skin care. Rough, flaky skin indicates that exfoliation has slowed and dead skin cells litter the epidermal surface. Dermatologists at the AAD advise facial cleansing with a gentle cosmetic product, such as moisturizing soap or cream, or just warm water if skin is broken. Use your fingertips and warm water to wash once a day, and pat dry with a towel.

Bathe Less Frequently

Dry skin on the body gets worse from too much bathing. Soap and water strip the oil and moisture from the skin surface, so you should shower or bathe less frequently, such as every other day. The Mayo Clinic suggests 15 minutes in warm–not hot–water, using a moisturizing rather than a deodorant soap.

Moisturize Often

You should moisturize directly after cleansing and bathing, note Mayo Clinic skin care experts. The humectants in moisturizing lotion, cream or oil attract the moisture left on your skin after toweling, and the emollients seal it into skin tissue. They also smooth and soothe the outer layer of dry skin. Choose a fragrance-free cosmetic product by its oil content to suit your level of dryness. Moisturizing oil is the richest, for driest skin, followed by ointment, cream and lotion.

Raise Indoor Humidity

Low humidity in your indoor environment can further dehydrate dry skin, making it smart and feel tight. In fact, dry indoor air may have aggravated a condition initially caused by sunburn or windburn. This is especially common in the winter, in homes with forced-air heat, wood stoves and electric heaters. The Mayo Clinic recommends using a room humidifier to improve the indoor air quality and ease skin dryness.

Stop Smoking

If you have skin that flares or is chronically dry and you smoke cigarettes, quitting smoking is the best skin care decision you can make. Smoking robs the body of antioxidants needed for skin health. You may be able to alleviate the severity or frequency of your skin symptoms by quitting, and you will safeguard your future appearance. The AAD cites a 2002 study that found smoking cessation to improve people’s skin tone and reduce wrinkles.

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