The ultimate guide to soothing & protecting very dry or eczema-prone skin

This article is sponsored by Aveeno

Skin feeling rough, flaky, itchy or irritated? You’re not alone. Dry skin is a pretty common concern that can affect people of any age. If it feels like you’re in a constant battle with parched patches or just a general feeling of tightness all over the skin, don’t worry, there are ways to help manage it.

With the right products and a little ‘know-how’, you can get your skin back to feeling soothed and hydrated. Read on for our expert tips from Aveeno.

First up, what causes dry skin?

It’s a simple question, but a not so simple answer. Causes of dry skin are varied, wide-ranging and hard to pin down.

Often it can be due to genetics – some of us are simply born with a drier skin type that doesn’t produce as much oil. Other times it could be age related. Both babies and older people have a thinner skin barrier that’s less able to hold onto moisture.

Changes in your monthly cycle, or bigger fluctuations that may happen if you’re pregnant can all have a big impact on the levels of oils your body is producing 

Dry skin is particularly common in people going through menopause. Oil glands are less active in mature skin and declining levels of oestrogen reduces the production of collagen and elastin levels, making skin thinner and more prone to drying out.

Speaking of hormones, changes in your monthly cycle, or bigger fluctuations that may happen if you’re pregnant can all have a big impact on the levels of oils your body is producing. With so many factors at play, it's no wonder the cause is hard to find.

Recognising dryness by skin colour

Depending on your skin tone, dry skin and conditions like eczema will look different. On darker skin, inflammation can look darker brown, purple or grey in colour as opposed to on lighter skin where it often looks red. This can mean it’s harder to see on darker skin tones, so if you’re not sure if you’re experiencing general dryness or something like eczema, it can be helpful to see a Boots pharmacist or GP to discuss your symptoms.

So, what can you do about dry skin?

A solid skincare routine can do wonders for helping manage dry skin. It’s all down to using the right products.

Aveeno Dermexa Daily Emollient Cream (£10.50)

• Size: 200ml

This creamy moisturiser is specifically formulated to soothe itchy skin, help reduce flare ups of intense dryness and strengthen the skin barrier. How? It’s all down to the Prebiotic Triple Oat Complex* of colloidal oatmeal, oat oil and oat essence, combined with a blend of ceramides. The result? Healthy looking and more resilient skin.

Not only is this dreamy cream fragrance-free and fast-absorbing, it’s also suitable for those with sensitive skin and people who may be prone to eczema. Oh, and 99% of people with dry skin would recommend it**, if that’s not enough to convince you?

How to use: For best results, apply on clean, towel-dried skin after using the Aveeno Dermexa Daily Emollient Body Wash (£10.50), a gentle soap-free cleanser to gently cleanse without drying out your skin. It’s a match made in heaven. 

5 tips for dry skin

Here are some handy tips for soothing dry skin and incorporating Aveeno Dermexa Daily Emollient Cream into your routine.

1. Know your triggers

Ever find that your skin can feel fine one moment, and not so fine the next? Dry skin can flare up for many reasons. Some of the most common triggers include:

Unsuitable cleansers – you may find some soaps and foaming cleansers are unsuitable for your skin type when it comes to looking after dry skin, as they can strip it of its natural oils. Instead, opt for gentle, nourishing, and moisturising formulas like the Aveeno Dermexa range.

Hot water – another thing that strips skin of moisture, hot water is simply too harsh for dry skin. Try taking a cooler shower or bath instead. We promise you’ll get used to it once you try it!

Cold weather – if you’ve ever felt your skin is much drier during winter, there’s a reason. Colder air equals drier air. And guess what? Cold air actually draws moisture out of the upper layers of our skin, zapping it of essential hydration. Add central heating to the mix and the skin is even more prone to drying out. Now’s the time to slather on the moisturiser and maybe turn the thermostat down a touch.

Hot weather – it’s not talked about as much as dry winter skin, but summer weather can also cause a flare up. The sun’s rays can irritate dry skin, so it’s vital to wear sunscreen with a minimum of SPF30 and a high UVA rating (this goes for all year round, too!) and make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

A change in your environment – sometimes going on holiday or moving to a new place can impact your skin, whether it be down to harder water in that area or switching to a new climate. Continue moisturising with Aveeno Dermexa Daily Emollient Cream as part of your daily skincare routine to help soothe your skin until it adjusts.

2. Stick with your routine

Did you know the average skin cycle is around 28 days? That’s how long it takes for new skin cells to move from the lower to the upper levels of the epidermis and shed off (though it’s often less time for younger people and more for older people as this process slows down).

Remember, skincare takes time, so you won’t see the full benefits straight away. Stick with your new routine for at least a month to give it chance to work its magic. It can also be helpful to take before and after pictures, or progress pictures along the way to see how your skin is changing.

In a recent survey, 98% of people with a skin condition reported they were affected emotionally†

3. Look after your mental health

Skin isn’t just about physical health, mental health is just as important. In a recent survey, 98% of people with a skin condition reported they were affected emotionally.† It’s not surprising given that our skin is our largest and most visible organ, so if you’re worried about how it looks or you’re experiencing discomfort, it’s undoubtedly going to affect your daily life.

The most important thing to remember is that having dry skin or a skin condition is not your fault. If it’s getting you down, don’t bottle it in, share your feelings with a trusted family member or friend. Make sure to take time out for yourself when you need. And, if it’s having a negative impact on your overall happiness and quality of life, make an appointment to discuss it further with your GP.

4. Emollients are key

In other words, moisturise, moisturise, moisturise. The basis of all treatment for anyone with dry, eczema-prone skin is an emollient. They add moisture to the skin and seal it in to help prevent dry skin.

Emollients range from heavy ointments to lightweight lotions. If you’re looking for a fast-absorbing one that doesn’t feel sticky on the skin, Aveeno Dermexa Daily Emollient Cream is the one for you. Aveeno Dermexa Cream forms a protective barrier while drawing moisture into the skin, returning the skin to a natural pH level.

5. Get the application right

If you’ve got very dry skin, then applying your moisturiser just once a day may not cut it. NICE guidelines recommend that people with very dry skin should apply their moisturiser up to four times a day and use 250-500ml a week.± The aim is for your skin to always feel moist and never dry. Aveeno recommends stroking your moisturiser onto your skin in the direction of hair growth for best results.

And there you have it, your tips for soothing dry skin with Aveeno, and getting back to happy, hydrated feeling skin.

*In vitro test

**HTC survey January 2021 144 participants

†All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin “Mental Health and Skin Disease” London 2020.

± NICE Emollients for Eczema.,hours%20should%20be%20considered%20normal.