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Dry Skin and Itching - Home Treatment

In addition to the prevention guidelines, the following home treatment suggestions may help make you comfortable if you have dry skin.

  • Look for a moisturizer that is a skin barrier repair moisturizer, like CeraVe or TriCeram. Using this type of moisturizer can help heal dry skin.
  • For very dry hands, try this for a night: Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly, and wear thin cotton gloves to bed. (Dry feet may benefit from similar treatment.)
  • If dry, brittle nails are a problem, use lotion on your nails as well.
  • Take care of your nails, keeping your fingernails and toenails trimmed and smooth. Long or sharp nails can accidentally scrape your skin.

Avoid scratching, which damages the skin. If itching is a problem, try the following:

  • Keep the itchy area well moisturized. Dry skin may make itching worse.
  • Try an oatmeal bath to help relieve itching.
    • Wrap 1 cup of oatmeal in a cotton cloth and boil as you would to cook it. Use this as a sponge, and bathe in tepid water without soap.
    • You may also try a commercial product, such as AveenoColloidal Oatmeal bath.
  • Try a nonprescription 1% hydrocortisone cream for small itchy areas.
    • Use the cream very sparingly on the face or genitals.
    • If itching is severe, your doctor may prescribe a stronger cream.
    • If you are using this cream for larger areas like your arms or legs, you may want to mix some of this cream with a moisturizer before putting it on your skin.
  • Try a nonprescription oral antihistamine. Examples include chlorpheniramine (such as Chlor-Trimeton), diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl), and loratadine (such as Claritin).
  • Cut your nails short or wear gloves at night to prevent scratching.
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing. Avoid scratchy fabrics next to your skin.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

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