Dry skin doesn’t have to be a fact of life. In fact, soft, supple, smooth skin can absolutely be had, with only a little bit of time and effort, and without spending a fortune. While you can purchase over-the-counter products, it’s not necessary to spend a lot of money to treat dry skin.
Dry Skin Isn’t Normal
It’s important to note that dry skin is not a normal skin condition. If your skin is rough, flaky, itchy or red, this is a sign something is wrong with your skin or even a symptom of a larger, more serious condition. For example, hypothyroidism causes dry and flaking skin, as does eczema, psoriasis, some autoimmune conditions, etc, so consider dry skin that can’t be treated as a warning and consider seeing your dermatologist or health care professional.
Because skin is the largest organ of your body, it’s important to take good care of it, especially since it’s the only major body organ others can see and touch.
See Doctor for Skin Conditions
It’s worth repeating: If you have persistently dry skin, rashes, abscesses, very itchy skin, etc, it’s important to see a doctor before you try to treat your dry skin, just to rule out any skin conditions that can be a health risk. Eczema, certain medical conditions (like herpes, hypothyroid conditions, and autoimmune conditions) can cause dry skin as a symptom. Because dry skin isn’t normal, it should be considered a potential symptom of a medical condition.
Drink Plenty of Water
Once a medical condition is either treated or ruled out, it’s time to prepare your skin to say goodbye to dryness and welcome in the healing and softness skin should have. The first step in this process is to stay hydrated. The skin on your body has high water content, and just a slight imbalance in the water can cause severe skin dryness, flakiness, itching and more. Drink plenty of water each day to stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause severe dry skin, dry eyes, cracked lips. But you don’t have to be dehydrated in order to not have enough hydration for your skin. Drink plenty of fresh hydrating water daily.
Use a Natural Moisturizer at Night & After Bathing
After showers and before bed, use a natural moisturizer on your skin. If you have oily spots on your face and skin, it’s all right to use a moisturizer on them too. Moisturizing skin keeps the skin from being dry, but moisturized skin isn’t the same as oily skin, and even generally oily skin can be dry in places.
If you have oily skin, though, be sure you’re buying a moisturizer, and not an oil supplement product containing body butter, grape seed oil, fractionated coconut oil or mineral oil. These products are great for dry skin without oiliness, but can cause excess oil for those with oily skin areas.
Baby oil without a fragrance (which is really simple mineral oil, and it can be very inexpensive and takes very little for your entire body), is great for locking in moisture after bathing. A thin covering of mineral oil while skin is still slightly damp from bathing can help lock that hydration into the skin and help prevent dry skin and keep it from coming back.
Use a Mineral Based Foundation
For women, many foundation cosmetics use oil and alcohol bases in the ingredients of the makeup. Using a mineral based powdered foundation can actually help repair skin and prevent drying and flaking. Avoiding products with anything skin drying agents in them, like alcohol or fragrance, because they can make your skin dryer.
Do Not Over Clean Your Skin
The only time you need to shower with soap is when you have sweated or dirtied the skin beyond normal daily activity. Most people can use products like Dove, which adds moisturizer to the cleansing agent, to help prevent skin dryness. A moisturizing body wash is a better choice than bar soap.
Soap is the harshest of all things used to bathe the body and is responsible for much skin drying and flakiness. When you have dry skin, limiting bathing to one shower/bath per day can help, since frequent bathing causes drier skin, especially during the winter months. Until the dry skin is under control, only wash your face in the morning or to remove cosmetics at night, applying a thin layer of moisturizer after. Also, turn down the temperature of the water: hotter water can cause dry skin too.
Be sure to rinse with cooler water, to ensure all soap or body wash residue is removed from the skin. When drying from a bath or shower, pat your skin dry instead of rubbing. Make sure the skin is completely dried, because leaving parts of the skin wet can dry the skin, but you don’t want to rub the skin to dry it too much. Pat it dry, just until it’s freshly washed and moist, and then add the moisturizer immediately.
Avoid Lotions to Avoid Dry Skin
Lotion is nearly addictive, because it’s used to treat dry skin, but also tends to dry the skin out requiring you to need more lotion. Avoid lotion products when fighting with dry skin problems. A perhaps with healthy skin can use lotion after washing hands or after a shower, but someone battling dry skin problems should avoid lotion.
Instead, at least until the dry skin is under control, use moisturizers the same way you would use lotion.
Buy Products Made for Treating Dry Skin
Don’t buy products that simply state they are ‘dry skin formulas’, but rather, buy products made to treat the condition of dry skin. There are differences. If you’ll take the time to talk to your local pharmacist, they should be able to direct you to the best treatment products for your dry skin condition.
Petroleum Jellies or Desitin White
On hard, dry or cracked skin, a coating with petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) or with the Desitin White baby diaper rash cream will help the skin become softer and promote quicker healing.
Avoid Too Much Sun & Wind
Sun and wind both can dry skin excessively. A little fun and sun can make skin healthy, but even a little exposure can cause drying damage. After spending time in the sun or wind, be sure to moisturize, and be sure to limit the exposure to sun and wind when you can.