8 easy ways to manage dry and itchy skin

October 2, 2015

Maintaining healthy skin can be difficult, especially when your skin is overly dry or itchy. Before you spend money on an overpriced skin care solution, check out these simple (and inexpensive!) techniques.

8 easy ways to manage dry and itchy skin

1. Skip the soap

If your skin is showing signs of aging most soaps are simply too drying for older skin.

  • Choose a moisturizing body wash for showering and a moisturizing cleanser for face-washing at the sink.

2. Take a warm bath

Add 10 drops of chamomile oil to bathwater, then soak for 10 minutes.

  • Other bath additions to help itchy skin include oatmeal and geranium, hyssop, peppermint, and myrrh essential oils (use 10 drops of one type).
  • Don't forget to slather on the moisturizer afterward, and make sure the water is warm, not hot. Hot water tends to dry out skin.

3. Stick to non-smoking bars and restaurants

Secondhand smoke harms your skin nearly as much as smoking cigarettes yourself.

  • Luckily, it's getting easier to avoid as more cities and even countries ban indoor smoking.

4. Hydrate the air

It makes sense that dry air is bad for dry skin, and the air in your home is driest in the winter. So moisturize the air and your skin with a humidifier.

  • You can have a humidifier installed as part of your heating system or use portable humidifiers.
  • Another way to put more moisture into the air in winter is to hang just-washed clothes to dry in the house. A final spin in the dryer helps remove any stiffness and wrinkles.

5. Take your vitamins

At 400 IU or more (check with your doctor regarding dosage), vitamin E can help reduce inflammation and soothe itching.

  • One study of 96 people found significant improvement or complete remission of atopic dermatitis in 62 percent of those taking the vitamin.
  • Take 500 milligrams of vitamin C daily.
  • Both E and C are powerful antioxidants that can protect the skin from further oxidative damage.

6. Exfoliate at least weekly

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead cells from the skin's surface and revealing "younger," fresher skin below. It helps get rid of that dull look aging can bring, shrink the appearance of large pores, and remove any flakiness from dry skin.

  • Typically, you use a liquid exfoliant to do the job. But if these are too harsh for your skin, try a cleanser with 10 percent alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), naturally occurring acids that act as exfoliators.
  • If you use products with AHAs, look for over-the-counter brands with glycolic acid, which seems to penetrate the skin best.

7. Wear gloves

Not for warmth, but for skin protection. Use rubber gloves for washing dishes, doing housework, and handling household cleaners.

  • Even better, switch to gentler, "green" cleaners that aren't made with harsh chemicals, or use natural ingredients like vinegar for cleaning. But still wear the gloves!

8. Slather on the moisturizer

Forget fancy, expensive treatments; just look for a drugstore moisturizer especially formulated for dry skin.

  • Try one that includes SPF 15 sunscreen so you can attack two problems with one emollient.
  • Moisturize at least twice a day — when you first step out of the shower, before your skin is completely dry (the moisturizer will form a film over your skin, locking in liquid), and again before you go to bed after cleansing your face with a moisturizing cleanser.

Relieving your dry or itchy skin may be easier than you think! Try these easy techniques and indulge in regular skin care for the best results.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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