10 simple ways to treat dry skin

face for dry skin
Here are 10 simple ways to help heal and soothe dry skin and prevent recurrences.

Here are 10 simple ways to help heal and soothe dry skin and prevent recurrences:

  1. Limit baths and showers
    • Use lukewarm water to bathe or shower instead of hot water
    • Limit time in the shower to 5 to 10 minutes
    • Avoid bathing more than one time a day
    • Wash the face with a gentle, mild, and fragrance-free cleanser
    • Avoid using harsh soaps and shampoos
    • Pat dry the facial skin soon after the shower
  2. Moisturize the skin
    • Apply a moisturizer immediately after bathing or many times a day
    • This may help trap the moisture of the skin, keeping it moist and lubricated
  3. Use a hydrating ointment or cream
    • Apply a cream or an ointment containing ingredients, such as glycerin, jojoba oil, shea butter, petroleum jelly, lanolin, lactic acid, and hyaluronic acid, to keep the skin moist and healthy
  4. Always use gentle and mild skincare products
    • Avoid using harsh, chemical-based soaps or products that can irritate the skin
    • Use a lip balm that contains petroleum jelly on the dry chapped lips
  5. Keep the skin covered
    • Try to cover as much as possible by using a scarf or a hat to prevent further drying of the skin
  6. Choose skin-friendly clothing
    • Wear cotton or natural fabrics that do not irritate the skin
  7. Use essential oils
    • Due to their essential fatty acid (EFA) content, they can act as good natural remedies for dry skin, such as coconut oil and lavender oil
    • Aloe vera gel, when applied topically, can promote the healing of dry skin
  8. Keep the body hydrated with plenty of water
    • Boosting water intake helps prevent dehydration effects on the skin
  9. Consume fresh fruits
    • Some skin healing fruits and vegetables include papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin
    • A mask made from these fruits is often helpful in some cases
  10. Oatmeal bath
    • Grind the oatmeal and sprinkle it in the tub, soak for 10 to 15 minutes
    • Oatmeal contains a chemical called avenanthramides that is proven to fight inflammation and redness

What is dry skin?

Dry skin is not a serious condition and is often caused by extreme weather (hot or cold), low humidity in the air, and prolonged hot water baths.

Dryness of the face can be a cause of concern cosmetically (a parched and scaly skin makes a person look older or darker), causes an uncomfortable feeling, increases sensitivity, and makes one susceptible to other skin conditions. It even makes it difficult to put on makeup.

5 potential causes of dry skin

Dry skin occurs when the skin lacks water or oil content. This could be a temporary effect caused by seasonal variation, traveling, or prolonged sun exposure.

  1. Age
    • Though it can affect anyone, dryness of the skin increases as people age
    • People older than 50 years are more prone to developing dry skin
  2. Lifestyle
    • Prolonged hot water baths and showers can cause dryness of the skin
    • The use of harsh, chemical-based soaps, shampoos, and other skincare products can adversely affect the skin
    • Swimming in chlorinated pools very often
  3. Environmental factors
    • Weather: Winters may cause excessive dryness of the skin.
    • Extreme heat: Residing in locations where space heaters or wood-burning stoves are used may reduce the humidity in the air, leading to skin dryness.
    • Living in dry, cold, and low-humid areas
    • Certain skincare products, such as antiacne medications
  4. Occupational hazard
    • Swimming instructors, hairstylists, pool cleaners, and domestic helpers are often affected because of their job requirements
  5. Other skin conditions

5 symptoms of dry skin

  1. Dry, itchy skin
  2. Skin tightness after a bath, shower, or swimming
  3. Peeled, flaky, and scaly skin
  4. Cracks or fine lines (wrinkles)
  5. Cracks may get deep enough to bleed

When to see a doctor

A person should consult a dermatologist (skin specialist) if they:

  • Develop extremely dry, itchy, flaky, cracked, or bleeding skin
  • See no improvement in dryness despite all efforts taken
  • Think redness is increasing
  • Believe the affected area is spreading
  • Have intense itching that hinders sleep

Dryness of skin is harmless in most cases. However, if left untreated, it can lead to:

  • Atopic dermatitis: Patchy, dry, and itchy skin.
  • Infections: Cracks may allow the entry of bacteria, causing other infections.
  • Ichthyosis: A genetic skin disorder characterized by dry and scaly skin.


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Medically Reviewed on 1/24/2022
Image Source: iStock Images

American Academy of Dermatology. Dermatologist’s Top Tips for Relieving Dry Skin. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/dry/dermatologists-tips-relieve-dry-skin

WebMD. Dry Skin. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/dry-skin