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  5. Dry Skin - Causes, Prevention and Treatments

Scaly, itchy and patchy skin? You may be experiencing dryness! Don’t worry, here’s all you need to know about dry skin, its causes and how you can treat it.

1. What Is Dry Skin?

Flaky texture characterizes dry skin. If your skin feels scaly, rough and itchy, it may be experiencing dry skin.

2. What Causes Dry Skin?

Internal and external factors are responsible for dry skin. But the latter is easier to

You may be experiencing dry skin because of the following:

A. External Factors


Humidity keeps your skin moist throughout the day. However, low moisture in winters and cold climates may dry up your skin.

Harsh Soaps/Chemicals

Soaps are emulsifiers. Scrubbing your skin too hard with soap may strip your skin of essential oils. Over-washing your skin can soak up necessary oils as well.

B. Internal Factors

Certain Medication For Acne

Oral and topical medication for acne may result in dry skin.

High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure And Allergies

Dry skin may be a symptom of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and allergies (usually to harsh chemicals).


As you age, oil production in your body reduces. This is why older people tend to have more flaky skin.

Skin Conditions And Health

Skin conditions like eczema cause dry skin. Health problems like diabetes and malnourishment can also cause your skin to get flaky.

Family History

If your parents and immediate family members have dry skin, it is likely for you to have it too.

3. Types Of Dry Skin

A. Contact Dermatitis

This usually occurs as a result of an allergic reaction to a substance or chemical. (1) It is characterized by a red, itchy rash on your skin. Skincare products such as soaps, lotions and face wash can also cause contact dermatitis.

Use dermatologically tested products based on your skin type.

B. Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition. It is determined by flaky, itchy, rough skin on the scalp and face. The exact cause of this condition is unknown. Genes and hormonal changes may contribute to Seborrheic dermatitis.

C. Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a chronic skin condition.

It is characterized by dry and flaky patches on the skin and is a common phenomenon among young children.

4. Symptoms Of Dry Skin

Symptoms of dry skin

The first symptom of dry skin is usually itchiness. If your skin feels itchy and tight on a regular basis, you probably have dry skin. Other symptoms of dry skin include:

  • Flaky skin
  • Rough skin
  • Red plaques (that may be the result of eczema)

Over-scratching your skin won’t help. It may worsen the situation and can lead to an ‘itch-scratch’ cycle.

Dry skin typically affects the arms, legs and abdomen.

5. How To Get Rid Of Dry Skin?

A. Moisturizers

Moisturizing the skin on a daily basis helps alleviate dry skin. It reduces irritation and prevents the issue from recurring. (2)

Moisturizers keep the skin hydrated throughout the day. They trap the existing moisture in the skin.

The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that one should apply moisturizer right after a shower. (3)


B. Honey

Honey is a natural moisturizing agent. It is used to treat a variety of skin conditions including scars, dry skin and acne

A popular ingredient in many skin and hair care products (4), honey acts as a natural emollient that increases water content in the skin. It relieves dry skin and has a soothing effect.

C. Aloe Vera

Another widely used ingredient in cosmetic products, aloe vera works as a moisturizer. It restores smooth skin. Believed to have soothing properties, its amino acids soften skin cells. The plant’s gel also prevents flaky skin by sticking the epidermal cells together. (5)

D. Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum Jelly is a semi-solid jelly-like substance, which contains mineral oils and waxes.

It is essential to moisturize your skin and make it appear soft.

Studies reveal that it keeps the skin moist and can heal minor wounds and burns. (6) It restricts your skin from getting dry. Apply it after a shower on the affected area.

E. Oils (Mineral Oil)

Topical mineral oils are found in the form of lotions and creams. Studies suggest that applying mineral oils on the skin softens and moisturizes it. Researchers found that mineral oil naturally hydrates the outermost layer of the skin. (7) This keeps the skin moist and supple. 

F. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can work wonders to treat dry skin!

A study showed that coconut oil acts as an emollient and improves skin hydration. The research also resulted in increased surface lipid levels. (8) Lipids are basically fatty acids that are vital for our skin. They keep the skin moist and hydrated.

Olive oil and jojoba oil are said to have moisturizing properties too. Sunflower oil is considered to tackle dry skin and eczema. (9)

G. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is vital to keep your skin healthy. Vitamin E is used as a topical remedy for dry skin.

Benefits of Vitamin E

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Moisturizing and water binding properties

Vitamin E plays a vital role in protecting your skin from UV rays. It helps minimize damage caused to the body when directly exposed to the sun. (10) It has moisturizing and water-binding properties, essential to treat dry skin.

Our body naturally produces Vitamin E through sebum. However, a lack of sebum production reduces the amount of Vitamin E in the body.

Foods rich in Vitamin E can also relieve you of dry skin. Add nuts, seeds and Vitamin E supplements to your diet.

H. Vitamin C

Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are rich in Vitamin C.

Benefits Of Vitamin C

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Water-binding properties

Studies suggest that topical application of Vitamin C reduces dryness and rough texture of the skin.

Research shows that Vitamin C enhances the production of barrier-lipids on the outer layer of the skin. This traps water in the skin, keeping it moist and soft. (11)

I. Humidifier

Humidity is vital to help improve dry skin. A humidifier is a device that increases the humidity in a room or a closed space. This is effective during dry climates.

Moisture from the skin may evaporate in dry climates. A humidifier helps the skin retain its natural moisture by increasing humidity.

J. Oatmeal Bath

Oatmeal is a widely used ingredient in many skincare products. Oatmeal baths are an age-old tradition to treat dry skin. Studies suggest that topical forms of oatmeal can be used to treat dry skin issues, eczema, rashes, atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis. (12)

Colloidal oatmeal is nothing but finely ground oatmeal, suspended in liquid. Oatmeal is easily absorbed by the skin in this form.

Oatmeal contains Vitamin E, ferulic acid and avenanthramides. These components are vital to improve skin health.

Benefits Of Oatmeal

  • Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
  • Cleanses skin
  • Relieves dry skin, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, eczema and rashes
  • Soothes skin after use
  • Contributes to lipid regulation in the skin
  • Maintains pH levels in the skin
  • Strengthens skin barriers and traps moisture

How To Take An Oatmeal Bath

Fill up a tub with luke-warm water. Add a good amount of oatmeal to the water. Soak in the mixture for at least 10 minutes. An oatmeal bath can be taken three times a day for effective and faster results.

6. How To Prevent Dry Skin

A. Avoid Taking Long Showers

Spending too much time in the hot shower removes essential oils and water from your skin. Take a bath with luke-warm water and avoid staying in for too long. Apply moisturizer within a few minutes of drying yourself up.

B. Loose Clothing

Rough fabrics can irritate your skin. If you have dry skin, consider wearing finely woven cotton or silk clothes. Loose clothing is always a better option for those who have dry skin. (13) Tight clothes can rub against your skin to cause irritation, itchiness and rashes.

C. Stay Hydrated

From dry skin to acne, water is essential to help improve any skin condition. Drink enough water throughout the day and stay hydrated. This will keep your skin moist and maintain its water content.

D. Eat Healthy Food

A healthy diet is vital to maintain necessary water content and enhance sebum production in the body. Foods rich in Vitamin E and C help maintain healthy skin.

E. Moisturize Regularly

If you have dry skin, moisturize your hands and legs two times a day. Moisturize well after taking a shower.

F. Use A Cream Or Ointment Instead Of A Lotion

Creams are a better option as they soothe the skin. Lotions can cause irritation. Shea butter is also a good option.

G. Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals/Products

Harsh or scented skincare products can soak up necessary moisture from your skin. Use mild skin care products and don’t rub too hard.

H. Wear Lip Balm

Lip balm is an essential product to keep your lips hydrated. Wear a lip balm that doesn’t cause burning sensations.

I. Visit A Dermatologist If Required

Dry skin is easy to get rid of. However, if none of these tips work for you, consult a dermatologist.

7. What Happens If You Don’t Take Care Of Dry Skin?

Your skin requires adequate amount of water to stay healthy. If you don’t take care of your dry skin, this is what can happen:

  • You may develop more wrinkles
  • Your wrinkles may start looking prominent
  • Your skin will feel itchy and irritating
  • Your skin may start producing excess sebum which can lead to clogged pores
  • Your skin will look dull, flaky and rough

Taking care of dry skin usually isn’t a task. Your skin needs to stay as hydrated as the rest of your body. A few steps added to your skincare regimen can relieve you of itchy and flaky skin.

It is crucial to use gentle products that suit your skin. Customized skincare solves your problem of experimenting with random skincare products.

SkinKraft customized skin care recommends a 3-step regimen based on a SkinID™ questionnaire.

You will get a:

  • Customized cleanser
  • Customized moisturizer
  • An active to treat your concern

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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