How to Get Rid of Dry Skin Patches

Whether the harsh winter weather has given your skin a beating or the hot summer months are exposing your skin to too much sunshine, dry skin patches are uncomfortable and unappealing to look at. You can slather on lotions and creams all day long, but sometimes you have to be a little more aggressive to fight dryness. Step up your game when it comes to getting rid of dry skin patches to reveal the soft, smooth skin that’s underneath.

A young woman is moisturizing her skin. (Image: thodonal/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Exfoliate the dry skin patches up to three times per week. Use a gentle exfoliating scrub, exfoliating sponge or loofah to scrub off dead skin. Exfoliating is necessary to remove the dead skin barrier that prevents moisture from soaking into the skin. Pat your skin dry with a towel after exfoliating. Do not rub with the towel, which can make the dry patches worse.

Step 2

Apply moisturizer daily to the dry patches immediately after bathing or showering. Moisturizing the skin while it’s still slightly damp helps to lock in the moisture that’s already on your skin. Look for moisturizers that contain alpha-hydroxy acids or urea, and avoid products that contain fragrances or dyes. Apply moisturizer to the dry skin patches again before going to bed.

Step 3

Soak in the bathtub a few times a week to soften the dry skin patches. Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a lukewarm bath, then soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Use small handfuls of the salt while you’re soaking to gently scrub the dry patches on your body. Toss a couple of tablespoons of olive, almond or jojoba oil into the bath water after soaking for a few minutes with just the Epsom salt. The oil will help to absorb and seal in the moisture.

Step 4

Treat the dry patches with milk a few times a week. Moisten a washcloth with cold milk and lay it on the dry patches for about 5 minutes at a time. The lactic acid in the milk helps remove dead skin and aids the skin in retaining moisture.

Step 5

Smooth aloe vera gel onto the dry patches twice a day. The acids in aloe vera work to eat away the dead skin and help the dry patches heal more quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Exfoliating scrub, sponge or loofah

  • Body moisturizer

  • Towel

  • 2 cups Epsom salt

  • 2 tablespoons olive, almond or jojoba oil

  • Milk

  • Washcloth

  • Aloe vera gel


Drink plenty of water while combating dry skin. Hydrating your body from the inside helps skin stay supple on the outside, so make sure to drink at least eight glasses per day.

Keep your showers short and use warm water rather than hot. Use mild cleansers that are fragrance- and dye-free.

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