Skin can be dry for many reasons including: daily use of soap, chlorine in pools, hot water and certain skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, allergies. Itching is very common. Your skin is composed of cells and oil. This oil is a high quality product containing many natural oils which has not been duplicated by cosmetic or pharmaceutical companies despite years of effort.
When you use soap or detergents on your pots and pans, the oils are removed. This also happens with your skin. You are washing this superb oil down the drain and, if you moisturize after bathing, you are using an expensive product which is only a cheap imitation of your own oil. Your natural oil helps to hold the skin cells together and when the oil is lost, you begin to see signs of drying, itching and even cracking and eczema as your skin cells become loose.
Our skin and leather have a lot in common. If leather gets wet, then dries, it will crack. But, if we oil the leather before it dries, it will not crack. Human skin is similar. Normal skin has the ability, unlike leather which is dead, to make its own oils and new cells. So, most of the time, drying our skin does not cause a problem, because our natural recovery makes up for the drying process.
Eczema is an extreme dry-skin condition. The skin is losing its race to keep up with the production of oils and new cells as they are lost. There are several reasons for this. Atopic eczema, a hereditary problem, is one cause. Age, which reduces the oil producing glands in the skin, is another. The most common reason is simply too much contact with soaps, chemicals and water.
Once the skin dries, it cracks. Each time the skin gets wet and dry again, it becomes drier than it was before. Dry skin itches. Scratching damages the skin; it loses more moisture, and the process becomes a vicious “scratch-itch” cycle. A rash occurs.
Treatment consists of bathing with lukewarm water without soap. I prefer Cetaphil soap free cleanser. After bathing, a good emollient cream should be applied while the skin is still damp. I prefer CeraVe cream, Eucerin lotion, Eucerin Cream, Aveeno moisturizing cream, Bag balm, Crisco Shortening, and my favorite, food grade coconut oil. A cortisone cream or ointment may also be prescribed.
This should be applied sparingly to affected areas two times a day and followed by a generous application of emollient cream. When the rash is under control, the cortisone cream or ointment may be discontinued but the emollient cream should still be used for at least 1 month after all irritation has cleared.
Avoidance of all irritating chemicals, soaps, and solvents (like paint thinner or gasoline) must also be priority for at least a month.