Dry skin – a Dermatologist’s tips by Dr Dray
Dry skin feels dry to the touch because of a lack of moisturer in the outer cell layer (stratum corneum). This results in cracks in the skin surface, scaly skin, redness, and an impaired skin barrier. The dry and impaired skin barrier loses water very easily and becomes very itchy. Because the skin is itchy, there is an intense desire to scratch. Scratching, unfortunately, further disrupts the skin barrier and results in persistent dry, inflammed, itchy skin.
Who gets dry skin?
Dry skin affects men and women of all ages. Many things in our environment can contribute to a bout of dry skin:
- Low humidity: dry climates, windy conditions
- Excessive air conditioning
- Direct heat from a fire or fan heater
- Excessive bathing, especially with hot water
- Contact with harsh soap, detergents and solvents
- Frictional irritation from rough fabrics, body loofahs, and abrasive scrubs
There is often a family history of dry skin and certain inherited genes can play a role in an individual’s susceptibility to dry skin.
Dry skin is a very common problem in people with atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by patches of itchy, dry, red, and inflamed skin.
As we age, our skin becomes more prone to dryness, and nearly everyone over the age of 60 has dry skin. Dry skin that begins later in life may also occur in certain diseases and conditions, including the following:
- With certain medications: isotretinion (accutane), acitretin (soriatane), hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide, lisinopril, captopril, losartan, amlodipine, and certain types of chemotherapy.
- After menopause
- Chronic kidney disease
Dry skin care tips
Eliminate aggravating factors.
- Reduce frequency of bathing.
- Use a humidifier in the bedroom.
- Use lukewarm, not hot, water, to bathe.
- Replace standard soap with a substitute such as a moisturizing bath oil (examples below).
- Avoid harsh scrubs and loofahs.
- Apply a moisturizer liberally and often, particularly shortly after bathing, and when itchy.
- Choose a thicker moisturizing cream (examples below) for use immediately after bathing. Apply the cream to wet, rather than dry, skin so as to seal water in the skin and reduce evaporative water loss from the skin.
- Choose a light-weight moisturizing lotion for use and re-application throughout the day (examples below).
- For particularly stubborn patches of dry skin, such as on the hands, select an occlusive moisturizing ointment (examples below).
Moisturizers for dry skin
Cetaphil moisturizing cream http://amzn.to/2icKzUW
Vanicream moisturizing skin cream http://amzn.to/2id2RFQ
Eucerin original healing cream https://iherb.co/jkcbenQ
Eucerin eczema relief cream https://iherb.co/3Pw1xruu
Avon moisture therapy cream https://goo.gl/DWbpG6
Vanicream lite lotion http://amzn.to/2yzCwIg
Eucerin daily hydration lotion https://iherb.co/3EMqE2C1
Eucerin skin calming cream https://iherb.co/4nSek5Js
Cerave moisturizing lotion https://iherb.co/4rJeSghx
Curel fragrance free moisturizing lotion http://amzn.to/2hnrBKK
Cliniderm moisturizing lotion http://amzn.to/2yxu6kG
DML moisturizing lotion http://amzn.to/2hqIqo2
Avon moisture therapy lotion https://goo.gl/BLKVgB
Aquaphor ointment http://amzn.to/2zF6he9
Cerave healing ointment http://amzn.to/2hwYbxt
Vaniply ointment http://amzn.to/2iejktx
Vaseline ointment http://amzn.to/2yzEgBi
Body washes for dry skin
Cerave eczema soothing body wash http://amzn.to/2yzpBGa
Eucerin skin calming dry skin body wash oil http://amzn.to/2AHa08M
Cetaphil restoraderm eczema body wash http://amzn.to/2AG0rHt
Eau Thermale Avene Xeracalm cleansing oil http://amzn.to/2ibp7Qi
Facial moisturizers for dry skin
Cerave moisturizing cream http://amzn.to/2yXNyLI
Cetaphil redness relieving night moisturizer http://amzn.to/2ADKph3
Eucerin sensitive skin night cream http://amzn.to/2yxYN9f
La Roche Posay Toleriane Riche face cream http://amzn.to/2yzFBbe
Humidifiers for dry skin
Honeywell Cool Mist Germ Free Humidifier http://amzn.to/2AFTTbA
Vicks Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier http://amzn.to/2yAqA9f
Anderson, CK et al. Asteatotic Eczema (2017). Medscape reference: https://goo.gl/MG3ZLz
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Medical Doctor and PhD candidate