An Asian woman applying lotion to shoulder and arms

Having dry skin can be an uncomfortable, even painful experience. If you’re looking for a dry skin remedy, it’s important to get to the root of dryness and address your skin situation.

Dry skin is often confused with dehydrated skin. While the former is a skin type that results from a lack of natural oils or sebum, the latter is a skin condition that occurs when the skin lacks water. You have dry skin if you have fewer oil-producing glands. Although, you can also experience dry skin when sebum is depleted from external or internal factors, such as the climate or certain medications.

How to Help Dry Skin

Learn how to care for dry skin with these tips.

According to Harvard Health, sebum and water work together in keeping skin balanced and healthy. For skin to feel supple and soft, the epidermis must contain 20% to 35% water. Our oil glands prevent abnormal water loss by producing a protective barrier of sebum, composed of fatty acids, sugars, waxes, and other natural chemicals. When sebum is depleted, our skin loses water, feels dry, and may even flake or crack.

Excessive dryness can lead to itching and eczema. These methods can help relieve your symptoms, whether you have naturally dry skin or are experiencing dry skin now.

For the body: Be mindful of your dry skin when bathing.

Harvard Health recommends using warm water and an unscented, mild, moisturizing soap. Avoid using hot water and heavy-duty soaps that might be too harsh for your skin. Do not use washcloths, sponges, and brushes to avoid damaging your skin. After your shower, pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it with a towel. Immediately apply a moisturizer while your skin is still a bit damp.

Dove Bar for Sensitive Skin is great for dry skin because it is unscented and it won’t irritate. It’s also formulated with ¼ moisturizing cream to replenish lost moisture, leaving skin with comfortable softness. Apply a lotion, like Vaseline Intensive Care Deep Restore, formulated with pure oat extract and Vaseline Jelly to moisturize damaged, dry skin from within.

To relieve itching and soothe skin, try a lotion with aloe vera, which has antioxidant, anti-microbial, immune-boosting, and wound-healing properties, based on the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. Block & White Brightening Gel Lotion with Aloe Vera and Brightening Minerals can be used on particularly dry areas, such as the elbows and knees.

For the face: Use a moisturizer with SPF. 

Keep your face hydrated, moisturized, and protected.

Sun exposure can make dry skin even drier by depleting the skin’s surface of water and sebum. After being exposed to the sun, dry skin can feel parched and tight and can look wrinkly. Using a moisturizer with SPF can help lock moisture in while preventing moisture loss.

Moisturizers rehydrate the epidermis and seal in moisture — Harvard Health states that this is the first step to combating dry skin. Use Vaseline Healthy Bright Hand and Body Lotion, which delivers UVA/UVB protection with SPF 24 PA+++, and lightens skin with vitamin B3.

Finally, resist the temptation to pick at any flakes or scrub your skin. The best dry skin remedy is treating it with gentle care to prevent irritation and protect it from further moisture loss.