Dry Skin

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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How can dry skin be prevented?

To prevent skin from drying out, it may be helpful to humidify the indoor environment especially during the drier, winter months. Sometimes decreasing bathing frequency and avoiding strong soaps, and decreasing exposure to detergents also may help improve dry skin. Harsh cleansers can strip away the natural oils and sebum from the skin. Limiting exposure to irritants such as solvents and wool clothing can prevent the dry skin condition from worsening.

  • Avoid strong soaps and detergents.
  • Use indoor room humidifiers.
  • Limit exposure to irritants such as solvents.
  • Avoid wool clothing.
  • Use cotton and natural fiber clothing.
  • Move to a super-humid environment like New Orleans, Houston, Bangkok, Hong Kong, or Manila.

What are the best products for dry skin?

Top products for dry skin include mild cleansers and rich moisturizers. Non-scented, mild cleansers or soap-free products include Dove, Cetaphil, and Purpose soap. Thick, greasy, moisturizers include Aquaphor, Vaseline, Crisco, and SBR Lipocream.

Previous contributing author: Nili N. Alai, MD, FAAD

Medically reviewed by Norman Levine, MD; American Board of Dermatology

REFERENCES:

Fitzpatrick, Thomas B., et al. Dermatology in General Medicine. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993.

Goroll, Allan H., and Albert G. Mulley. Primary Care Medicine: Office Evaluation and Management of the Adult Patient. 6th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009.

Marieb, E.N., Jon Mallatt, and Patricia Brady Wilhelm. Human Anatomy. 4th ed. Benjamin Cummings, 2004.

Resnick, B. "Dermatologic Problems in the Elderly." Lippincott's Primary Care Practice 1.1 Mar. 1997: 14-30.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/26/2016
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