Dry skin can be itchy and flaky -- it's caused by a number of skin conditions and environmental factors. When temperatures turn cold, lack of humidity in the air can rob your skin of moisture, according to the Mayo Clinic. Also, if you take long, hot showers, baths or frequently expose your skin to water, harsh soaps or detergents, you may be more likely to experience dry skin. Knowing what remedies can heal your dry skin can help you find fast relief.
Utilize a humidifier in your home, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. A humidifier will re-introduce moisture into a dry environment during the winter. Be sure to clean the humidifier frequently because bacteria can build up and be launched into the air.
Limit your shower time and adjust the water temperature to lukewarm. Showering longer can remove moisture from your skin, causing it to become more dry. An oatmeal bath or adding oils to the bathwater can make your skin less dry, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Pat or blot your skin dry after exiting the shower. This will leave some moisture on the skin, which will help when you apply a moisturizer, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Apply a moisturizer to your skin within three minutes after exiting your shower or bath, according to the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. Avoid applying a moisturizer that is highly perfumed because the chemical ingredients can dry out your skin. If you have concentrated areas of patchy skin, apply a petroleum jelly or even vegetable shortening to relieve dry areas.
Wear a natural-fiber fabric such as cotton or silk throughout the day. The Mayo Clinic says these fabrics allow your skin to "breathe." Avoid wool because it can be irritating.
Apply cool compresses made by dipping a towel in cool water to any areas of the skin that are itchy. According to the Mayo Clinic, this prevents you from scratching. After 10 minutes, remove the compress and re-apply moisturizer.
Reapply moisturizer as needed throughout the day. Be sure to sleep with your humidifier on as this can help keep your skin moisturized overnight.
Things You'll Need
Petroleum jelly or vegetable shortening
If your skin does not apply to over-the-counter treatments, see your physician who can prescribe a stronger cream, such as one that contains alpha or beta hydroxy acids, urea-based cream or cortisone, according to Skinsight. Because extremely dry skin can be an indicator of a more serious health condition, your physician may recommend diagnostic testing to determine its cause.