Dry Skin

What is dry skin?

Dry skin is characterized by mild scaling, roughness, feeling of tightness, and possibly itching. With dry skin reactions, the skin cells at the lower layer of the epidermis (top layer of skin) are dry and flat, with no moisture. Factors that contribute to dry skin reactions include:

  • Dehydration
  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Perfumed products
  • Allergy

When a moisturizer is used on the surface of the skin, the product penetrates and restores moisture to the skin cells. Creams and lotions are effective ways of restoring moisture following dry skin reactions. Ointments are designed to be a barrier and stay on the surface of the skin for protection against harsh elements.

Things you can do to manage dry skin reactions:


  • Perfumed products
  • Bubble bath
  • Soap, particularly perfumed soaps.
  • Soap-free cleansing bars, these can be drying and potentially irritating.
  • Lanolin-based creams, lotions, ointments etc.
  • Anything that you think you might be allergic to. (common allergy-causing agents; detergents, plants, pets, harsh chemicals in household cleaning products, rubber gloves, jewelry, feathers, grass and pollen, artificial fingernails and adhesive).

Personal Hygiene:

  • Dry yourself by patting your skin with a soft towel, rather than rubbing vigorously.
  • Use mild, non-perfumed, non-deodorant soaps such as Dove, Basis, Aveeno or Neutrogena dry skin soaps. Or low allergy soap of soap substitute - cream, cleaning gels.
  • Take showers or short, cool baths instead of long, hot baths.
  • Shaving for men - if dry skin reactions occurs on your face, skip a couple of days (over a weekend?) to give your face a rest. Do not use perfumed after-shave.
  • Shaving for women - if after shaving your legs a rash appears do not shave again until the skin has completely healed.


  • Wear cotton clothes where possible next to the skin, rather than wool, synthetic fibers or rough clothing.
  • Wash clothes in mild detergent.


  • Extreme weather conditions can worsen and cause dry skin reactions (hot and sunny, cold and windy).
  • Wear gloves in cold weather.
  • Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 15 (or higher) sunblock and protective clothing.


  • Drink plenty of fluids keep your body well hydrated. You should drink 2-3 quarts of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages daily, unless you are instructed to restrict your fluid intake.

Lotions and creams:

  • Use moisturizers regularly. Moisturizers prevent water loss by layering an oily substance over the skin to keep water in or by attracting water to the outer skin layer from the inner skin layer. Substances that stop water loss include petroleum, mineral oil, lanolin and silicone products. Substances that attract water to the skin include glycerin, propylene glycol, proteins and some vitamins.
  • Bath oils such as baby oil, mineral oil, Herbal Bath Oil, Lubriderm Bath Oil, or Neutrogena Body Oil can be applied to your wet skin after you emerge from the bath or shower.

Protect hands:

  • Always rinse and dry hands carefully, particularly after contact with cleaning products.
  • Wear rubber or vinyl gloves to protect hands, underneath wear thin cotton gloves. Do not wear for long periods of time. (Wash the cotton gloves frequently).

Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website about skin reactions and other medical conditions is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.

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