How To Treat Dry Skin

Although dry skin does not cause dermatitis or eczema, it can worsen or flare dermatitis and cause itching. Proper use of lotions/creams and avoidance of irritants (like deodorant soaps) are important in caring for dry skin. Lotions work well for most people and are easy to apply. Creams are thicker and harder to spread on the body; however, they are more effective at trapping moisture and should be used for very dry skin.

  1. Bathing regularly can re-hydrate the skin. It is important to bathe with warm, not hot, water for no more than five to ten minutes. This allows the top layer of skin to become full of water, but does not deplete the skin’s natural moisturizers.
  2. After bathing, gently pat away excess water and immediately apply a lotion or cream onto damp skin. Do not let skin totally dry before applying moisturizer.
  3. Avoid use of deodorant soaps (Dial, Zest, Irish Spring, Ivory, etc.) or heavily fragranced soaps, as these can excessively dry or irritate skin. We recommend mild moisturizing soaps such as CeraVe, unscented Dove, unscented Caress, Purpose, Cetaphil, and Neutrogena. Lever 2000 is a deodorant soap that can be used by people with only mild dryness.
  4. Try to maintain a constant temperature and humidity in the home. Cool mist humidifiers can be helpful.
  5. Avoid any known irritants to the skin. Wool and some synthetic fibers can irritate dry skin; avoid any clothing which is irritating and wear cotton clothing frequently.
  6. Occasionally laundry detergents and fabric softeners can irritate dry skin. We recommend mild, fragrance free detergents such as Tide Free, All Free and Clear, Ivory Snow or unscented Dreft. Consider eliminating fabric softeners if dry skin symptoms do not respond to the measures discussed above.

Recommended lotions: CeraVe, Cetaphil Restoraderm, Lubriderm, and Neutrogena Body Moisturizer

Recommended creams: CeraVe, Cetaphil Restoraderm, Neutrogena Hand Cream, and Aquaphor Healing Ointment

We like the above mentioned products; however, if you find something else that is effective and pleasing to apply, by all means use it.

Cosmetic Dermatology

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