Dry skin usually occurs or worsens in the winter months when the air is particularly dry in our homes. The moisture in our skin evaporates into the dry air. Also, wool clothing and heating blankets sometimes irritate the skin and may increase itching. It is important not to scratch, because this will further irritate the skin.
Effective ways to treat and prevent severely dry skin:
- Use a moisturizing cream to add moisture back into your dry skin.
- Soaking in a bath with bath oil, for 15 to 20 minutes, is helpful because it adds moisture back into the skin.
- A prescription cortisone cream may reduce itching, redness, and irritation.
- Glycolic lotions (alpha hydroxy acids) may be used to exfoliate and slough off the dead skin cells while hydrating and smoothing the skin.
- An antihistamine may be prescribed for itching. Take them as directed. They may cause drowsiness, so decrease or stop the dosage if you become too tired while taking them.
- A cortisone shot may be used to quickly help reduce severe redness, inflammation, and itching.
- The humidity in your home should be kept around 45 to 50 percent, especially in the bedroom where you spend about eight hours a day. The use of a humidifier often helps alleviate dry skin.