Tips to Soothe Dry Skin

Written by Dr. Veena Madhankumar and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team

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Dry skin, otherwise called xerosis, is usually a temporary condition caused by hot or cold weather, low humidity, showering in hot water, and harsh soaps. If your skin is dry because of these factors, you can improve it at home with some simple remedies. The feeling of skin tightness after bathing, rough skin, itching, peeling or flaky skin, and cracked skin are all signs of dryness. If left untreated, dry skin can crack and get infected.

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Winter months make maintaining healthy skin more challenging. Also, aging makes skin appear dry and fine lines start showing. But, you do not have to accept rough and flaky skin as an inevitable consequence of climate or aging. There are a number of ways to manage dry skin. Keeping the top layer of the skin hydrated and sealing in the moisture are important to fight dry skin. The following easy skincare tips can prevent and treat dry skin.

1) Adjust the Shower Temperature

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Avoid taking hot showers or baths. Most people prefer taking hot showers, which scald the skin and damage it. Hot water breaks down the fat barriers in the skin, decreasing moisture. The simplest way to prevent this is by changing your shower routine. Take short showers in warm, and not hot, water.

2) Moisturize

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Moisturizers prevent water or moisture from escaping and act as a seal over your skin. Remember to apply moisturizer after bathing and several other times a day. Thicker the moisturizer, the better barrier it will form. Also, use cosmetics that contain moisturizers. In case your skin is extremely dry, use oil when your skin is still moist. Oils last longer and prevent the evaporation of water from the skin’s surface. You can also use petroleum jelly, but as they are greasy, use them only at night.

3) Oatmeal Baths

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Oatmeal is an excellent natural remedy for dry and irritated skin. A study conducted in 2015 showed oatmeal extracts contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that soothe your skin. It also effectively relieves itching due to dry skin. To make an oatmeal bath, grind oatmeal into a fine powder and stir in warm water. Apply the mixture and wash it off after 20 minutes. Make sure you moisturize your skin after.

4) Wear Gloves and Natural Fibers

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Your hands take a lot of abuse as they tend to experience the most direct contact with chemicals and irritants, such as harsh soaps and laundry detergent. Make a habit of wearing gloves while washing clothes or handling chemicals. If it is too cold outside, wear insulated gloves. Also, wear clothes made from natural fibers, such as cotton and silk, as much as possible. These fabrics allow your skin to breathe. Woolen clothes, even though they are natural, can irritate your skin.

5) Humidifier

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Dry indoor air can worsen itching and flaking. A humidifier can minimize the dryness caused by heating systems at home. Setting the humidifier to 60 % is enough to keep the air humid and prevent skin from getting dry. Do not forget to keep your humidifier clean.

6) Avoid Harsh Soaps

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Soaps that contain chemicals rob your skin of natural moisture, leaving it dry and irritated. Instead, use cleansing creams or shower gels with extra moisturizers. Or you can use mild soaps that have oils and fats. Do not use highly scented soaps and antibacterial detergents.

If your skin looks red, itching affects your sleep, you have developed open sores from scratching, or large areas of your skin are peeling off, consult a dermatologist online for help.

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