Dry, Itchy Skin? Some Savvy Tips From Dr. Herzog



I recently asked Dr. Herzog’s advice on how to deal with dry itchy skin that has bothered me for the last few weeks (despite my daily application of body lotion after showering). She offered several suggestions for “big gun” products to try, and she also links to a $3.00 AmLactin coupon.

I’ve already pulled out my dehumidifier, am making a few tweaks to my diet, and am headed to buy some products that will hopefully solve my problem. So thankful to have things to try before making a trip to the doctor!

Dr. Jo Herzog

Jamie, dry skin can be attributed to many causes. Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disease, can cause skin to be dry; however, most cases of dry skin that I see are not due to a medical disorder.

If you have persistent, severe dryness after trying common remedies, then you should see your doctor. Untreated dry skin can become irritated and inflamed and cause other problems, as our skin provides us with a barrier from the outside environment.   If itching is still present after your dry skin is better, you should see your doctor.

Dry skin is common and easy to treat. Many people suffer from this, especially in places where the winter is cold and homes and workplaces are heated. There are things that we can do to decrease dryness as well as to alleviate it.

Our skin has natural oils that protect it, and over washing can disrupt this barrier. However, bathing can also hydrate the skin, and moisturizing properly after bathing can trap in water. There are several steps to follow to make bathing or showering work for, not against, you.

When showering or bathing, it is best to avoid harsh detergent type soaps. If using a soap, use a mild unscented one. A skin cleanser is better than soap for dry skin. Cetaphil and Cerave are two examples of excellent gentle skin cleansers.

Chlorine filled pools can also be drying, so shower after swimming. Follow with a good moisturizer.

After any bath or shower, apply a good thick moisturizer. I used to say “one in a jar,” but some can be squeezed out of a tube now. I prefer a cream to a lotion. In my office we use a lot of Cetaphil Cream, Cerave Cream, and Vanicream. Elta MD also makes some wonderful products which can be purchased from some dermatologists.  For more severe dry skin, I use AmLactin or LacHydrin 12%. (Click here to get a coupon for $3.00 off of AmLactin.)

Some people think that diet plays an important part in diet and recommend eating omega 3 filled fish or taking fish oil, flaxseed oil, or eating walnuts. Drinking plenty of water also helps hydrate our bodies. Taking some medications, like diuretics, might contribute to dryness.

In winter, use a cool mist humidifier in your bedroom.  The dry heat can really dry out the skin.

If your dry skin does not respond to simple measures, or if you experience a lot of itching, cracking, or oozing skin, you should see your dermatologist.

Hope this helps,

Dr. Jo


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