Tips for relieving dry skin

young woman applying cream to face

Summer has finally arrived. That means you’ll be spending more time outdoors, soaking up the sun. While you’re looking forward to acquiring a new sun-kissed glow, your first few times outside may result in sunburn, which often leads to dry skin.

Dry skin is an extremely common condition that can happen at any age. But that doesn’t mean it’s a situation that’s welcomed with open arms. And sometimes, this condition can be so bad that it needs attention from a dermatologist for relief, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. If you neglect the fact that your dry skin needs attention, you could find yourself scratching for relief, causing open wounds that could become infected and leave behind a permanent scar. That said, there are a few simple ways you can try to combat the bad feelings on your own.

Don’t let the change in season mess with your skin’s ability to maintain a healthy, smooth texture. Here are some tips for treating your dry skin:

1. Find the perfect moisturizer
You know that moisturizer is your skin’s key to success, but you might want to opt for lotions with alpha hydroxy acids, according to Prevention magazine. Derived from milk, fruit or sugarcane, these acids work in double time to bring moisture back to your complexion.

“They remove dry, dead, crusty, scaly skin, and the trap moisture in your skin,” Dr. Susan C. Taylor told Prevention.

“Your dermatologist can recommend the perfect moisturizer.”

If you’re unsure about which route to take, your dermatologist can recommend the perfect moisturizer for your worn out complexion.

2. Say no to scented lotion
So you carry your favorite scented lotion around like it’s a daily necessity, but it’s actually not going to do much justice for your cracked, moisture-free skin. The best moisturizers for dry skin are thick, heavy solutions, according to what Dr. Diane L Kallgren told Prevention.

“Watery, scented lotions are next to useless for dry skin,” she said. “I recommend strong, thick creams or emollients. The least expensive is petroleum jelly.”

3. Grab some milk
Don’t have any moisturizer on hand? Milk can be used for quick relief, according to the information Taylor shared.

“Milk has anti-inflammatory properties that often take the itch away,” she said. “It stops the itch-scratch cycle.”

Simply grab a quart of milk and pour it into a bowl. Then, soak a wash cloth in the milk and apply to your skin for 5 minutes. It’ll produce a soothing sensation that’ll take the itch away.

4. Minimize shower time
Making a few adjustments to your everyday habits could be your answer to retaining moisture in your complexion. Harvard Health Publications suggested limiting your bath and shower time to 5- to 10-minutes every day. This reduces your chance of stripping away the skin’s oily layer that retains moisture in the body. Also use lukewarm water instead of hot to minimize your chance of washing away natural oils.

Minimize time spent in the shower to keep your skin from drying out. Minimize time spent in the shower to keep your skin from drying out.

5. Watch what you wear
The source of your dry skin could be the fabrics you’re wearing. Wools tend to irritate the skin, so steer clear from similar materials. Also, consider the solutions you’re using to clean your clothes. Is your laundry detergent or fabric softener causing exaggerated skin sensitivity? If you opt for fragrance-free, natural versions, you can prevent a potentially bad reaction.

6. Visit the dermatologist
While dry skin isn’t necessarily a serious health problem, it can cause severe issues such as eczema and bacterial infection. If you’ve made it a point to tackle your dry skin on your own but aren’t seeing positive results, you may want to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. A specialist will be able to determine the severity of the problem and will point you in the right direction for relief.