Dry skin may be caused by a number of reasons, some external and some internal. Treatment of its patches involves addressing the cause. This condition can be treated and involves the use of oral medication, topical applications, and lifestyle corrections.
You will see dry skin patches more often on the arms, thighs, lower legs, sides of the abdomen, and the lips. Its occurrence on the face or around the mouth is less common and in such cases, it requires urgent results due to appearance priorities.
Certain over the counter dry skin products are available to obtain relief from its symptoms. Using a certain lotion or cream that contains lactic acid or lactic acid and urea does significantly help and you should use it as advised.
Depending on the severity of dry skin, treatment will be either external only or may require additional internal medicines and supplements also.
Deficiency of certain vitamins, notably A, D and C, does cause your skin to become dry or cause your existing condition to worsen. Taking supplements of such nutrients will definitely help in cure.
Vitamin D is critical for your health and wellness. Besides its benefits on almost all systems of the body, its value in skin health is immense. It is a fat-soluble vitamin, which is necessary for the well being and proper function of our skin and hair. It is important for cell turnover, which improves skin appearance.
Vitamin D also helps to maintain the moisture of the skin, which is important to prevent dryness of the skin. If it is deficient, vitamin D especially vitamin D3 supplements become necessary in the treatment of dry skin.
Research does associate low levels of vitamin D with skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, both of which cause dry skin. Taking vitamin D supplements significantly improves the symptoms associated with dry skin including itching.
Vitamin A protects the skin against UV damage and slows signs of skin aging by smoothening skin wrinkles, improving skin tone and promoting healthy skin cell production.
It improves skin immunity, which is the first line of defense against bacteria, pollutants, and infection.
Dry skin is a common sign of vitamin A deficiency, which causes the skin to become scaly along with reduced mucus secretion.
Taking vitamin A supplements helps in proper skin cell growth and repair and rids the skin of its dryness.
Vitamin C is a powerful skin antioxidant, an important skin nutrient, and essential for the production of collagen. It also helps in maintaining skin hydration and thereby finds use in treating dry skin.
Lotion and moisturizer
For plain dry and sensitive skin, you should apply non-alcohol based moisturizing lotions such as Cetaphil, Aveeno, or Lubriderm lotion over the dry skin. Do this several times during the day and especially apply after bathing.
These lotions contain glycerine, which attracts water from the deeper tissues and helps hydrate the upper layer.
They thereby help to moisturize and protect the skin. Moisturizing of the skin also helps to relieve itching if present. These lotions are also enriched with vitamins A and E.
You can also apply baby oil after a bath and while your skin is moist. If you use cosmetics, go for those that contain moisturizers. This will reduce the dryness of the skin.
Dry skin cream
For an uncomplicated dry and scaly skin, your dermatologist may advise over the counter creams or lotions, which contain lactic acid and urea such as Amlactin 12% lotion.
Lactic acid has an exfoliating ability, which helps to improve the look and texture of dry skin. (Exfoliating means buffing away the dead cells of the outer layer of the epidermis).
Urea helps to retain the moisture as by its nature it is attracted to water and helps retain the moisture in the skin, thereby helping to rehydrate the dry skin. Eucerine is a dry skin cream that contains 10% urea and is prescribed for dry skin.
It is best to depend on your dermatologist for treating dry skin especially when complications such as psoriasis or eczema have developed.
For dry skin associated with eczema or psoriasis or ichthyosis, a cream containing an antibiotic (to control infection) and hydrocortisone (to control inflammation) is usually prescribed.
For a more severe infection, oral antibiotics may become necessary.
For dry skin associated with open cracks and cuts or sores, appropriate dressing with a product such as potassium permanganate with astringent properties will help control the secretions and prevent infection.
- Limit bath time to 5 to 10 minutes and do not use hot water. A lukewarm water bath is good for the skin. Long hot water baths remove the oils from your skin making it prone to dryness.
- Do not use harsh soaps for the same reason.
- Tap yourself dry with a towel after a bath and apply the moisturizer over the dry skin patches after about ten minutes while the skin is still moist.
- Do not expose your body to the sun for prolonged periods.
- Use skin-friendly fabrics. The use of clothes made of natural fabrics such as cotton and silk allows your skin to breathe. Although wool is a natural fabric, it can irritate your skin and worsen the itching. Woolen clothes, therefore, should be avoided.
- If you use forced air systems in your house, such as a heater during winter or an air conditioner during summer, be sure to use an air humidifier also. This will avoid the air in your home from becoming dry.
- Avoid drinking alcohol if you have dry skin because it causes dehydration, which can aggravate the condition.
- Drink 12 to 15 glasses of water throughout the day and make it a habit.