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Dry skin can flake, itch, crack, and even bleed. To help relieve dry skin, dermatologists offer these tips:
- Keep baths and showers short. Use warm, not hot water, and a mild cleanser. Gently pat the skin dry.
- Apply moisturizer after getting out of the bath or shower. Ointments and creams tend to be more effective than lotions.
- Read ingredients on skin care products. Deodorant soaps, alcohol-based toners, and products that contain fragrance can irritate dry, sensitive skin.
- Use a humidifier to add much-needed moisture to the air.
- Wear soft fabrics that breathe, such as 100 percent cotton. If you want to wear wool and other rough fabrics, wear a soft fabric underneath.
- Don’t skimp on hand washing, which can remove harmful bacteria and viruses. If you need to wash your hands frequently, hand sanitizers are a good alternative.
- Apply hand cream after each hand washing. If more relief is needed, dab petroleum jelly on your hands before bed. If your hands are frequently immersed in water, wear waterproof gloves to help protect them.
If these tips do not bring relief, make an appointment to see a dermatologist. Very dry skin may require a prescription ointment or cream. Dry skin also can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as eczema.