How to Soothe Severely Dry Skin
Dry skin can be caused by a number of factors, such as the use of harsh soaps and alcohol-containing perfumes, antiperspirants, and other products. Other common culprits include exposure to the sun, hot water, and low humidity from air conditioning in the summer and indoor heating during the winter. The skin also naturally loses elasticity and becomes drier as part of the aging process. While rough, scaly skin patches can appear anywhere on the body, they often develop on the arms, legs, back, and abdomen. That’s because many people who are diligent about moisturizing their faces and hands often neglect these areas.
Treating dry skin is important because the condition can potentially progress to atopic dermatitis, or eczema, which can lead to chronic irritation and inflammation. Cracked skin can also become infected. Some strategies that can help you prevent and relieve dry skin include:
- Bathing in lukewarm – never hot – water
- Limiting baths and showers to 10 minutes or less
- Refraining from harsh scrubbing, which can rob your skin of its natural protective oils
- Washing with a mild, soap-free cleanser
- Applying a thick moisturizing cream two to three times daily, and immediately after bathing (when your skin is still damp) to help lock in moisture
- Choosing unscented laundry detergents and other products
- Wearing clothing made of soft fabrics like as cotton and silk (wool worn next to your skin can be irritating)
- Using a humidifier to add moisture to the indoor air
- Soaking a washcloth in cold milk and applying it to your skin for five minutes (milk has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve itching)
Because dry skin is easily irritated, it can be very itchy. It’s best to seek medical attention if dry, itchy skin affects your sleep, makes you irritable, or if it is bleeding, oozing, swollen, or severely cracked. A physician can rule out underlying conditions, such as diabetes, and also prescribe steroid ointments that can provide relief.
To discuss dry skin or other health concerns with a physician, please contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. Our walk-in clinic is conveniently located on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, FL, and no appointments are necessary.