Dry skin can be flaky, itchy, and painful. Learn our top tips to soothe irritation, hydrate your skin, and experience more good skin days.

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Dry Skin: Causes, Treatment, And Prevention

05/07/20228 min read

If you struggle with dry skin, you know how uncomfortable it can be. From constant itching to unsightly red patches, dry skin disrupts your life.

At Bodewell, we want to help you live more freely from the limitations of skin conditions. In this article, we’ll discuss common causes of dry skin, ways to treat it, and preventive measures you can take to keep your skin hydrated.

But first, let’s look at what dry skin actually is and what symptoms it can cause.

Table Of Contents

dry itchy hands

What Is Dry Skin?

Xerosis, or dry skin, is a dermatological condition that occurs when your skin loses too much water and oil. This can cause it to become rough, scaly, and cracked. In severe cases, dry skin can also lead to itching, redness, and bleeding.

These irritated spots most commonly show up on faces, hands, and feet but can affect any area of your body.

Common Causes Of Dry Skin

Many things can cause your skin to become dry. Some of the most common culprits include environmental factors, medications or products, and a variety of skin conditions.

Let’s look at these causes in more detail.

Environmental Factors

dry skin caused by cold weather

It’s no secret that harsh weather is hard on your skin.

During the winter months, humidity that provides moisture in the air decreases. Dry air often results in dry skin, which can worsen eczema. You'll likely notice your skin losing moisture and appearing rough, dry, and flaky.

Hot temperatures can also aggravate eczema. For some people with eczema, warm, sunny, and humid weather brings relief. Others, however, find that the hot weather triggers eczema flare-ups.

Additionally, inside environmental conditions can also cause dry skin. For example, if your home is air-conditioned or heated with a wood stove, your skin can quickly lose moisture even though you’re indoors.

Medications And Products

Some medications may also cause or worsen dry skin. If you're taking medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, or arthritis, for example, you may experience dry skin as a side effect. It's important to talk to your doctor if you think your medication is causing your skin to become dry.

In addition, some everyday products can make your skin dry. Harsh soaps, detergents, and solvents all strip skin of its natural oils.

Long Showers Or Baths

showers and dry skin

You might think soaking in water helps moisturize your skin, but that isn't the case. In fact, if you stay in a shower or bath too long, your skin can actually become dry because the water washes away its natural oils.

Skin Conditions

As we mentioned above, some skin conditions cause dryness. For instance, psoriasis, eczema, and ichthyosis can all make your skin dry and scaly.

Underlying Health Conditions

Dry skin is sometimes a symptom of other health problems. If you frequently deal with dry skin and you aren’t sure why, it's worth talking to your doctor about potential underlying conditions.

Hormonal Changes

dry skin caused by hormonal changes

Many women experience dry skin during pregnancy and menopause. The changing hormone levels during these times can impact your skin’s moisture levels.

Dehydration

If you're not drinking enough water every day, your body pulls moisture from your skin to use in other areas. This can then cause dryness.

How To Treat Dry Skin

Once you know what is causing your dry skin, there are things you can do to find relief. Home remedies, specific moisturizing and calming ingredients, and proven products are all great options for reducing your symptoms.

Home Remedies

Most cases of dry skin can safely be treated at home. Here are four simple home remedies you can try.

1) Take An Oatmeal Bath

oatmeal bath dry skin care routine

Looking for a simple and relaxing way to soothe dry skin? Grind up some oatmeal and add it to your bathwater. Just don’t use water that is too hot, and keep your soak short so you don't cause more dryness and irritation.

2) Run A Humidifier

If the air in your home is drying out your skin, consider investing in a humidifier. By regularly running a humidifier, you can add moisture into the air and help prevent dry skin.

3) Drink More Water

Staying hydrated is key to keeping your skin healthy. If you're not getting enough water, your skin won’t be able to replenish itself and retain its natural elasticity and moisture.

Plus, water is beneficial for your overall health.

4) Try Dry Brushing

dry brushing

Dry brushing is a technique that can keep your skin looking radiant if done regularly. Simply rub a small, stiff-bristled brush lengthwise on your skin. This will help improve circulation, remove flaky skin, and help keep your skin looking healthy.

Helpful Ingredients For Dry Skin

In addition to the home remedies listed above, certain ingredients can help prevent and improve dry skin. Try one of the following three for natural soothing.

1) Colloidal Oatmeal

Oats aren't just for breakfast. If you make a colloid from oats and water, you can use it to trap moisture in your skin. Colloidal oatmeal is very effective, which is why we use this ingredient regularly.

2) Coconut Oil

coconut oil for dry itchy skin

Many health and beauty products contain coconut oil because it moisturizes well by melting on body temperature and absorbing into your skin. To soothe irritated skin, apply a small amount of coconut oil directly to your dry patches.

3) Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has been used for centuries to soothe and heal a variety of skin conditions. And if you keep an aloe vera plant in your home, you can quickly harvest the sap from its leaves when you need some.

Hydrating Products To Try

If the idea of grinding your own oatmeal doesn't sound like fun to you, don't worry. There are plenty of effective products you can use to hydrate your skin.

Our Daily Eczema Calming Cream, for example, can work wonders on dry skin. Between the colloidal oatmeal and a proprietary blend of botanical ingredients, your skin will feel pampered and soothed with every application.

Additionally, our Sensitive Skin Moisturizing Body Wash is designed for sensitive skin and helps lock in moisture while you shower, leaving your skin feeling soft and smooth. Bonus: It's gentle enough to use from head to toe, so feel free to lather up whenever (and wherever) you need to.

How To Prevent Dry Skin

Using the right products and ingredients can help improve your skin once it's dry. But you don't have to wait until your knuckles are cracked to start taking action. Proactively taking care of your skin can keep it from drying out in the first place.

Here are some easy tips to help you care for your skin every day.

1) Drink Plenty of Water

stay hydrated to prevent dry skin

Staying hydrated can improve your skin and help your body run more smoothly. As a rule of thumb, try to drink at least eight glasses of water each day.

2) Avoid Ingredients That Aggravate Your Skin

Some people have sensitive skin. If that's you, you'll want to avoid skincare products that contain fragrances, alcohol, and other harsh ingredients as these can wreak havoc on your skin.

3) Take Short, Warm Showers

We talked about this in the oatmeal bath section, but hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils. Try to keep your showers lukewarm in temperature and short (no longer than 5 to 10 minutes).

4) Apply Moisturizer Often

moisturize often to prevent dry skin

Apply moisturizer regularly to help prevent dry skin. For best results, use your favorite moisturizer after you shower and before bed.

5) Make Lifestyle Changes

If the environment you live in is dry, there's not much you can do about it. But there are some things you can do to care for your skin on a daily basis.

  • Don't spend a lot of time out in the sun. And when you do go out, always wear sunscreen.
  • Wear gloves. Since fingers and hands are prone to dry skin, it's important to protect them from the cold and wind.
  • Stay back from the woodstove. Sitting in front of your stove watching the flames is so relaxing, but it can dry out your skin. To protect yourself, stay back or use an alternate heat source.

If you've tried several products or implemented the above lifestyle changes and your skin isn't improving, consider talking to your doctor. Since they know your individual health history, they can help you pinpoint the right treatment.

Keeping Your Skin Hydrated And Healthy

skin hydration routine

Dry skin can be a real pain, both literally and figuratively. But if you find yourself battling scaly patches or irritation, thankfully, there are many things you can try to soothe and heal your skin.

From home remedies to store-bought products, there are plenty of ways to love on your skin. So, don't let dry skin get you down. Instead, add Daily Calming Cream into your routine, and follow the tips and tricks outlined in this article.

You'll be amazed at how much of a difference the right products and practices can make!

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