Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Is lotion the only way to treat dry skin?"

ZocdocAnswersIs lotion the only way to treat dry skin?


How else can you treat dry skin other than using cream or lotion? Can you do anything else at home that would help with dry skin?


Dry skin is a very common medical problem. You are right that moisturizing products are one of the most common and most effective treatments for the problem. What you may not know is that switching from a water based lotion product to a thicker 'greasy' ointment or cream may help, as these tend to stay on the skin longer and provide better protection. Also, it is helpful to think about reducing the amount of showering with hot water and exposure to soaps that you have, especially if the dry skin is a chronic problem. Hot water and soap strips away the skin's natural protective oils and may make the problem of dry skin much worse. You should also see your primary care doctor or your dermatologist for an evaluation. Sometimes, chronically dry skin is actually related to an underlying skin disorder. In particular, eczema, which is a condition in which the skin becomes irritated, red, and itchy is often misinterpreted to be just dry skin. In addition to moisturizing, however, eczema often requires topical steroid medications to clear up completely. Set up a visit with your doctor as soon as you can, and they will help you figure out what is going on and what you can do about it.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.