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Dry Skin

Dry skin affects mil­lions of peo­ple, espe­cial­ly dur­ing the cold, win­ter months. Dry skin can be uncom­fort­able, caus­ing your skin to feel tight, painful, and extreme­ly itchy. For many, dry skin is sim­ply caused by harsh soaps, itchy cloth­ing, mis­us­ing mois­tur­iz­ers, a lack of using mois­tur­iz­ers, cer­tain med­ica­tions and med­ical con­di­tions, and even just by tak­ing long, hot show­ers. While dry skin can appear any­where on the body, the most com­mon spots are on the arms, hands, low­er legs, and abdomen. Nor­mal, healthy skin is coat­ed in a thin lay­er of nat­ur­al lipids, or fat­ty sub­stances. These sub­stances keep in mois­ture, leav­ing the skin soft and sup­ple. Envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors, your health and skin régime, or a genet­ic pre­dis­po­si­tion can strip away these fat­ty oils, leav­ing your skin unprotected.

Dry skin is often felt more than it is seen, but on some peo­ple it can be notice­able and embar­rass­ing. If the itch­i­ness and dis­com­fort weren’t bad enough, a dry skin prob­lem can be more than just a super­fi­cial issue. Your intact, healthy skin is your body’s pri­ma­ry defense against infec­tion. If you let your skin get dried out and cracked, you could be giv­ing all sorts of harm­ful bac­te­ria a way in, lead­ing to more seri­ous prob­lems. If untreat­ed, dry skin can some­times lead to inflam­ma­tion of the skin, swelling, and even infec­tion. The good news is that just as most caus­es of dry skin are exter­nal, so are most cures. With a care­ful, dili­gent dry skin care rou­tine, you can usu­al­ly solve the problem.

If you have been bat­tling dry skin, you’ve prob­a­bly already tried a mois­tur­iz­er, if not dozens. While mois­tur­iz­ers are a crit­i­cal part of dry skin care, we don’t always use them cor­rect­ly. The most com­mon mis­take is often try­ing to apply the mois­tur­iz­er to dry skin, when it’s least like­ly to help. Put on the mois­tur­iz­er while your skin is still damp. That way the mois­tur­iz­er is trap­ping the mois­ture still on your skin. Your skin shouldn’t be sop­ping wet, just pat your­self dry with a tow­el, apply the mois­tur­iz­er and let it soak in for a few min­utes before apply­ing cos­met­ics or cloth­ing. For hands, the best mois­tur­iz­er is Vase­line Petro­le­um Jel­ly. Wet hands and apply a thin coat of petro­le­um jel­ly. You may paper tow­el off any excess so hands are not sticky. Top­i­cal steroid prepa­ra­tions may be used to help with red­ness and irri­ta­tion ini­tial­ly, and should be used only as direct­ed. Avoid sub­stances known to cause itch­ing such as fra­granced soaps and lotions, and wool cloth­ing, espe­cial­ly in the dri­er months.

Find­ing the cor­rect mois­tur­iz­er can also be chal­leng­ing. If you’ve been strug­gling with dry skin, and you’ve tried var­i­ous things and none of them work, don’t hes­i­tate to see a der­ma­tol­o­gist or an estheti­cian. There is no rea­son to suf­fer when there are so many won­der­ful prod­ucts and ser­vices to treat this con­di­tion and get your skin back to its glow­ing, radi­ant state.