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Dry Skin

Updated on May 21, 2009

I have had problems with dry skin my entire life, so I work pretty hard to make sure my skin looks healthy instead of dry and flaky. You definitely shouldn’t be embarrassed by dry skin because it is something that a lot of people have to deal with. Because dry skin can be uncomfortable, it is good to treat and prevent it.

What Causes Dry Skin?

Dry skin can be caused by regular sun exposure, tanning (including tanning beds), dehydration, swimming, and harsh, drying products (like alcohol based hand sanitizers).

Normal skin will feel soft because of its water content. When your skin is dry, it is not retaining enough water. This can lead to cracking and flaking of the skin which can be very uncomfortable, and even painful. Dry skin affects people of all ages and is quite common.

What Prevents Dry Skin?

The best ways to prevent dry skin:

  • Exfoliate and moisturize on a regular basis.
  • When bathing, use warm water instead of hot water.
  • Shower off as soon as possible after exercising or playing sports. If you shower at a gym, bring a mild soap with you because the gym soap could be too strong for your skin.
  • After bathing, pat your skin dry and apply moisturizer to maintain the moisture in your skin.
  • Guard your skin while outdoors by wearing protective clothing or using a sunscreens that contains a moisturizer.
  • If the air inside your home (or any indoor place you spend prolonged amounts of time), use a humidifier to raise the humidity level – I’ve even placed a pot of water in front of my heater vent during winter months.
  • Ty not overuse your antiperspirants, perfumes, and scented body sprays. These products can dry out your skin.
  • Use moisturizers throughout the day.

What Kind of Moisturizer?

Make sure the moisturizer you use containts glycerine, urea, sorbitol, lactic acid, pyroglutamic acid, alpha hydroxyl acids, or lactate salts.

What Eliminates Dry Skin?

You can fight those dry skin flakes by exfoliating your skin once or twice a week, but be sure not to over-exfoliate which can harm your skin. You can use a physical exfoliant or a chemical exfoliant. Physical exfoliations involve facial scrubs and buffer pads—exfoliating beads are a great gentle choice. Chemical exfoliations use alpha and beta hydroxyl acids. These acids loosen and get rid of dead cells on your skin.

After exfoliating, be sure to apply a light moisturizer that will not clog your pores.

You can also try some of the methods that help prevent dry skin.

When to Call the Doctor?

If none of the at home tips from above help improve your dry skin, you should call your doctor. As well, contact the doctor if your skin itches excessively or begins to crack, bleed, swell, or becomes painful.

Summer Skin Tip

If you use a gel to moisturize, keep it in the fridge before using. This will nicely cool and soothe your skin on those hot summer days.


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