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How To Deal With Dry Skin


Some suggestions to help minimize the drying effects of treatment are as follows:

  • Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water each day. Water keeps the body hydrated and restores moisture to the skin.
  • Use a moisturizing lotion day and night. 
    • Moisturizing delays moisture evaporation. It also makes the surface of the skin softer and more pliable. 
    • Using a moisturizing lotion is especially important for hands and the soles of your feet which may become sore or blistered.
    • Apply creams and moisturizers while your skin is still moist after a bath or shower. A cream or moisturizer will help to trap the moisture in the skin.
    • Choose your moisturizers carefully. Moisturizers with petroleum, lanolin and mineral oil can cause allergic reaction in some people. Avoid any products containing alcohol. Consider using 100 percent pure shea butter. It is less likely to irrirate sensitive skin than moisturizers with multiple ingredients.
  • Protect your skin every day from sun exposure. 
    • Moisturizing sunscreens help out if skin is dry. Doctors warn against tanning during treatment. If you feel like you need a tan, ask your doctor if it is okay if you use a self-tanning cream or bronzer.
    • There is no set SPF to use. Generally,15 or 30 SPF is enough. 
    • Repeat applying sunscreens a number of times during the day, particularly if you sweat.
  • When using makeup and skin products:
    • Use only products that are intended for sensitive skin. The products should be hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. Check the product labels.
    • Avoid astringents or other products that are designed to remove make up, oil from the skin and dead skin cells. They will rob your skin of moisture.
    • For additional information, see Look Good 
  • Do not exfoliate your skin.  Exfoliates can cause further drying and may even tear or injure your skin. Exfoliates contain granules, some of which are very course, that are designed to scrub the skin and rid it of dead cells.
  • When shaving:
    • Use an electric razor instead of one with a blade to prevent cuts. Warm skin first with water or a hot towel and rinse afterward with cool water. Avoid alcohol, menthol or strong fragrance.  If your doctor says it is okay to use a manual razor: keep it sharp, always rinse after each use and shake off excess water without wiping. Soften the follicles with shave gel, leaving it on your face for about one minute before the first stroke.
    • After shaving, let the skin rest a bit before applying other products.
  • Use rubber gloves when doing household chores. The gloves can protect against harsh chemicals, hot water and other drying agents.
  • For dry chapped lips:
    • Use a non-pigmented lip balm or petroleum product. 
    • Many doctors recommend using lipsticks only when the lips are in good condition.
  • When bathing:
    • Use warm water instead of hot. 
    • Do not spend more than 30 minutes in the bath or shower. 
    • If your skin is especially dry:
      • You may want to limit the bath time to only a few minutes -- and avoid bubble baths. 
      • Oil can be added to the water at the end of a bath or applied to the skin before drying.
      • Consider occasionally taking a sponge bath instead of a full bath or shower. This will limit the amount of time the skin is in water.
  • Use a water-based liquid face cleanser or gentle soap. 
    • Use warm (not hot) water to open pores and protect surface capillaries. Mild soaps contain less detergent that can irritate the skin. Check the label for words like "low or detergent free." Soaps containing oatmeal or herbs such as chamomile can be soothing to dry skin.
    • Do not rub with gusto or use a granular scrub. They irritate the skin. 
  • Avoid extreme hot and cold temperatures.
  • Avoid cologne or after shave lotion that contains alcohol.
  • Frequently wash towels, pillowcases, sheets and clothing in a mild detergent
    • Residue left on clothing by detergent and fabric softeners may aggravate itching. 
    • Irritation can be reduced by adding vinegar (one teaspoon per quart of water) to the laundry rinse cycle or by using a mild laundry soap that is sold for washing baby clothes.
  • Clothing and Bed Sheets: 
    • Cotton clothing and bed sheets can help to reduce itching. Wool and synthetic fabrics can be irritating to treatment sensitive skin.
    • When possible, wear light cotton clothing to minimize sweating.
    • Change wet clothing. Damp clothes can hold perspiration and aggravate the skin.
  • To hide facial disclorations and dark circles under the eyes, use a concealer or "tint." Find a concealer that matches your skin tone, dot on any dark spots, blot excess, and blend edges until hidden. Tinted moisturizers are also an option. Just smooth the mositurizer on just as you would any face lotion.

It is possible that a chronic skin condition may occur in which the treated skin thins and loses elasticity and may become lighter or darker. This skin needs to be treated especially gently with moisturizers and sunscreen products with a high sun protection factor. It is not unusual for this skin to be susceptible to chronic irritation and breakdown.

Report any rashes to your doctor immediately.


  • To change the appearance of your skin, see: Look Good.
  • If hair loss is an issue, click here.
  • If itching is an issue, click here.
  • If you get a rash, click here
  • If you are wondering about the safety of a particular cosmetic, you can check at EWG's Skin Deep offsite link

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