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Unsightly flaky skin can be irritating, painful, and a drain on your confidence. Causes can range from using harsh soaps to the parched winter air. Dry skin may also be a symptom of conditions such as eczema. However, in most cases, dry skin occurs due to seasonal and environmental factors.

The good news? Making a few changes to your skincare routine can help keep your skin healthy and glowing.

Hack #1: Turn Down the Heat

Taking a hot and steamy shower may feel good, but those hot temps could damage your skin — especially during the winter. According to Dr. Harry Dao, assistant professor of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine, it’s best to avoid the urge to turn the heat up and opt for a lukewarm shower or bath instead.  

Showering in steamy water can also cause skin inflammation and increase eczema. 

To prevent dry skin from worsening in the bath or shower, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends: 

  • Closing the bathroom door and keeping it closed throughout your bath or shower
  • Limiting your bath or shower to five or 10 minutes 
  • Using a fragrance-free moisturizing cleanser or soap (e.g. DoveCeraVe, and Olay

Hack #2: Moisturize 

According to the AAD, the best time to moisturize is immediately after cleansing (e.g., after washing your face and hands or following a bath or shower). Just be sure to gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel beforehand. 

While scented lotions and balms may smell good, they can irritate. The Mayo Clinic recommends buying products with healing ingredients such as urea, fatty acids and glycerol (or glycerin), ceramides, shea butter, and cocoa butter. 

Some brand-name options for dry, nonfacial skin include: 

  • Eucerin
  • Cetaphil
  • Vaseline 
  • Aquaphor 

Hack #3: Splurge on a Humidifier 

If you live in a dry climate, it could be affecting your skin. Lack of humidity is one of the most common reasons many people experience skin problems. A humidifier, however, could help you add a bit of moisture back into the air. 

The Cleveland Clinic recommends setting your humidifier between 30–50 percent humidity for best results. 

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Hack #4: Be Picky with Laundry Detergent 

When buying laundry detergent, it’s tempting to stroll down the aisle, grab the cheapest option, and go. But, being nonchalant about your laundry detergent can lead to irritant contact dermatitis — which, according to the National Eczema Association, accounts for 80 percent of all contact dermatitis. 

To avoid this, the AAD recommends using “hypoallergenic” laundry detergent. 

Some brand-name options for sensitive skin include: 

  • Mrs. Meyer’s 
  • Seventh Generation 
  • Arm & Hammer 
  • Tide purclean 

Hack #5: Wear Skin-Friendly Fabric  

Natural fibers (e.g., cotton, silk, linen, and cashmere) allow your skin to breathe. In comparison, wool and synthetic fabrics (e.g., rayon, nylon, rubber, and spandex) can cause skin irritation and make you sweat.

If you choose to wear wool or another potentially-irritating fabric, slip a cotton tank or long sleeve shirt underneath.

The Bottom Line 

These few lifestyle changes can be the panacea to rid yourself of dry skin. However, your doctor may recommend a medicated moisturizer or prescription ointment if you have extremely dry or sensitive skin.

If the tips above don’t alleviate your symptoms or you find that your symptoms are getting worse, you may want to consult a dermatologist. A doctor can create an individualized skincare plan based on your type and condition.