Avoiding dry skin may be one factor in helping to prevent future bouts of dermatitis. These tips can help you minimize the drying effects of bathing on your skin:

  • Bathe less frequently. Try going a day or two without a shower or bath. When you do bathe, limit yourself to 15 to 20 minutes, and use warm, rather than hot, water. Using a bath oil also may be helpful.
  • Use only certain soaps or synthetic detergents. Choose mild soaps that clean without excessively removing natural oils. Deodorant and antibacterial soaps may be more drying to your skin. Use soap only on your face, underarms, genital areas, hands and feet. Use clear water elsewhere.
  • Dry yourself carefully. Brush your skin rapidly with the palms of your hands, or gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel after bathing.
  • Moisturize your skin. Moisturizers provide a seal over your skin to keep water from escaping. Thicker moisturizers work best, such as over-the-counter brands Cetaphil, Vanicream and Eucerin. You may also want to use cosmetics that contain moisturizers. If your skin is extremely dry, you may want to apply an oil, such as baby oil, while your skin is still moist. Oil has more staying power than moisturizers do and prevents the evaporation of water from the surface of your skin.
Aug. 23, 2011

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