Why Is My Skin So Dry Even When I Moisturize
There could be many reasons why your skin is still dry after using a lotion or a moisturizer, including:
- The moisturizer youre using contains ingredients that dont work for your skin type, including isopropyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol or sulfates.
- Youre washing your skin too frequently, or using water thats too hot, which can lead to dry skin.
- Youre not moisturizing your skin enough throughout the day.
- Youre using the wrong kind of moisturizer for your skin. Use a thick moisturizer at night and a light moisturizer during the day.
- The moisturizer is expired.
- Your dry skin is a symptom of an underlying condition or a condition that needs treatment or management.
If youre having trouble treating your dry skin, talk with your healthcare provider or a dermatologist.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Dry skin may look rough and flaky and itchy and uncomfortable. Fortunately, dry skin causes few long-term problems. Although its typically a chronic condition, dry skin is very manageable. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to prevent and soothe your dry skin. If other conditions, like eczema, cause dry skin, your healthcare provider can prescribe medications and offer tips to treat the condition.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/23/2022.
Circular Or Oval Patches Of Eczema
Circular or oval patches of eczema can affect any part of the body, although they don’t usually affect the face or scalp.
They start as a group of small red spots or bumps on the skin which join up to form larger pink, red or brown patches that can range from a few millimetres to several centimetres in size.
Treatment For Actinic Keratoses
If you only have 1 skin patch, a GP might suggest waiting to see if the patch goes away by itself.
If you have more than 1 patch, or a patch is causing you problems such as pain and itchiness, treatment is usually recommended. A GP may refer you to a skin specialist .
Treatments for actinic keratoses include:
- prescription creams and gels
- freezing the patches , this makes the patches turn into blisters and fall off after a few weeks
- surgery to cut out or scrape away the patches you will be given a local anaesthetic first, so it does not hurt
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Risk Factors For Bowen’s Disease
The cause of Bowens disease is often unknown, but known risk factors include:
- Gender the condition is more common in women.
- Age the condition is more common in people over 40 years. Elderly women are particularly prone.
- Sun exposure Bowens disease is more common in sunny countries. Bowens is most common on parts of the body exposed to direct sunlight.
- Arsenic people who are exposed to arsenic are at increased risk.
- Systemic immunosuppression this is required by organ transplant recipients to prevent organ rejection.
- Viral infection infections with certain subtypes of the human papilloma virus can predispose to Bowens disease. This is especially relevant for genital Bowens disease.
Other Types Of Eczema
Eczema is the name for a group of skin conditions that cause dry, irritated skin. Other types of eczema include:
- atopic eczema the most common type of eczema, it often runs in families and is linked to other conditions such as asthma and hay fever
- contact dermatitis a type of eczema that happens when the skin comes into contact with a particular substance
- varicose eczema a type of eczema that usually affects the lower legs and is caused by problems with the flow of blood through the leg veins
Page last reviewed: 30 October 2019 Next review due: 30 October 2022
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How Are Dry Skin Patches Diagnosed
If you have dry patches of skin, your doctor will probably conduct an exam and ask about your medical and family history.
Theyll likely refer you to a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in skin issues.
Depending on the possible condition, you might need lab tests or skin biopsies.
You may be able to help prevent dry, itchy skin by doing the following:
- Use moisturizers every day to keep skin hydrated.
- Limit baths and showers to no more than one a day.
- Limit the time you spend bathing.
- Avoid hot baths or showers. Instead, take showers and baths in warm or lukewarm water
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home.
- Use moisturizing body and hand soap.
- Cover up your skin, especially in cold or sunny weather.
- Avoid itching or rubbing your dry skin.
- Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
How To Get Rid Of Dry Flaky Skin On Nose
You can get rid of dry skin on your nose using different treatment method. you can use either home remedies or medical treatment. home remedies can work better in the treatment of minor causes of dry skin on nose such an allergic reaction, ringworms, hot shower, and environmental factors.
You can use medical treatment in case the dry skin on your nose is caused by serious skin condition such as eczema, psoriasis, and cancer.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If youre concerned about dry skin, talk to your healthcare provider. You may want to ask:
- Whats making my skin so dry?
- Should I get tested for allergies?
- What are the best treatments for dry skin?
- How can I prevent dry skin?
- What are the best treatments for itchy skin?
- What over-the-counter cleansers and moisturizers do you recommend for dry skin?
- Should I look out for any signs of complications?
How Is Discoid Eczema Diagnosed
It is diagnosed by the typical skin appearance. If your doctor is uncertain about the diagnosis then he or she may need to exclude a fungal skin infection. For example, if there has been clearing of the skin rash in the centre , they may suggest scraping a few skin cells off a skin patch. These can then be sent off to the laboratory to look for a fungal infection. If your doctor is worried that there may be a bacterial infection of a skin patch, they may take a sample . Again, this can be sent to the laboratory to look for this type of infection.
If your doctor feels that you may have contact dermatitis, they may suggest skin patch testing. In this procedure, tiny amounts of up to 25 or more substances are applied as small patches to your skin, usually on your upper back. They are fixed on with non-allergic tape. Some days later, you return to the skin department and the patches are removed. Your skin is examined to see if there is a reaction to any of the tested substances. See the separate leaflet called Patch Testing for Contact Dermatitis for more details.
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Does An Actinic Keratosis Hurt
While most people see only a change to their skin, an AK can:
Feel tender or painful when touched
Stick to your clothing, causing discomfort
If you find a change on your skin that could be an actinic keratosis, protect your health by seeing a board-certified dermatologist. Should that change be an AK, you have a greater risk of developing skin cancer. Being under the care of a board-certified dermatologist helps to find skin cancer early when its highly treatable.
While having skin thats been badly damaged by the sun or indoor tanning greatly increases your risk of developing AKs, other things can increase your risk. Youll find out what else may increase your risk of developing AKs at, Actinic keratosis: Causes.
Related AAD resources
ImagesImages 1,2, and 9: Used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
Images 3,4,5,6,7,8,10: Used with permission of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology:
Image 3: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 76:349-50.
Image 4: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007 56:125-43.
Image 5: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013 69:e5-e6.
Image 6: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 62:85-95.
Images 7, 8: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 66:173-84.
Image 10: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000 42 part 2:S8-S10.
Rigel DS, Cockerell CJ, et al. Actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. . Mosby Elsevier, Spain, 2008:1645-58.
How Is Dry Skin Treated
Treatment for dry skin focuses on rehydrating or bringing moisture back to your skin. Treatment for dry skin could include:
- Using moisturizers: Moisturizers are the main form of treatment for most types of dry skin. They smooth and soften dry skin to help prevent cracking and work to recreate your natural skin barrier. Moisturizing products come in ointments, creams, lotions and oils and include ingredients like emollients, which soothe and hydrate your skin, and hyaluronic acid, which increases moisture in your skin
- Taking medications: For extremely dry skin thats itchy or prone to cracking, your healthcare provider may prescribe a topical steroid, which acts to decrease the swelling in your skin that causes a rash and itching. In severe cases, oral or injectable medication may be appropriate.
What type of lotion or moisturizer is best for dry skin?
There are several different moisturizer options available if you have dry skin. When choosing a moisturizer for your dry skin, look for products that:
When choosing a moisturizer, remember that your skin is unique and a product that works for someone else might not be best for you and your skin. Your healthcare provider or your dermatologist can help you choose skin care products designed for you and your dry skin.
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Red Itchy Skin Is A Symptom Of More Than One Health Condition
Is your skin red, itchy, inflamed, or painful?
These symptoms can indicate a host of skin conditions, including rosacea, dyshidrotic eczema, contact dermatitis, ringworm, impetigo, pityriasis rosea or rubra, actinic keratosis, tinea versicolor, cellulitis, and seborrhea.
Many skin conditions have no known cause, while others are due to such disparate causes as sun exposure or genetics. A few, like ringworm and impetigo, are the result of your skin coming into contact with a microorganism, like a fungus or certain bacteria.
Jeffrey Weinberg, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai in New York City, says all of these conditions are treatable and generally not life-threatening. He adds that while a majority of skin conditions at least those not related to an infection are never completely cured, most can be managed.
Get the facts about 12 skin conditions you need to know about.
The Appearance Of Dry Skin
The normally fine lines in the skin become more visible, the skin feels rough and appears dull and flaky. In more advanced cases, fish net-like cracks resembling the fine fracture lines of cracked porcelain can occur. Dry skin occurs most commonly on the arms and legs, but can also affect the trunk of the body. Dermatologists often call dry skin “xerosis” or “asteatosis”.
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How To Use Topical Corticosteroids
When using corticosteroids, apply the treatment accurately to the affected areas. Unless instructed otherwise by your doctor, you should follow directions on the patient information leaflet that comes with the corticosteroid.
Do not apply the corticosteroid more than twice a day. Most people will only have to apply it once a day.
To apply the topical corticosteroid, take the following steps:
- apply your emollient first and ideally wait around 30 minutes before applying the topical corticosteroid, until the emollient has soaked into your skin
- apply a good amount of the topical corticosteroid to the affected area
- use the topical corticosteroid until the inflammation has cleared up, unless otherwise advised by your GP
Speak to your prescriber if you have been using a topical corticosteroid and your symptoms have not improved.
Dry White Patches On Face
The occurrence of dry white patches or spots on the skin of the face can affect lips, nose, cheeks, and forehead. Dry white spots can give your face gray appearance which can be described as an ashy face. These patches can be either itchy or non-itchy depending on the causal agent.
Dry white patches on face are a common sign associated with any skin condition that can cause skin dehydration. Also, other skin infections can affect superficial layer of the skin which may result in scaly white patches.
Dry white spots are may also appear on the face of your child, infant or toddler. Teenagers and adults can also be affected by dry patches on face.
Dry white patches on the face can be a sign of either harmless or serious skin condition. It is quite important to seek the help of your doctor in case your face develops chronic itchy dry white patches that threaten your beauty.
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Signs Of Bowens Disease
The signs of Bowens disease include:
- Flat, scaly, red and slightly raised patches appear and persist for months to years.
- A single patch or a number of patches may be present.
- The edges of each patch are irregular, but distinct from the surrounding skin.
- Each patch grows very slowly.
- Bowens is asymptomatic and therefore is easily overlooked.
- Bowens can affect any part of the body, but commonly occurs on the lower leg.
- Only rarely are the patches sore or irritated.
How To Use Emollients
Use your emollient all the time, even if you are not experiencing symptoms as they can help limit the return of your condition. Many people find it helpful to keep separate supplies of emollients at work or school.
To apply the emollient:
- use a large amount
- don’t rub it in, smooth it into the skin in the same direction that the hair grows instead
- for very dry skin, apply the emollient every two to three hours
- after a bath or shower, gently dry the skin and then immediately apply the emollient while the skin is still moist
If you are exposed to irritants at work, make sure you apply emollients regularly during and after work.
Don’t share emollients with other people.
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How Discoid Eczema Is Treated
Discoid eczema is usually a long-term problem, but medications are available to help relieve the symptoms and keep the condition under control.
Treatments used include:
- emollients moisturisers applied to the skin to stop it becoming dry
- topical corticosteroids ointments and creams applied to the skin that can help relieve severe symptoms
- antihistamines medications that can reduce itching and help you sleep better
There are also things you can do yourself to help, such as avoiding all the irritating chemicals in soaps, detergents, bubble baths and shower gels.
Additional medication can be prescribed if your eczema is infected or particularly severe.
The face and scalp are not normally affected.
The first sign of discoid eczema is usually a group of small red spots or bumps on the skin. These then quickly join up to form larger pink, red or brown patches that can range from a few millimetres to several centimetres in size.
Initially, these patches are often swollen, blistered and ooze fluid. They also tend to be very itchy, particularly at night.
Over time, the patches may become dry, crusty, cracked and flaky. The centre of the patch also sometimes clears, leaving a ring of discoloured skin that can be mistaken for ringworm.
You may just have one patch of discoid eczema, but most people have several patches. The skin between the patches is often dry.
Treatment For Dry Skin
The best way to treat dry skin is to manage the underlying causes:
- Try to make the environment less dry. For example, use a humidifier and encourage your child to avoid long periods of air conditioning and direct heat on their skin.
- Dress your child in loose cotton clothing if possible, or add a cotton layer under woollen or synthetic clothing. Avoid overheating with too many layers.
- Keep bath or shower times short, and keep the water warm but not hot.
- Use plain water or a soap-free liquid wash in the bath or shower.
- Add fragrance-free moisturising bath oils to bath water. You can get these from pharmacies.
- Consider fewer baths or showers. In particular, younger children dont need baths every day, especially in winter and when the humidity is low.
Its essential for your child to use a fragrance-free, non-irritating moisturiser, emulsifying ointment, aqueous cream or sorbolene with 10% glycerine cream. Ointments are often better and less likely to sting than creams, because they have fewer added ingredients.
If you dont know which moisturiser to get for your child, ask your pharmacist or child and family health nurse. They might even be able to give your child some samples to try. Your child might need to try several different moisturisers before they find one that suits.
Your child can also use moisturiser after they wash their hands and before and after swimming.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Actinic Keratosis
UV rays from the sun and from tanning beds cause almost all actinic keratoses. Damage to the skin from UV rays builds up over time. This means that even short-term exposure to sun on a regular basis can build up over a lifetime and increase the risk of actinic keratoses. Some people are more at risk than others, including:
People with pale skin, blonde or red hair, and blue, green, or gray eyes
People with darker skin, hair, and eyes who have been exposed to UV rays without protection
People with suppressed immune systems
People with rare conditions that make the skin very sensitive to UV rays, such as albinism or xeroderma pigmentosum