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How to Prevent & Get Rid of Flaky Skin on the Face

Updated on January 13, 2016

Dry, red, itchy skin.

I have suffered with dry skin on my face for about 20 years. I often get red skin, large flakes of dead skin and itchiness around my chin and scalp and the condition can be embarrassing as it is often very obvious to other people. It can also be painful at time. I've never been able to get a proper diagnosis from my doctor and have tried all manner of things to help it.

Although I've never been able to cure the problem, I have been able to identify products and procedures which help to reduce the symptoms keep them reasonably under control.

Some of the suggestions on this Hub will require a visit to your family doctor as they are only available with a prescription.

Wash your face with water twice daily

When you wake up and before you go to bed, wash your face with plain water to help remove the dead skin cells which your body is struggling to get rid of. Flaky skin is the result of skin cells building up on the surface so wash them away.

Avoid any soaps or shampoos containing sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) is a detergent used in many soaps and shampoos but has been proven to dry the skin and can cause rashes and skin blotching.

Keep away from anything containing sodium laureth sulfate and opt for something made from more natural ingredients.

Use Weleda Calendula to clean your face and hair

I highly recommend using Weleda Calendula shampoo for your face and scalp. I was introduce to Calendula by my sister-in-law whilst on holiday last year. This all-natural cleanser is made using plant extracts and is also suitable for vegans. Unlike normal soap, it doesn't dry the skin and instead gently moisturises it.

I use about a dice-sized amount daily and gently rub it into my (damp) scalp and face. On my face, I use a circular motion to dry and perused any dead skin away and then rinse under a warm (not hot) shower. Once clean I gently pat my skin dry with a clean towel. I don't scrub my face with the towel as I find it can irritate the skin.

Use Oilatum cream as a moisturiser

My daughter has a similar skin condition as me on her scalp and also suffers from mild eczema on her arms and legs. Her doctor prescribed her with Oilatum Cream (also available to buy without prescription in 500ml bottles here).

Oilatum is a light liquid parafin and soft parafin mix used as an emollient cream for eczema and itchy dry skin. It's the only moisturises I find that works.

Avoid any products containing sodium laureth sulfate

Look on the ingredients of most shower gels and shampoos and you're likely to find sodium laureth sulfate. Quite often, sodium laureth sulfate is a main ingredient.

sodium laureth sulfate is bad for people with skin conditions, especislly eczema. Really bad. It's basically a detergent and a very cheap foaming product. The contain a salt called sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate.

Sodium laureth sulfate has been well documented for over 30 years as being an irritant to skin and eyes. In 1938, the Journal of the American College of Toxicology released a report which identified the problems surrounding SLS on the skin.

People often forget that the skin is an organ and, just like any other organ in the human body, it will react to different chemicals in different ways. I know from personal experience that if I use any product containing SLS it makes my skin dry, tight, sore and cracked.

Consider using a steroid cream or liquid for itching

You'll need a prescription from your doctor for steroid cream but steroid creams and liquids can be very good at stopping itching.

Use steroid creams sparingly. Overused that can think the skin and make problems worst, but they are excellent at stopping itching.

Anti-fungal creams can sometimes help

The problem with some types of skin conditions is that they can become infected. It may be necessary for your doctor to prescribe an ointment to help stop infection, such as Ketoconazle 2% cream, or Ciclopirox 1%. You'll need a prescription.

The dried skin always seems to be worse around areas of facial hair
The dried skin always seems to be worse around areas of facial hair

Men: keep facial hair short

I would love to grow a beard, but every time I try to I find my skin condition becomes much worse and I end up wit large, very visible flakes of skin coming out of my stubble. I find that keeping my facial hair as short as possible seems to help prevent a flare-up of my skin. Seborrheic Dermatitis is particularly bad around the areas of hair on the face.

Look at your diet and drink plenty of water

Many skin conditions are caused by an indirect response to the types of food we drink. Sufferes of the skin condition Rosacea (which is what I believe I suffer from) have reported that certain types of food and rink can result in a flare-up. Alcohol is one that makes mine bad, as does hot and cold weather.

As I've already minded you, your skin is an organ. If you're not drinking enough water, you're dehydrated. That can lead to all manner of health issues including bad skin.

What do you do about your dry skin? Any suggestions? Leave your comments and ideas here:

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