Dry Patches of Skin - How to Prevent and Treat Them

Ever get dry patches of skin where you ordinarily should not have them? They often appear on your arm or leg, with the surrounding skin as normal as can be! Weird, right? They appear out of nowhere, and you wonder what happened? Why would your skin suddenly get flaky in such a strange place?

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There doesn’t seem to be any finite answer as to why these 'dry spots' happen, but there are numerous things you can do to prevent and treat them when they do. After all, dry patches of skin are bothersome, but not detrimental to your health. During winter especially, your skin can crack, chafe, flake and develop these areas of dry skin... a voodoo-like phenomenon!

Itchy and dry skin is called Xerosis, and is a common problem for many people. Simple daily routines, such as bathing and towel drying, can actually contribute to dry patches of skin. Since winter clothes cover more of your skin, they are bound to cause skin irritation. That's why it's good to avoid fabrics that feel itchy or scratchy like the dickens. Also, the tighter your clothes are, the easier it is for them to remove moisture. This alone may cause patches of scaly skin where you least likely expect them.

Wearing looser clothing can help combat the effects of dry patches of skin in winter. Your skin simply breathes better when it's not all bundled up! You might not look as sheik in sweat pants but your skin will be less likely to suffer!

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How to Prevent and Treat Dry Patches of Skin

  • Increase your intake of this key hormone because deficiencies are known to dehydrate skin.

  • When you take your bath or shower, use tepid water instead of hot water, which can damage already parched skin. Your time showering should be no more than 15 minutes at the very most. Bathing should be done no more than once a day, less if you can stand it. Bathing too much or too frequently can remove surface oils from the epidermis and that can cause dry patches of skin. To increase hydration, apply emollients quickly after you get out of the water.

  • Using the wrong kind of moisturizing lotion can have an adverse effect on your skin, no matter what the season is. That's why it's so important to know thy skin! Dry skin has different needs than oily skin.

  • If you have problems keeping moisture on your skin during times of harsh weather, double-up your lotion application.

  • Deodorant soaps are often very harsh. If you need them, limit their use to areas that develop an odor such as the armpits, genitals, and feet. If you develop dry patches of skin in those locations, use gentle skin cleansers such as Oilatum-AD and Aquanil.

  • Do regular skin brushing, which helps regenerate your skin. When you towel dry, do not create friction by rubbing your skin too much. Drip dry as long as possible and then gently *sponge-dry any areas that still seem too moist.

    *To sponge-dry the skin: Wet a small towel and then wring it out well. Use it in patting motion over the skin instead of towel drying with a dry towel.

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  • If your skin is overly dry and irritated, you may have to use a lotion before bedtime! Keep any areas of overly-dry skin loosely covered (nightgown, etc.) so sheets don't remove what you've just applied. Your body recovers better when you sleep and your skin will appreciate the extra moisture!

  • Balms made with natural ingredients work especially well for scaly skin. Apply them to parched areas, just as you'd apply them to your lips. Just be sure to check the ingredients for drying ingredients like alcohol.

  • Gently abrading dry patches can help in some instances. Loofah sponges are one consideration but just don't over-scrub these areas.

  • The juice from an aloe vera plant is a great skin aid. You can buy products with the ingredient or if you have a plant at home, break off a small piece and apply the juice directly to problem areas. Allow to dry and repeat as necessary.

  • Some foods are good for dry skin, including papaya and banana. You can either mash them and apply to the skin or include them in your daily diet.

  • Put water back into the air by cranking up some water on the stove regularly. Try to sleep with your room at a lower temperature too, if you're used to having the heat on 70°. Lower temperatures mean higher humidity in the air. Higher temps mean lower humidity. All types of high heat suck any moisture there is, right out of the air and right out of your skin!

  • For laundry, use 'All-free', 'Tide-free' or 'Cheer-free' detergents. These don't have dyes or perfumes that can cause skin reactions. Avoid using scented fabric softener sheets in the dryer, as the 'scent' can aggravate sensitive skin. Keep irritating and scratchy fabrics away from your skin. Use a higher thread count of cotton percale sheets on your bed.

  • Avoid itching/scratching dry patches of skin and do not pick at your skin. Some areas of the dry patch maybe attached to lower layers of the dermis. If you pick at them, they can bleed and scar! What started out as just a dry skin patch, will now be a constant reminder that you couldn't keep your hand (or fingernails) off of!

    Neglecting skin care or only treating it when there's a problem will only contribute to skin hurdles. Most people apply lotion for cosmetic reasons but other than that, skincare gets put on-hold for many good excuses. It's important to remember that your skin is only as good as the way you treat it! Your skin is an organ and requires constant, unrelenting focus!

    It's best to prevent dry patches of skin if you can! Life is full of uphill battles and you've gotta be on your toes to overcome most of them!

    Related Pages on This Site

    Winter Skin Care Tips

    Summer Skin Care Advice

    Dry Facial Skin Care Tips

    Oily Facial Skin Care 101

    The Best Skin Care for Your Facial Skin Type

    Get Rid of Dark Skin Patches and Correct Skin Tone

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