ZocdocAnswersWhat causes dry facial skin?

Question

What causes dry facial skin?

I am a 22 year-old African American male with extremely dry facial skin. Is there a moisturizer I should use to help me make it better? I use special soaps but it doesn't seem to be helping.

Answer

Do you also have dry skin all over the body? Many cases of 'dry skin' are actually eczema, which is a condition of the skin in which essential moisturizers are missing, which leads to dryness, redness, and itching. The condition usually occurs all over the body and flares up especially in cold weather. In can be concentrated especially on the face, but also the hands and wrists, insides of the elbows and behind the knees. The best initial treatment of eczema (and dry skin in general) is to avoid drying out the skin. You can do this by washing your face with no soap or with only a very mild facial soap and by avoiding very hot water. Also avoid scrubbing your face, instead simply pat it dry. After washing your face and in fact throughout the day also you should use a good facial moisturizer. The best moisturizers are the greasy ones like hydrolated petrolatum, as these are better at trapping in the skin's natural moisture. Regular lotions are generally too thin to be of much long term help. Occasionally, stubborn areas of redness or itching need a mild over the counter steroid cream to get them calmed down. Talk to your primary care doctor for more advice!

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