All my life, I've had quite the struggle with dry skin. Because of eczema being hereditary in my family, I've had to really be careful of what lotions and creams I include in my daily beauty care routine. However, there is one thing I've learned that you should never do to dry skin: itch it. I had to learn the hard way, and it wasn't the best experience of my life.
When I was in college, I got extremely stressed out and wasn't taking too much care of my skin. My skin became extremely dry, itchy, and irritated. Instead of solving the problem, I would just itch it and make it temporarily go away. Now I know that that wasn't the best decision I made, because it became a horrible cycle.
Not only can you cause your skin to darken and make it more susceptible to infection, but, "scratching it will destabilize immune cells called mast cells, releasing histamine from them, which will then cause actual itching and even more scratching, in a vicious cycle that continues on and on" according to Future Derm.
I'll be honest, it's still one of my worse habits to do, especially because I don't always realize that I'm doing it. Usually it'll happen in the middle of the night or in moments where I don't recognize that I'm itching.
But I've discovered many ways to avoid the itching and keep my skin hydrated. If you can't seem to stop the itching, here are some ways to prevent it:
One of the main causes for my itching was stress. And even now when I start to feel a flare up, I'll be extra cautious to resist itching.This is more a mind game than a physical solution, so just know when you feel the urge to itch and try your best to instead soothe with aloe vera or another natural solution.
Also make sure to use lotion that works best for your dry skin. For me, I enjoy using a hypoallergenic lotion with emollients and soothing ingredients. I always try to stick with this lotion and apply it every hour. I'll also make sure to apply some after every time I wash my hands.
Don’t Use Hot Water
Using hot water can extremely irritate your skin. Stick with warm water instead. Dermatologist Cynthia Bailey, M.D. told the Huffington Post, "hot water brings blood circulation to your skin which is why your skin turns red like a lobster. With the circulation comes inflammatory building blocks to create more itch and even a rash.” So bottom line: keep it warm, but not too hot.
Drink Lots Of Water
I've also come to find that drinking lots of water helped keep my skin hydrated. After all, most of our body is made up of water, so it obviously needs to be replenished. The more your body gets enough water, the less likely you are to have dry skin to itch.
See A Dermatologist
If all doesn't work and you can't seem to stop the itching, it's probably best to seek a dermatologist and ask for professional help. Your dermatologist will help analyze what seems to be causing your dry skin and educate you on ways to prevent further itching and damaging your skin.