Question

Skin Disorders

How do I treat dry skin?

A Answers (7)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    A good daily skin care regimen can help improve dry skin. Use a mild, moisturizing cleanser when you wash, to help replenish moisture and keep skin from drying further. Use lukewarm, not hot, water when you shower. Apply a moisturizing lotion or cream 3 or 4 times a day, especially right after you bathe, to help seal in moisture.


    Helpful? 7 people found this helpful.
  • AEllen Marmur, MD, Dermatology, answered
    You need to apply moisturizer on your dry skin. If your skin becomes red or gets irritated or stings when you put on any kind of moisturizer, it is being sensitive. In response, you can use products with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as aloe vera and soy. And stay away from irritating substances such as glycolic acid, chemical sunscreen, and certain preservatives and detergents.
    Helpful? 4 people found this helpful.
  • ARosemarie Ingleton, MD, Dermatology, answered
    Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton - How do I treat dry skin?

    To treat dry skin, choose a good moisturizer -- and break one daily habit, says dermatologist Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton. Find out what it is, plus tips for choosing a moisturizer, by watching this video.

    Helpful? 3 people found this helpful.
  • AJoshua Zeichner, MD, Dermatology, answered on behalf of The Mount Sinai Health System

    Dry skin should be treated with special soaps and the use of moisturizers. Also, avoiding extreme climates (like the dead of the winter cold) can help!

    True soaps can be harmful to the skin and disrupt the skin barrier. Moreover, they can strip the body of natural moisturizing oils. Look for non-soap cleansers made for dry skin. They are pH balanced, may contain moisturizers, and shouldn't cause irritation.

    Using moisturizers is a key factor in treating dry skin. Apply right after the shower when the skin is damp, so you can lock in the moisture. Moisturizing creams contain ingredients specificaly designed to keep the skin hydrated. 

    1. Emollients: ingredients that directly hydrate the skin, eg. petrolatum

    2. Humectants: ingredients that attract water from deep in the skin and the environment, eg. glycerol

    3. Occlusives: ingredients that provide a physical barrier to prevent water loss from the skin, eg. petrolatum or lanolin

    By preventing water loss through the skin and helpng hydrate dry skin cells, moisturizers help maintain the skin barrier in as good shape as possible. The newest moisturizers and barrier repair creams also contain natural fats such as ceramides and free fatty acids. In addition, they may contain hyaluronic acid and natural moisturizing factors such as lactic acid and filaggrin breakdown products. Many of these products are available over the counter, and there are some other great products that require a prescription from your dermatologist. 

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  • ABen Kaminsky, Dermatology, answered
    It’s important to keep dry skin well-hydrated all the time by avoiding dry heat, hot showers and baths, rough clothing, and irritating cleansing products. Because bath soaps can strip the natural lipids from the skin, leaving it flakey, scaly, and cracked, use a moisturizing soap/lotion in a liquid form. In addition, super-saturate with a moisturizer immediately after bathing while the skin is still damp. In some cases, oatmeal baths are helpful when skin is extremely dry.

    During the winter months, cold air, dry wind, and low humidity combine to increase evaporation and reduce sweating that results in dry, chapped skin that flakes, cracks, and even bleeds. To add moisture to the air, use a humidifier in your home or at least in your bedroom while sleeping. Be sure to clean the humidifier basin regularly to keep mold and mildew from breeding.

    Check your diet to see if you are getting plenty of essential fatty acids. Avoid the harsh rays of the sun, and stay out of smoke-filled rooms. Smoking causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels), and decreases oxygen and other nutrients supplied by the capillaries in the skin.

    To moisturize dry skin, look for products that have ingredients such as glycerin, lactic acid, sodium lactate, urea, alpha hydroxyl acids, petrolatum, squalane, lanolin, and vegetable oils.
    Helpful? 3 people found this helpful.
  • AJeffrey Benabio, MD, Dermatology, answered
    1. Use only moisturizing soaps (actually non-soap cleansers are best, such as Dove).
    2. Pick a moisturizer you like and use it everyday. Even Sunday. 
    3. Get plenty of omega fatty acids in your diet such as wild salmon, flaxseed, walnuts and avocados. 

    It's a myth that drinking more water will help dry skin. Dry skin is a problem of lack of oil on the skin, not dehydration of the skin. Fix the oil problem and your skin will be glowing again soon. 

    Helpful? 4 people found this helpful.
  • AJames M.. Wilmott, Dermatology, answered on behalf of Radical Skincare

    Dry skin is usually the result of damage to the skin's natural lipid barrier, which is responsible for keeping water in the skin.  This is caused by environmental factors such as low humidity and over-exposure to sunlight, over-washing the skin with soap  and strong cleansing agents, treating the skin with harsh chemicals,  systemic problems such as disorders of the thyroid gland, and heredity.  There are three primary approaches for treating dry skin.   First is the restoration of the barrier lipids by the application of polyunsaturated fatty acids, ceramides, and phospholipids.  Second is the infusion of water into the skin through the use of materials called humectants that bind water.  When applied, the bound water absorbs into the outer layer of the skin making it softer and more supple.  Third is the application of an occlusive agent that blocks the release of water from the skin to allow it to restore its optimum level.  Proper hydration of the skin is extremely important for the skin to function correctly and look its best.

    Helpful? 3 people found this helpful.
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