Rough, dry skin is a common problem that affects people of all ages. Some people are more likely to develop dry skin because of hereditary conditions. Environment and lifestyle can play a role in the development and severity of the condition. A change in temperature or humidity level can also cause itchy, dry skin. Skin becomes dehydrated when the air is too dry. Some skin care products that contain harsh chemicals can dry out the skin. Many household cleaning products contain skin irritants that can strip your skin of moisture and natural oils.

As you can see, the condition has many causes. Rough, dry skin can be treated and managed with home remedies, over-the-counter (OTC) treatments, or dermatological treatments, such as facials or dermaplaning.

What Causes Rough, Dry Skin

Rough, dry skin, also known as xerosis, can be caused by a wide variety of things, including sun damage, shaving, topical steroid creams, acne, an overproduction of keratin, or a genetic component. Many skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, keratosis pilaris, and folliculitis can cause the skin to become rough and dry. Other potential causes of dry skin include dry air, smoking, diabetes, hypothyroidism, or an unbalanced skin pH. In addition, the skin is more likely to become dry if it’s not producing or replenishing a sufficient amount of an oil called sebum. This oil is naturally created by the skin and helps to keep it hydrated.

Which Treatments Can Help

Treatment of rough, dry skin depends on the cause and severity. The skin type is also taken into consideration. Moisturizing daily and overnight with ointments and creams promote water retention and helps to soften and heal dry skin. Dry skin that doesn’t respond to OTC treatments may need to be medicated with a prescription-strength topical ointment or cream. A common ingredient in prescription ointments and creams is a steroid called hydrocortisone. Exfoliation is another method of treating rough, dry skin. It can help to remove some of the dead skin cells contained in dry patches of skin. Exfoliation can be done with washcloths, brushes, or during a facial scrub. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) can also be used to dissolve the dead cells in dry skin. Rough, dry skin can also be treated in a dermatologist’s office with procedures such as laser treatment, microdermabrasion, or a chemical peel.

Natural Remedies To Relieve Dry Skin

Natural remedies to treat dry skin include natural moisturizers, gentle cleansers, and certain bathing habits. Natural moisturizers are soothing and contain ingredients like pure aloe vera gel, coconut oil, or shea butter. Gentle cleansers are better for dry skin because they’re mild and unscented. Adding moisture to the air with a humidifier can help to ease dry skin. Sitting in front of heat sources can dry out the skin, so it’s best to limit or avoid this practice. Many of us love to take hot showers, but this can dry out our skin by stripping it of its natural oils. Use warm water instead, and limit showers and baths to 5-10 minutes or less. Apply your moisturizer of choice immediately after bathing and patting yourself dry.

Consult your healthcare provider or dermatologist to assess your condition if your methods of treatment are ineffective. You may need a prescription-strength cream or ointment. You can help to keep your skin healthy by staying hydrated, wearing sunscreen every day, and applying moisturizer as often as necessary. Rough, dry skin may also be a sign of a skin condition that requires a specific form of treatment. Dr. William Kwan is a renowned dermatologist and the world’s leading expert in the care and treatment of ethnic skin. The team at Kwan Dermatology uses state-of-the-art technology and medical-grade treatments and products to create customized treatment programs. They take pride in helping patients to improve the quality of their skin through the highly-skilled use of state-of-the-art technology, along with medical-grade treatments and products. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Kwan for further information.