Moisturizers work wonders on dry skin, if used correctly. Unfortunately, many dry skin sufferers use lotion after their skin is already dry; Dr. Obagi recommends using lotion when your skin is damp. "Using a thick body cream while your skin is still damp helps 'lock-in' moisture," she says.
Also, using the right moisturizer for your skin type is important for combating dry skin. Avoid lotions with fragrance if you have sensitive skin and use a heavy-duty body cream if you have rough patches on the skin. Dr. Obagi also recommends using lotions with 12 percent lactic acid to help slough off rough patches of dry skin.
You probably have that one sweater in your closet that you both love and loathe. You know the one—it's warm, but oh so itchy. Unfortunately, the material is irritating your skin and could eventually create a painful rash. Can't bear to part with your favorite wardrobe staple? Layer it with a more comfortable cotton top underneath.
Too tight clothes can also cause skin problems when the material continually rubs against already dry skin. Avoid this by wearing looser clothing that fits your body type—and consider using dye- or fragrance-free detergents to wash your clothes.
Hormones, medical conditions, and other uncontrollable factors can cause dry skin. Eczema, psoriasis, hypothyroidism, malnutrition, and hormonal changes are all known to cause dry skin in people both young and old.
If you have a condition that contributes to your dry skin, ask your doctor to help treat the underlying cause (e.g., diabetes, hypothyroidism, etc.) and your dry skin problem will improve over time. Doctors should also treat eczema and psoriasis with special skincare regimens designed to combat these causes of dry skin.
Many medications that work wonders for certain ailments will noticeably dry out your skin. For example, some blood pressure patients take diuretics to avoid fluid build-up and acne sufferers use medications to keep their skin's oil production at bay. The result? Skin doesn't get the oil and hydration it needs to keep skin moisturized.
If you take one of these prescriptions, consider asking your doctor to switch your dosage or prescribe an alternative medication to treat your condition and keep your skin's moisture balanced.