Video Production by Josh Melendez

Dr. Anderson covers dry skin, eczema and some treatment methods and considerations you can try out.

Dr. Anderson’s recommended moisturizers:

Take the Quiz!

Video Transcript:

Okay, so today we’re going to be talking about dry skin or eczema. And there’s lots of different names for dry skin or eczema, and there’s lots of different degrees of severity, from just a little bit of dry skin that you have once in a while, to a ton of dry skin that needs medical intervention. Today’s video is going to give you tips on how to avoid having dry skin, and how to treat the dry skin that you do eventually get once in a while in your life.

Okay, so there’s a lot of different causes of dry skin, and some of them are preventable, and some of them really aren’t. So for the causes of dry skin we do have bathing practices that can either help you develop dry skin, or help you prevent dry skin. So what I recommend for most people is that you take short 5-minute showers that are warm, not hot. So if you’re doing a 20 minute long hot shower that’s taking the paint off the walls, and the mirrors are completely fogged up, that’s too much, that’s ripping moisture from your skin, and that’s creating a perfect environment to have dry, itchy skin. So five minutes showers, warm water.

Now on that, some people take baths, and baths are okay as long as you don’t overdo it, and hot tubs are usually okay as long as you don’t overdo those. So they usually recommend if you’re a bath or a hot tub person, is do no more than 30 minutes a week of a bath or hot tub. That’s total time in the water. Some people are taking 30-minute hot tubs every day, and that’s just too drying for your skin. So let’s be reasonable about it. If you like baths, if you like hot tubs, no more than 30 minutes of water time a week. As soon as you get out of the bath or the hot tub, rinse off, pat dry, and apply your lotions.

Now there are some medications and some medical conditions that can cause dry skin. So if you have dry skin, you just can’t get to the bottom of it, please see your local health care provider and see if any of the medications that you’re on, or perhaps any underlying medical conditions that you have could be contributing to your dry skin. Another cause of dry skin can simply be changes in the environment. So if you live in Florida, you probably don’t have too much dry skin down there because it’s very moist. You live up in Colorado and when the winter comes and the heater turns on in your house, the air gets very dry, and that increases your chances of getting dry skin.

So some of these tips might not be needed in the middle of summer, and might very well be needed in the middle of winter. But it’s not rocket science, if you start getting dry skin, treat it, it should go away, if it doesn’t within a week or two, see your local healthcare provider. So kind of the last main topic on dry skin or eczema, is what you’re cleansing your body with. If you’re using very harsh soaps, that’s gonna hurt your body’s ability to produce moisture, and to keep your skin moisturized naturally. So, we really want you to use gentle cleansers, not harsh soaps, and we’re gonna give a list below of some of the ones that I found useful for my patients, and I hope that you find them useful too. And my favorite moisturizers are either CeraVe, Cetaphil, or Vanicream. And all of these are over-the-counter, and all of them have been specifically formulated to help people with dry skin. And they’re great products because they have things called ceramides in them. And ceramides are what our bodies naturally produce to keep our skin moist and healthy. So we are replenishing those ingredients that our body naturally makes, so that our skin can get as naturally moist and comfortable as possible.

Now each one of these different suggestions, the CeraVe, the Cetaphil and the Vanicream, we’re going to list those down below, and off to the side, we’re also going to list what they feel like. Because some products really don’t smell or feel like anything after about 10 seconds of them being on, and some have an oily feel to them. Please do not get an oily product if you can’t stand the feel of anything being on your skin, you just won’t use it. You’ll just be wasting your money and your dry skin will not be getting better. So please, look at the recommendations. Yes, the ones that feel a little bit more oily are a little bit more effective. But if you don’t like it so much that you’re not going to use it, it is not worth getting. The main thing about dry skin is to treat your skin gently. The gentler you are with your skin, the gentler it will be to you. Some people use very harsh soaps, and we don’t really want you to use those.

We want you to use gentle cleansers. Because gentle cleansers tend not to rip the moisture out of your skin like the harsh soaps do. So please, look below and we’ll give you some of the examples of products that you can try that have been useful for my patients, and I hope they’re useful for you. Now along the same topic I do not want you applying any of the gentle cleansers listed below with a washcloth, or a loofah, or rubbing and grinding it into your skin. We don’t need any of that. People think you need to exfoliate your skin all the time. Unless you have a select few genetic conditions that are very rare, you do not need to manually exfoliate your skin. Your body does that naturally, and the more you use, the washcloth or the loofahs, or scrubbers, the cleansers into your body, the more you do that, the more problems you’re gonna have with your skin, and the more gentle you are with your skin, the more your skin’s gonna behave like you want it to behave.

So what about diet and eczema? Is there a link? And I think there is a link to basically every skin or body condition that you could have to diet. And I think there’s some general rules that we can all follow to have a healthful diet so that our skin and our body and our mind can function optimally. So here are some general recommendations, and before you follow any of these recommendations I strongly urge you to talk to your local primary care doctor to make sure that these recommendations are appropriate for your individual health.

All right, recommendation number one. I think we can all agree that no matter what fad diet there has been over the ages, that eating more fruits and vegetables has been one of the constants for most of them, and I don’t know how you can go wrong. So please, more fruits and vegetables every day.

Two. Please drink plenty of water. One of the more realistic expectations is to see how much you weigh in pounds, and then divide that in half, and whatever that is, that’s the number in ounces of water that you’ll drink every day. So let’s say you weigh a hundred and fifty pounds, that means you’re going to be consuming about seventy-five ounces of water a day.

Recommendation number three. Essential fatty acids. Now essential fatty acids for most of us who eat a Western based diet are going to be deficient in our diet. And so please get your essential fatty acids. Those are basically your omega-3s and your omega-6s. You can get those with fish oils, you get those with flaxseed oil, or what I do is I use a product called Udo’s Choice. And Udo’s Choice kind of blends all these together in a reasonable fashion, so that you can get the essential fatty acids in the ratio that you need. So what I do for myself, is I take one tablespoon of Udo’s oil for every fifty pounds of body weight. So I take approximately three tablespoons of Udo’s oil a day, and it seems to help keep my skin moist and my brain functioning well, as well as the rest of me. So please, talk to your local primary care provider to see if these recommendations and perhaps more, would be appropriate for your individual healthcare concerns.

Now, there are some areas of our bodies that tend to get more dry than others. Those tend to be our extremities, especially our lower legs. But thankfully we really do not need to be cleansing these areas of our body every day, unless we can see visible dirt. These areas of the body probably only need to be washed maybe once or twice a week with a gentle cleanser. Now other areas, like armpits and groin and oily areas of our bodies, those probably should be washed every day, but those tend not to get dry because they’re oily. So if you have areas like your shins or maybe your forearms, or maybe your back that is getting very dry? Try only cleansing that once or twice a week, while you cleanse the oily areas every day. And I think you’re going to notice a huge difference. Now the last thing I’m going to say is that if you have areas that are dry, and areas that are not dry, don’t use the moisturizer on the areas that aren’t dry. They’re already good. All you’re gonna do is waste money and you don’t need to do that.

As always, I’d like to thank you for allowing us to help you become comfortable in your skin, and remember, if you think you have dry skin, it goes away in a week or two with these simple tips, you’re good. But if you think you have dry skin, and it does not go away with these simple tips, please see your local healthcare provider to make sure that nothing else is brewing. Thank you.

About the author

Dr. Anderson with Doctors Quarterly Magazine - Cropped
Dr. Reagan Anderson

Dr. Anderson is a Board Certified Dermatologist and Mohs Micrographic Surgeon. He serves as a Clinical Professor of Dermatology and is actively involved in patient and healthcare provider education on dermatology conditions and treatment.

Colorado Dermatology Institute
8580 Scarborough Drive / 1220 Lake Plaza Drive
Colorado Springs, Colorado