How to Hydrate Your Skin: 5 Tips for Dry Skin

Dry skin is a common condition that affects people of all types of skin, ages, and various areas of the body. Flakiness, itchiness, peeling, and redness are all symptoms of dry skin. While dry skin is not life-threatening, it is uncomfortable. Severe instances of dry skin, such as eczema and psoriasis, can be especially painful.

What Causes Dry Skin

Dry skin occurs when the skin loses too much water. Various studies have found that dehydrated skin results from various factors, such as environment, habits, or skin sensitivity. Residents of low-humidity areas like the Southwest might notice dry and chapped skin. This is also true for those living in houses that use indoor heating.

Frequent hand washers also often notice dry hands. Individuals with jobs that use harsh chemicals may also develop dry skin. These jobs include hairdressing, nursing, housekeeping, construction work, cooking, and metalwork.

Dry skin is also more common in middle-aged or older individuals. After your 40s, there is a drop in the amount of sebum, an oily substance that moisturizes and protects skin. The harmful chemicals of smoking can also cause dry skin and contribute to aging.

In some cases, dehydrated skin can be a symptom of a variety of medical conditions. Potential medical conditions include thyroid or kidney disease. It can also be a side effect of certain treatments, such as chemotherapy and dialysis. Additionally, dehydrated skin can be a result of a lack of nutrients. Conditions include anorexia or vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Home Remedies for Dry Skin

You can treat most cases of dry skin at home without a doctor. Here are the top tips from experts on how to hydrate the skin.

1. Apply Moisturizer Throughout the Day

Moisturizer plays a significant role in healing dry skin. Apply moisturizer throughout the day. Apply moisturizer minutes after a shower or bath. You should also moisturize after washing your hands and face and whenever the skin feels dry. A lip balm that does not sting or tingle after application can also help.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends looking for certain ingredients. They recommend ingredients such as olive oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter. Other helpful ingredients include lactic acid, lanolin, and hyaluronic acid. Dimethicone, petrolatum, urea, glycerin, and mineral oil can also help.

2. Use Gentle and Unscented Products

Ingredients such as alcohol, fragrance, retinoids, and alpha-hydroxy acid can irritate dry skin. Avoiding these ingredients will help your skin keep its natural oils.

You should also avoid using deodorant soap or body wash. Instead use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser. Be sure to look for fragrance-free products. Unscented products are generally not fragrance-free. and contain a chemical that covers the smell of other ingredients.

3. Protect Skin From the Elements

Both cold and hot weather can bring conditions that irritate the skin. In cold weather, wear gloves to keep your hands warm and protect them from the wind. In hot weather, avoid the sun by seeking shade, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, and clothes that cover your skin.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends using a fragrance-free sunscreen. Sunscreen should be SPF 30 or higher and offer broad-spectrum protection.

4. Use a Humidifier

Since dry air is often the cause of dry skin, bringing moisture back into the air can relieve dryness.  Some home heating systems may have a built-in humidifier. You can also use a portable humidifier. If portable, place the humidifier in your bedroom and run it while you sleep.

5. Wear Non-irritating Fabrics

If you have dry, irritated skin, wearing loose-fitting cotton clothes can help. Tight clothes rub against the skin and can worsen dry skin. Wool and polyester can also irritate sensitive skin. If you do wear wool or other irritating fabrics, you can wear cotton or silk underneath.

It is also helpful to use hypoallergenic laundry detergent. A hypoallergenic laundry detergent will help you avoid skin irritation or other reactions.

Benefits of Keeping the Skin Hydrated

When your skin retains moisture, you feel healthy and comfortable. Keeping skin hydrated also can help deter the effects of aging. A common ingredient used to hydrate skin, especially dehydrated skin on face, is hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is found in the body. In the skin, it helps keep moisture, flexibility, and elasticity.. Studies have shown that using hyaluronic acid hydrates skin. The substance also gives skin a smoother appearance.

Furthermore, treating dry skin can reduce the risk of developing other skin conditions. Dry skin can increase the chance of infection or bed sores.

When to See a Dermatologist

It is possible to treat the symptoms of dry skin with basic at-home self-care practices. Though sometimes it is difficult to find the root of dry skin. Until you know the cause of your dry skin, you will only be managing the symptoms. It is better to know the underlying condition. Then you can neutralize the condition itself.

Most people tend to see improvement within two weeks. But if dry skin persists or worsens, it may be time to seek a dermatologist's help.

Excessive dry skin that persists can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Conditions include atopic dermatitis or kidney disease, medication, age, or an allergy. A dermatologist can diagnose the cause of your dehydrated skin and create a treatment plan for you.

Once your dermatologist gives you a treatment plan, it is vital to follow it to get relief. Most often, your dermatologist will prescribe a moisturizer or medication. Prescription moisturizers will contain ingredients specific to your skin's needs. You may see ingredients, such as ceramides or dimethicone, which help to seal moisture in the skin.

It is also essential to keep a good line of communication between you and your dermatologist. Your treatment plan may need fine-tuning as the skin heals. Be honest with your dermatologist about whether you're following your plan. Working with your dermatologist to find a treatment plan that works for you is key. With their help, you can find comfort and ease in your skin.

Guest Author: Toby Dash

Toby is a staff writer at where he blogs all about the world of skin care, health & beauty.