Dry Skin (cont.)
Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD
Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Dry skin facts
- What is dry skin?
- What causes dry skin?
- What are signs and symptoms of dry skin?
- How is dry skin diagnosed?
- Does dry skin cause winter itch?
- Do genetics play a role in dry skin?
- What medical conditions cause dry skin?
- Do any medications cause dry skin?
- What is the treatment for dry skin?
- What are possible complications of dry skin?
- What are some home remedies for dry skin?
- How can dry skin be prevented?
- What are the best products for dry skin?
- Dry Skin FAQs
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
What is the treatment for dry skin?
The best treatment for dry skin is frequent, daily lubrication with an emollient (a substance that inhibits the evaporation of water). Because most dry skin is due to external causes, external treatments like creams and lotions can be applied and effectively control the skin breakout. Often, dry skin can be improved by applying a bland over-the-counter moisturizer. Once other causes of dry skin have been ruled out, the main goals of treatments are to stop the itching, prevent loss of water, and restore skin hydration.
Light moisturizing lotions for mild dry skin
- Cetaphil lotion
- Lubriderm lotion
- AmLactin 12% lotion
Highly moisturizing products (that characteristically do not flow out of the jar when inverted) for severe dry skin
- Crisco vegetable shortening
Topical steroid creams include
- hydrocortisone 1% cream (mild strength),
- Pramosone 2.5% cream (mild strength),
- triamcinolone 0.1% cream (medium strength),
- clobetasol 0.05% cream (strong strength).
As a general rule, only mild corticosteroid creams like hydrocortisone should be used on the face, underarm, and groin areas. Long-term application of strong corticosteroid creams like clobetasol may cause serious adverse effects, including skin thinning, stretch marks, and skin breakdown. Oral corticosteroids may cause temporary or permanent thinned or weakened bones, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, infections, and cataracts. Patients taking corticosteroid should be closely monitored by their health-care professional to adjust the dosage to the minimum dose required for relief of symptoms.
Oral antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), hydroxyzine (Vistaril, Atarax), and cetirizine (Zyrtec) may also alleviate generalized itching in dry skin.
Anti-itch oral medications
- hydroxyzine (Atarax)
- diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- loratidine (Claritin)
Learn more about: Claritin
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