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If you suffer from dry, itchy skin, it can be exhausting, annoying, and uncomfortable. Nobody wants to live their life constantly scratching away at their skin. You’re probably longing for better, itch-free skin days.
In this article, our experts at Bodewell discuss what causes this common skin problem, what at-home treatments you can use, and what things might aggravate your symptoms.
What Causes Dry, Itchy Skin?
Many things can cause dry, itchy skin. It’s important to take a look at these potential root causes before discussing any treatment options. Once you have a better understanding of what might be causing your skin trouble, you can properly care for your skin.
It’s worth noting that you may get dry skin if you suffer from certain skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis. In addition, other illnesses such as kidney disease and diabetes can also contribute to dry skin that feels itchy.
Eczema and psoriasis can be treated with many over-the-counter medications, treatments, ointments, or creams (more on this a little later).
However, if you’ve been diagnosed with a more severe health problem, like kidney disease or diabetes, it’s best to seek guidance from a medical professional about the best treatment option.
This one on our list shouldn’t come as a surprise: The climate in which you live can affect your skin.
More specifically, if you live in a cold or dry climate, you’re likely to develop dry skin that can become itchy. This is because these climates usually have less moisture or humidity in the air.
But since most of us aren’t packing up and moving to a new state, we’ll share an effective tip later on to help soothe your skin.
While the weather can certainly affect our skin, sometimes the soaps, detergents, or shampoos we use contain lots of harsh, irritating chemicals.
When we use these products every day, they strip our skin of its protective natural oils. This stripping of natural moisture leads to dryness and itchiness on the scalp and other parts of the body.
On top of everything else age brings with it, it is also a contributing factor to developing dry skin. This is because, as we get older, our oil and sweat glands begin to dry up, our skin loses its elasticity and fat, and our skin eventually becomes thinner.
By the time we reach 65, our skin is significantly thinner than it used to be with much less moisture. And, as you know by now, dry skin can lead to itchy skin.
Too Much Hot Water
Many of us love hot, relaxing showers or baths. They can help ease muscle tension and even clear our nasal passages.
But taking long baths or showers can also dry out and irritate your skin. This is because the hot water can damage the cells on the outer layer of your skin, preventing them from being able to lock in moisture.
If you’re spending too much time bathing or showering in hot water, we recommend changing this habit. It will make a big difference in your skin!
The best option is to take shorter baths and showers (around 10 minutes long). And, instead of hot water, opt for lukewarm water.
Common Symptoms Of Dry, Itchy Skin
Aside from the obvious signs, dry, itchy skin often has some combination of the following symptoms:
- Scaly patches
- Bumps or spots (and sometimes blisters)
You could have all or some of these symptoms, but it’s important to watch for these skin irritations so they don’t develop into deeper infections.
Now that you understand a bit more about what dry, itchy skin is and what causes it, let’s discuss the four top tips that will help you look and feel better in no time.
4 Tips To Help Soothe Dry, Itchy Skin
1) Moisturize Often
When you have dry skin, this means your skin lacks moisture. So, it only makes sense that our first tip is for you to moisturize your skin often.
The right moisturizer helps soften and smooth dry skin to prevent it from cracking and itching. Whether you choose a cream, lotion, ointment, or oil, remember to go with one that is hypoallergenic or formulated with natural ingredients, like colloidal oatmeal.
One of the best ways to lock in moisture is to apply moisturizer to slightly damp skin after a shower or bath. Simply pat your skin dry with a soft towel and follow with your moisturizer of choice.
Also, remember to moisturize your hands throughout the day as well, especially if you tend to wash them frequently.
2) Use The Right Product
If a serious medical condition is causing you to have dry, itchy skin, then it’s essential to use the proper skin treatment recommended by your healthcare provider.
As highlighted above, you can also find many over-the-counter creams and ointments to help relieve dry skin symptoms.
Whether you have psoriasis, eczema, or another skin ailment, make sure to use body washes, shampoos, soaps, and creams that give your skin the relief it needs instead of drying it out even further.
3) Boost Humidity In Your Home
Above, we mentioned how living in colder climates can have an adverse effect on your skin. But this is something most people can’t change.
If you find that your climate is the reason behind your dry, itchy skin, we recommend boosting the humidity in your home by using a humidifier. This adds moisture to the air in your home, which can be a skin-saver when you spend more time inside during the colder months.
4) Protect Your Skin From The Sun
During the hot summer months, your skin also needs some extra love due to higher sun exposure.
While the sun is essential for our overall health (it’s the main source of Vitamin D), too much heat and too many UV rays can also harm your skin. We often see this via sunburn or long-term damage to our skin’s structure (such as cancer).
To prevent this from happening to you, use sun protection (with SPF 15 or higher) daily on your face, neck, hands, and other exposed areas.
Also, be sure to wear protective clothing, like a wide-brimmed hat that covers your face and neck, sunglasses, and long sleeves or pants whenever possible.
Another great tip is to avoid direct sunlight during peak daylight hours. You’ll have to check your location for specific times, but it’s usually best to do anything outside in the morning or evening during the summer months.
When To See Your Doctor
Practicing the tips we’ve discussed can help restore your skin’s moisture and rid your body of uncomfortable, dry, itchy skin. There are, however, instances when you may need to consult a medical professional to treat any underlying conditions.
For example, if you leave dry skin alone for too long without treating it, it can become infected. This may result in red and swollen skin that may ooze fluid. If this happens, a doctor will be your best option because you may need antibiotics to help treat the infection.
Reach out to your healthcare provider if you notice other concerning signs also, such as:
- Your dry, itchy skin isn’t improving, despite all your self-care measures.
- The problem has lasted longer than a couple of weeks.
- Your dry, itchy skin can’t be explained. For example, if you haven’t done anything outside of your regular routine but suddenly developed this problem, there may be a more serious underlying issue.
- When other signs accompany your dry, itchy skin. For example, you’re experiencing sudden weight loss or weight gain despite not changing your diet or having night sweats, fever, etc.
Fall In Love With Your Skin Again
Dry, itchy skin doesn’t have to be a part of your everyday life. It is possible to have radiant, moisturized, itch-free skin with the right products, habits, and care.
The good news is the above tips can help you get there. Remember to love on your skin by applying the right moisturizers throughout the day and after bathing.
Our Eczema Daily Calming Cream is a great option for dry skin due to eczema and is safe for daily use. With colloidal oatmeal and a proprietary blend of botanicals, it can help soothe and heal irritated skin.
In addition to finding the right ways to keep your skin hydrated, it’s important to turn down the heat when showering or taking a bath and to protect your skin from the harsh sun’s rays with sunscreen and protective clothing.
With the tips above and skincare products from Bodewell, you can find the relief you’re looking for and fall in love with your skin all over again!