Other Tips for Preventing Dry Skin
- Do not use cleansing toners, colognes, body mists and splashes, aftershaves, or similar products that contain alcohol. Alcohol dries out skin.
- Avoid coarse, scratchy, or rough fabrics, such as wool, which can make skin feel itchy. Choose softer fabrics, like 100% cotton or silk. Keep this in mind when choosing bedding as well.
- Dry air and low-humidity can pull water from your skin. Running a humidifier in your home, particularly when you have the heat on, can restore moisture to the air. Aim for a humidity level of about 45% to 55%.
Treating Dry, Itchy Skin
If dry skin has left you with small, itchy areas on your body, an over-the-counter anti-itch cream or ointment containing 1% hydrocortisone may offer some relief. Hydrocortisone is a type of steroid medicine that helps reduce itching, redness, and swelling.
If you have extreme itchiness, see a doctor. You may need a prescription for a stronger type of hydrocortisone or other steroid. Your doctor may refer to these products as topical corticosteroids. Topical means you put it on your skin.
When to See a Doctor
If your dry, itchy skin does not get better within two weeks, call your doctor or other health care provider. In some cases, dry skin and itching can be due to an allergic reaction or a skin disorder such as eczema or psoriasis, which may require specific treatments. Severe itching can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition, including liver disease and cancer. That's not likely, but it's something that your doctor would check out.
Don't scratch your itchy skin. Scratching can cause your skin to become infected. Signs of infection include redness, tenderness, swelling, and pus. Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. You may need antibiotics.