If you have scleroderma, one of the symptoms you will experience is having dry skin. The dry skin seen in scleroderma is caused by several things.
First, the extra collagen in the inner layer of skin destroys normal sweat and oil glands Second, the outer layer of the skin usually has fatty substances that moisten the skin. In scleroderma, this outer layer often gets thinner. So there is lack of normal moisture in the skin.
Here are some tips for dealing with dry skin:
- Turn the thermostat down - keep the thermostat set to the lowest comfortable temperature in the winter since heat can dry out your skin.
- Use a mild soap - wash with mild unscented soaps or moisturizing soaps only.
- Limit soap to certain areas - use soap only in areas that are likely to have body odor like under the arms and groin. Be sure to rinse well.
- Use special soaps and shampoos - use hypoallergenic, fragrance-free cosmetics, soaps and shampoos.
- Use warm, not hot, water.
- Use baby oil- when you bathe try adding 1/2 cup of baby oil to the water. Be careful when you get out since the tub will be slippery.
- Use moisturizers- put moisturizers over your entire body immediately after all baths and showers. Water evaporating dries out the skin.
- Moisturize often - apply moisturizers to your hands after each hand washing.
- Use gloves - use gloves when using any substances that are rough on your hands. This would include detergents, soaps, salts or household cleaners.
- Avoid excess cold or heat exposure - both excess cold and heat can dry your skin. Use sunscreens or don't stay in the sun too long.
- Avoid certain ointments and medicines - do not use topical numbing agents (e.g. Dermoplast) or antihistamines since they tend to be very drying.
- Avoid electric blankets - except to warm your bed before you get in) since their constant heat will cause you to lose body moisture.
- Treat dry skin using special products - try products such as unscented moisturizers, unscented moisturizing soaps, and shampoos.