Why Your Skin is Dry and Itchy – and How to Fix it

If your skin is feeling tight, itchy or inflamed, or it’s scaling, flaking or even cracking, dryness may be to blame. Here are some causes of dry skin and what you can do to get relief.

Why Your Skin is Dry and Itchy – and How to Fix it

The culprit: over-washing
“People wash their hands a lot, and you can definitely get hand dermatitis, caused by both the water and the soap,” says dermatologist Dr Peter Vignjevic. He recommends reducing the amount of exposure by wearing gloves when you’re doing things such as washing dishes. When you do clean your hands, avoid harsh soaps (eg, those with words “antiseptic” or “antibacterial” on the label). Be sure to apply moisturiser afterwards – keep a bottle by the sink so you don’t forget.

The culprit: ageing
Maturing skin needs extra help when it comes to avoiding dryness. Vignjevic recommends trying anti-ageing moisturisers, which are usually richer and may offer the skin added benefits. Serums, which have a liquid texture, can also rejuvenate ageing skin by helping to repair surface damage. Some contain retinoids, which can help to boost the production of skin-firming collagen, but these strong formulations are best used with care.

The culprit: medication
While they’re powerful at combating pimples, certain anti-acne medications can also cause dry skin. Vignjevic tells his patients to also use a moisturiser in order to help keep skin hydrated.

The culprit: other skin conditions
If your dry skin is persistent and you’re concerned that you may be suffering from a skin disorder such as eczema or psoriasis, get it checked out by your family doctor. There is a wide variety of skin therapies that can help, says Vignjevic, including topical steroids and oral medications.

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