Tips for flaky, itchy and dry skin

Dry skin (xerosis) occurs when skin doesn’t retain sufficient moisture. This can happen as a result of frequent bathing, use of harsh soaps, aging, or certain medical conditions. And for those in colder climates, it can stem from cold, dry winter air. People may suffer from red, rough, raw, and itchy skin. This is because cold winter air means low humidity, both outdoors and indoors. The water content of the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) tends to reflect the level of humidity around it. Even if you live in a part of the world where cold winter air is not currently — or ever — a concern, most people will need to manage dry skin at some point.

What can you do about dry skin?

When you have flaky, itchy, dry skin, you want fast relief. Fortunately, there are many simple and inexpensive things you can do to relieve dry skin.

The tips for keeping skin soft and healthy can help all who battle dry skin. Here are some ways to combat dry skin that are effective if practiced consistently:

  • Keep moisture in the skin

Skin moisturizers, which rehydrate the top layer of skin cells and seal in the moisture, are the first step in combating dry skin. They contain three main types of ingredients.

  • Humectants, which help attract moisture, include ceramides, glycerin, sorbitol, hyaluronic acid, and lecithin.
  • Occlusive agents, for example, petrolatum (petroleum jelly), silicone, lanolin, and mineral oil — help seal that moisture within the skin.
  • Emollients, such as linoleic, linolenic, and lauric acids, add hydration from their formulation and smooth skin by filling in the spaces between skin cells.

In general, the thicker and greasier a moisturizer, the more effective it will be. Some of the most effective (and least expensive) are petroleum jelly and moisturizing oils (such as mineral oil). Because they contain no water, they’re best used while the skin is still damp from bathing, to seal in the moisture. To reduce the greasy feel of petroleum jelly and thick creams, rub a small amount into your hands and then rub it over the affected areas until neither your hands nor the affected areas feel greasy.

Other moisturizers contain water as well as oil, in varying proportions. These are less greasy and may be more cosmetically appealing than petroleum jelly or oils.

Apply moisturizers immediately after bathing or washing your hands. This helps plug the spaces between your skin cells and seal in moisture while your skin is still damp.

To make it optimal, look for a moisturizer with sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher to get the added benefit of sun protection. You can find moisturizing sunscreens as ointments, creams, gels, even sprays.

  • Use a humidifier

Cold, dry air is a common cause of dry, irritated skin. Use a humidifier especially in the winter. Set it to around 60%, a level that should be sufficient to replenish the top layer of the skin. You can track humidity easily with an inexpensive humidity meter, called a hygrometer.

  • Take a bath/ shower and towel dry smartly

Limit yourself to one 5- to 10-minute bath or shower daily. If you bathe more than that, you may strip away much of the skin’s oily layer and cause it to lose moisture.

Use lukewarm rather than hot water. The problem is that hot water wash away your natural oil barrier, and you need that barrier to help trap moisture and keep your skin smooth and moist.

Pat or blot (don’t rub) the skin when toweling dry. Pat skin dry for less than 20 seconds.

Source: AADA
  • Cleanse gently

Minimize your use of soaps; if necessary, choose moisturizing preparations or consider soap-free cleansers. Gentle soaps that are free of fragrance are a great option. Products with deodorant or antibacterial additives can be harsh on skin. Steer clear of deodorant soaps, perfumed soaps, and alcohol products, which can strip away natural oils.

You might also consider a cleanser that contains ceramides. Ceramides are fatty molecules that make up the outer barrier of your skin. They help skin hold in moisture. Some skin care products use synthetic ceramides to replace those we lose with age.

Go easy on astringents made with alcohol, which is drying.

To avoid damaging the skin, stay away from bath sponges, scrub brushes, and washcloths. If you don’t want to give them up altogether, be sure to use a light touch. When you exfoliate, don’t scrub too much or too hard. It can irritate and thicken skin.

  • Shave smartly

Shaving can irritate dry skin. As you shave unwanted hair, you’re also scraping off natural oils.

The best time to shave is after you shower, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Hairs are softer and more pliable after bathing, making shaving easier.

Always use a shaving cream or gel, and shave in the direction the hair is growing to protect your skin.

Make sure the razor is sharp. A dull razor blade can cause additional irritation. Change your razor blades often. If you are using a blade you’ve used before, soak it in rubbing alcohol to clean it.

  • Wear gloves

Our hands are often the first place we notice dry skin. You can reduce dry, raw skin by putting on gloves before you:

  • Go outdoors in winter or in the sun
  • Perform tasks that require you to get your hands wet
  • Get chemicals, greases, and other substances on your hands.
  • Other tips
  • Never, ever scratch. Most of the time, a moisturizer can control the itch. You can also use a cold pack or compress to relieve itchy spots.
  • Use fragrance-free laundry detergents and avoid fabric softeners.
  • Avoid wearing wool and other fabrics that can irritate the skin. Or you can wear cotton or silk under your clothing made of wool or another material that feels rough.

If above-mentioned changes do not bring relief, you may want to see a dermatologist. Very dry skin can require a prescription ointment or cream. Dry skin also can be a sign of a skin condition that needs treatment. A dermatologist can examine your skin and explain what can help reduce your discomfort.

Source: HARVARD HEALTH PUBLISHING, WEB MD, American Academy of Dermatology Association

About STELLA

Stellapharm is one of leading generics pharmaceutical companies and strong producer of anti-viral drugs in Vietnam. The company established in Vietnam in 2000; and focuses on both prescription drugs and non-prescription especially in cardiovascular diseases, antiviral drugs, anti-diabetics drugs, etc. and our products are now used by millions of patients in more than 50 countries worldwide.

The company is globally recognized for its quality through our facilities have been audited and approved by stringent authority like EMA, PMDA, Taiwan GMP, local WHO and others.

Additional information for this article: Stellapharm J.V. Co., Ltd. – Branch 1
A: 40 Tu Do Avenue, Vietnam – Singapore Industrial Park, An Phu Ward, Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province, Vietnam
T: +84 274 376 7470 | F: +84 274 376 7469 | E: info@stellapharm.com | W: www.stellapharm.com

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