Dealing with dry and itchy skin

October 30, 2014

Does your dry skin itch from head to toe? Read on to find out how to soothe your dry skin now.

Dealing with dry and itchy skin

Why is your skin dry?

If your skin is dry, it needs more moisture. When the skin loses its flexibility, it loses its strength and elasticity which means wrinkles will become more and more apparent.

The changing seasons are often responsible for dryness due to variances in the air’s humidity. For example the winter months require indoor heating meaning that as the house warms up, the air becomes dryer.

Contrary to popular belief, soaking in water, especially hot water, is terribly drying to skin so avoid hot showers and baths as much as possible. If you drink lots of water, you not only hydrate your body but also your skin.

The role of moisturizers

If your skin is dry, it’s because its protective layer has disappeared. The skin lacks the fatty substance on the surface which acts as a barrier. Moisturizers replenish this barrier and lock moisture in.

When should you consult a doctor? If your skin is red, irritated, cracked and itchy despite the use of heavy moisturizers, you may be suffering from a skin disorder such as eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis.

Different treatments and creams

You can’t use the same treatment on your scalp as you would on your face or feet. Speak to your pharmacist, hairdresser or beautician and in severe cases, consult a dermatologist.

  • Facial and body creams should be customized according to the season. Lighter moisturizers are suitable for summer while richer fluids may be necessary in the winter. If your skin is still too dry, you’ll need a richer night cream.
  • For a dry, itchy scalp try hot oil treatments.
  • Pamper your feet with an oil-based cream to ensure long-lasting effectiveness. Anti-itching powders are available over-the-counter at your pharmacy.

Helpful tips

  • The moment you step out of the bath or shower, apply a generous amount of body butter or moisturizing cream to your entire body.
  • If you’re buying products in a pharmacy, be sure to read the labels carefully. Some products and acne treatments contain alcohol, which is very drying. Instead look for vitamin E, aloe, argan and similar natural ingredients.
  • Replace your soap with a gentle cleansing milk or oil-based shower gel; but avoid perfumed and overly scented products, as they often cause irritation.
  • Switch your laundry detergent with one that is hypoallergenic. Common chemicals found in detergent and dryer sheets are a frequent cause of unpleasant itching in people with sensitive skin.
  • Be sure to do moisturizing scalp treatments regularly. Your hairdresser can help you with this and give you advice.
  • Eat fish oil (salmon, herring), flax seed oil, walnuts and other foods that are rich in healthy fats, which moisturize the skin naturally from the inside out.
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