1. Know the difference.
So many people think they have one thing but may have something else which is why you should go to a dermatologist. There is a difference between Dry Skin, Skin Allergies, and Skin Sensitivity.
Dry skin, or Xerosis, is skin that is dry, white, and flaky (or "ashy"). It's most common on the arms and legs and can make other skin conditions worse.
Skin allergies are seen - redness, swelling, inflammation, bumps, etc., and are most common on the scalp, face, hands, and feet.
Skin sensitivity is felt - dryness, itchy, burning, tingling, etc., and can be felt on the face, arms, hands, and legs.
The best way to determine if you have Xerosis (dry skin), sensitive skin, or skin allergies, is to be tested by a dermatologist.
2. Avoid hot baths/showers
I know sucks right? Taking baths or showers in really hot water can feel really good and seem very relaxing; however, hot water encourages evaporation from the pores which leads to excessive drying of the skin.
Instead, bathe in tepid to warm water. It may take some getting used to, but in the long run, it will reduce the amount of water loss and cause less heat damage to the top outer layer of your skin.
3. Avoid over-exfoliating
Using a loofah and/or exfoliating daily is damaging to your skin. It can remove too many layers of skin causing more damage.
Instead, bathe daily with a soft washcloth to gently cleanse your skin, and you should exfoliate no more than 2 to 3 times a week.
4. Avoid deodorant and antibacterial detergent bars
Deodorant bars and antibacterial cleansers such as Zest, Dial, and Irish Spring are made with detergents too harsh for your skin. They also contain skin-irritating highly concentrated fragrances.
Cleansers that are "antibacterial" usually contain chemicals that kill all bacteria, even the good bacteria your body needs to protect and heal itself.
Look for products that have more natural ingredients you’re familiar with and know you're not allergic to.
Additionally, look for products that have fragrances listed towards the bottom of the list. The lower on the list, the smaller the concentration in the final product.
5. Use a humidifier at night
In the winter months or if you live in dry heat, the cold air is much drier and harsher on your skin, especially if you live in a more arid climate like Nevada, California, or Arizona. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about Mother Nature, and moving to a tropical island may not be a feasible option, so to help combat dryness, get a humidifier and run that baby while you sleep.
Your skin will drink up the moisture in the air to help replace what Mother Nature snatched away, and if your hair is dry, she can get in on the moisture action too ... win, win!