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Taking Care of Dry Skin (Xerosis)

Updated on February 13, 2011

The medical term for dry skin is xerosis (zeeROsis). Aside from the cosmetic issues, dry skin is sensitive skin, prone to allergy, itching, cracking, and infection. Who needs that? Dry skin tends to be more of a problem in winter and for those of us who are older. Luckily, some simple measures can do a lot of good.

1. Turn down the heat and frequency of your shower or bath. Hot water is very drying. Lukewarm water preserves some of the skin's natural, healthy oils. Don't bathe more than once per day.

2. Use a mild soap with a moisturizer in it like Dove, Olay, or Basis. Deodorant soaps like Dial and Irish Spring are harsh. Also drying is Ivory.

3. Use care while drying: Pat dry. Don't rub. Rubbing further aggravates sensitive skin.

4. Use moisturizer immediately after your shower to seal in the moisture you gained during the shower. You may want to moisturize again halfway between showers for a total of twice per day. My personal favorite moisturizer is Aveeno because it is non-greasy. Lubriderm and Vaseline Intensive Care are economical. If you don't mind the mess and are careful not to slip in the slick tub, baby oil added to the bath water can be a help.

It's not a bad idea to carry a sample-sized tube of moisturizer with you so you can re-apply after you wash your hands.

If these simple measures aren't enough, you might want to consider a humidifier set to 60% during the dry winter months.


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    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US

      CHOP? pittsburgh? i studied there and still live in western PA.

      where do you get melaleuca?

      thanks for reading, stephanie.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 6 years ago from New Jersey


      Thanks for the advice. This is what all my doctors and dermatologist have said to do for my eczema. However I used to hate when they would keep giving me or my kids prescriptions for the same level of cortizone cream, claiming it was different. After spending the money, I would go home and compare the prescription label only to find it was the same thing from last time that did not work. There was something new prescribed for my daughter's skin when she was four months old. However, only a few days into the new regimen, her eczema became super-infected (not by the product but rather an in-law that did not listen to me about touching my kids if they have a really bad eczema breakout)and ended with a three day trip to CHOP.

      I've tried everything under the sun, but have come to live with my dry skin. Melaleuca products work well though.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US


      thanks for reading and especially for voting.

    • mdlawyer profile image

      mdlawyer 6 years ago

      Cathylynn99, useful skincare tips. Voted useful

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US


      glad your grandson is better. also glad you found out something new. thanks for reading.

    • Mimi721wis profile image

      Mimi721wis 6 years ago

      useful . Never knew about the hot water drying out the skin. My grandson suffered from eczema so badly when he was a small child his skin would crack open. He face would be really red. People automatically asked us what was wrong with him. One person even prayed for him. His skin is much better now. He still has to use special soaps and lotions.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 7 years ago from northeastern US

      yes, jillian, i used to recommend eucerin - expensive but effective. there are prescription creams, too, that might be worth the trouble of seeing a doc for if someone has very dry skin.

    • Jillian Barclay profile image

      Jillian Barclay 7 years ago from California, USA

      Timely article, Doc! Winter is always really hard on my skin. I have tried most of the products that you suggest and Aveeno works really well. Another product I love is Eucerin Calming Cream. It is a daily moisturizer and immediately stops the itching that sometimes comes with dry skin. I love it!

      Never thought about using a humidifier. Thank you! That probably works better than anything else!

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 7 years ago from northeastern US

      wow - a poem. thank you, thank you, thank you, bob.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      "When your skin is dry and your eyes are damp,

      And the whole damn world just calls you gramp.,

      Open hubpages - call up cathylynn,

      She'll give you the recipe to cure your skin."

      Voted up...Bob

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 7 years ago from northeastern US

      hope it works for you. let me know. these basis of these tips comes from my medical training during a brief stint in dermatology. i may have a few more tricks up my sleeve.

    • sfrentz06 profile image

      sfrentz06 7 years ago from Sterling Heights, MI, USA

      Thanks for the tips, I have been battling the Michigan winter skin for about two months. I'll try these.