The first step in treatment for dry skin is to use emollients and moisturizer several times a day on a daily basis, and try to avoid the external factors which cause the skin to dry out. Any underlying medical conditions need to be treated. The treatment goals will be to reinstate the skin hydration, stop the water loss and reduce or stop the itching completely.
- Mild corticosteroid creams-for relieving the rash,only for a short period of time.
- Hydrocortisone (1%).
- Clobetasol (0.05%)
- Immunomodulators – for relieving the itch.
- Oral corticosteroids-for severe irritated skin not controlled with topicals. Very rarely required and to be considered after an opinion from a dermatologist.
- Oral antihistamines-for severe itch.
- Vitamins – Oral Omega 3 fatty acid capsules.
Tips for skin-friendly baths/showers
- Avoid hot and long showers – hot water depletes the skin of oils faster than warm water. So use warm water and 5-10 minute long baths/showers only.
- Choose a gentle shower gel/cleanser or soap with moisturizer; avoid strong scented soaps; use soap free or mild soap cleansers.
- Use soft towels, pat dry; no brisk rubbing or complete drying.
- Seal in moisture by applying moisturizer within minutes when the skin is damp.
Tips for right moisturizers
Moisturizers which will help the skin to retain water and soothe itching must be chosen with ingredients like.Moisturizer with 24 hours hydration property have better compliance with patients as the need for repeated use decreases.
- Lanolin, mineral oil.
- Glycerine, Dimethicone
- Hyaluronic acid
- Petroleum jelly.
Tips for sun protection
- Choose moisturizers with minimum SPF of 20.
- Avoid sun directly during peak time 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Wear sunscreen with high SPF.
- Reapplication of sunscreen is a must.
- Wear hat, cap or scarf and use an umbrella.
- Do not use tanning beds or artificial sun lamps.
Tips for skin-friendly life style
- Avoid synthetic fibers and wearing wool next to skin.
- Use cotton and other natural fibers.
- Avoid heavy dresses that may cause sweating.
- Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water.
- Eat a balanced nutritious food that will nourish the skin and promote natural oil and moisture retaining skin barriers like omega-3 foods.
- Do not miss out on vitamin D supplements.
- Use a gentle shaving cream/gel and avoid dull blades.
- Use cool compresses to reduce inflammation.
- Use a lip balm with mineral oil and petroleum jelly.
- Wash face just once a day.
- Stop using skin care products with alcohol like deodorants, hand sanitizers etc.
- Avoid stress or trauma that may make you sweat profusely.
- Avoid all triggers that may cause dry skin.
- Avoid extreme cold weather.
- Use a humidifier that will keep the indoor air moist when climate is dry.
- Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leperology – Dry skin conditions, eczema and emollients in their management (K Siddappa) view
- American Association of Dermatology – Tips for Relieving Dry Skin view
- Mayo Clinic – Dry Skin: Treatments and Drugs view
- Mayo Clinic – Dry Skin: Lifestyle and Home Remedies view
- WebMD – Itching from Dry Skin view
- Medicine Net – Home Remedies for Dry Skin view
- Science Daily – How to Stop Winter from Weathering Your Skin: Top Ten Tips for Preventing Winter Itch view