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Helping Dry Skin

You can help to prevent dry skin by taking these steps

  • Take only one shower or bath daily. Wash with comfortably warm (not hot) water, using a soap that either has a high fat content or contains glycerin. Limit your bath time to ten to 15 minutes, and avoid scrubbing.

  • If you are an athlete, shower off quickly after a workout or game. Use warm water, and bring your own mild soap, since heavy-duty "gym" brands may be too strong.

  • When you finish your bath or shower, apply moisturizer while your skin is still wet. Petroleum jelly or a thick cream is best for sealing skin moisture.

  • Cover exposed skin when you play outdoors. If you can't wear protective clothing because of hot weather or game regulations, apply a sunscreen with a moisturizer. If you are a swimmer, apply a light layer of petroleum jelly before you enter the pool.

  • If your indoor air is dry during winter months, use a humidifier to raise the humidity level.

  • As necessary during the day, apply a moisturizer that contains at least one of the following ingredients: glycerin, urea, pyroglutamic acid, sorbitol, lactic acid, lactate salts or alpha hydroxy acids.

  • Avoid overusing antiperspirants and perfumes, since these products can dry the skin.

Call your primary-care doctor or a dermatologist (a doctor who specializes in skin problems) if you have

  • dry skin that doesn't respond to non-prescription treatments

  • severe itching that interferes with your ability to work or sleep

  • dry skin that cracks and bleeds, or becomes red, swollen and painful.

Treating dry skin

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