Curing dry skin can be as simple as following a few easy steps -- it often comes down to daily moisturizing. If you keep your skin moisturized, it won't dry out, but you have to do it correctly.
The first step to keeping your skin hydrated is to avoid long, hot showers that can strip your skin of necessary oils. Instead, take shorter showers and use lukewarm water. Also, avoid scented, deodorant or antibacterial soaps that can dry out your skin -- use mild, unscented or soap-free cleansers [source: Fries]. Once you've showered, softly pat yourself dry, leaving your skin damp, and apply a moisturizer within three minutes to help lock in moisture [source: American Academy of Dermatology]
If daily moisturizing doesn't heal your dry skin, there are additional ways you can help keep your skin soft and smooth. If you live in a dry climate, or if your dry skin is worse in the winter, using a humidifier to add moisture to the air may be the solution [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. If this doesn't help you, talk to a dermatologist. Doctors can diagnose more serious conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, and they can prescribe intensive moisturizing creams to help cure chronic dry skin.
For more information on dry skin and how to prevent it, see the links on the following page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Dermatologists' Top 10 Tips for Relieving Dry Skin." Skin Care Physicians. 2008. (Accessed 10/05/2009)http://www.skincarephysicians.com/agingskinnet/winter_skin.html
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Dry Skin & Keratosis Pilaris." 2009. (Accessed 10/05/2009)http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/skin_dry.html
- American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. "Dry Skin (xerosis)." 2009. (Accessed 10/05/2009) http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/dry_skin.html
- Arizona State University. "Building Blocks of Life." (Accessed 10/05/2009)http://askabiologist.asu.edu/research/buildingblocks/cellsdivide.html
- Atkins, Lucy. "Eaten alive." The Guardian. April 10, 2007. (Accessed 10/05/2009)http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/apr/10/healthandwellbeing.health2
- Benabio, Jeffrey MD, FAAD. "20 Interesting Facts About Skin." The Dermatology Blog. February 6, 2008. (Accessed 10/05/2009) http://thedermblog.com/2008/02/06/20-interesting-facts-about-skin/
- Fries, Wendy, C. "Dry Skin: Soothing the Winter Itch." ((Accessed 10/09) http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/dry-skin-soothing-the-itch-in-winter
- Griffin, R. Morgan. "What's Causing Your Dry Skin Problems?" WebMD. March 6, 2009. (Accessed 10/05/2009). http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/whats-causing-your-dry-skin-problem
- Kraft, J.N. "Moisturizers: What They Are -- Practical Approach to Selection." (Accessed 10/20/09) http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/505759_6
- Mayo Clinic. "Dry Skin: Causes." November 26, 2008. (Accessed 10/05/2009)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dry-skin/DS00560/DSECTION=causes
- Mayo Clinic. "Itchy skin (pruritus)." December 20, 2008. (Accessed 10/05/2009)
- Merriam-Webster Online. "Itch." 2009. (Accessed 10/05/2009) http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/itch
- National Psoriasis Foundation. "Treating psoriasis." (Accessed 10/05/2009) http://www.psoriasis.org/netcommunity/learn03
- Scott, Brendan. "Pol Pushes to Ban Fish Pedicures." (Accessed 10/20/09) http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/pol_pushes_to_ban_fish_pedicures_ytCRlw3IUroF23IQ6AsmKP
- Stöppler, Melissa Conrad. "Eczema." Medicine Net. February 11, 2008. (Accessed 10/05/2009)http://www.medicinenet.com/eczema/article.htm
- University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. "Winter Dry Skin." 2005. (Accessed 10/05/2009)http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/skinhealth/winterskin.html
- Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. "Water Usage." (Accessed 10/05/2009)http://www.wssc.dst.md.us/service/WaterUsageChart.cfm
- WebMD. "Eczema." (Accessed 10/20/09) http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/eczema
- WebMD. "Understanding Psoriasis: The Basics." (Accessed 10/20/09) http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/understanding-psoriasis-basics