Rough, Dry Skin Treatments

Rough skin on your face, hands, elbows, or heels can look and feel irritated and unsightly. Follow these tips to improve your skin's condition.

When your skin develops rough patches, it may be due to a number of possible causes. Dehydration, cold weather, irritating fabric, or a lack of certain vitamins may be causing your skin to flare up. The typical places where roughness shows up include the face, upper arms, hands, and heels. You might have problems with one or more areas at any given time.

Before calling a dermatologist or even checking with your general doctor, try a few simple adjustments like these that might help your skin to calm down:

1. Wash in warm water. Taking a high-temperature bath or shower can cause skin breakouts and irritation, as can bathing in cold water. Adjust your home's hot water tank to somewhere around 115 degrees, or have a plumber do it for you if you're not sure how to do this safely.

2. Use a mild body soap. Liquid or gel soap tends to have a gentler effect on the skin than bar soap, but use whatever feels good to you. Don't over-lather your body, since soap can have a drying effect and some people are allergic or sensitive to certain ingredients in their soap products. After lathering, be sure to rinse thoroughly to avoid leaving a residue that could cause dryness.

3. Don't bathe too frequently. While it may seem odd to hear that it's possible to bathe too often, some folks enjoy two or more showers or baths a day, which can dry out your skin and cause irritated patches, especially in dry climates or weather. Take a comfortable shower or bath of no more than five minutes daily, and you should feel (and smell) great.

4. Check the fabrics that come in contact with your skin. A wool scarf about your cheeks in winter, a wet bathing suit worn for hours in the summer, or a tight-fitting exercise leotard during a workout can rub skin raw under certain conditions. Some people are sensitive to certain fabrics, especially synthetics, so check your clothing's effects on your body to see if that is causing the problem.

5. Take your vitamins. A balanced diet generally reduces the need to take a multi-vitamin. But be sure you get plenty of dark green leafy and deep orange vegetables. These typically contain Vitamin C and other nutrients that keep your skin healthy and clear. Don't take more than the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of any vitamin, however, as some have been shown to be toxic in large doses.

6. Drink lots of fluids. Eight glasses or more of water or other clear liquids each day can wash impurities from on and below your skin's surface. Avoid more than a cup or two of coffee each day, as caffeine can dry out your body if you drink much of it.

7. Exercise regularly. Thirty to sixty minutes of physical activity each day can help your circulatory system function as it should to keep blood vessels pumping oxygen and nutrients to every part of your body. Feeding and bathing your skin, inside and out, is essential for good health and well-being.

Beauty is as beauty does is an old saying that still holds true today. Take care of your skin so that this protective covering will continue to take care of your vital organs, muscles, bones, and tissues.

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